Course code Soci2047

Credit points 4

Qualitative Research Methods

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures24

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes40

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation29.10.2021

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Dina Bite

Dr. sc. soc.

Prior knowledge

Soci1005, Basics of Research

Course abstract

The aim of the study course is to prepare students for independent doing of qualitative research including planning of the research, preparing of the methodology, applying of the appropriate methods, data analysis and presenting.

During the study course students get knowledge of empirical sociological investigation. Specifics of the qualitative research approach, main types/designs of qualitative approach, more often used methods for gathering information as well as processing and analysing methods of qualitative data have been learned during the study course.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge. Knows the designs of qualitative research approaches and the most frequently used data acquisition methods (test, self-control test); understands philosophical / sociological frameworks in qualitative research (individual task II, self-control test, exam).
Skills. Ability to organize and conduct interviews and focus group discussion (individual task II, discussion); ability to collect, process, analyse qualitative information (individual task I); ability to organize research in accordance with credibility and ethical guidelines in a qualitative approach (individual task, discussion, exam); ability to responsibly plan time for the implementation of the assigned work (individual tasks); ability to independently obtain the necessary information using various sources of information. Ability to critically evaluate and analyse the obtained information (independent tasks).
Competence. Ability to select the appropriate research design and methods for the study of a specific social phenomenon/ process (exam); ability to apply qualitative research data acquisition, processing and analysis methods, ability to critically evaluate the work done (discussion, individual tasks).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. The qualitative approach in social researches – 3 hours
2. Philosophical and sociological frameworks for qualitative research – 2 hours
3. Designs/ types of the qualitative research – 3 hours
4. Literature in the qualitative research – 1 hour
5. Sampling in the qualitative research – 2 hours
6. Observation and document analysis – 2 hours
7. Interviews – 4 hours
8. Focus group interviews/ discussions – 2 hours
9. Alternative ways of data collecting – 2 hours
10. Qualitative research information processing and analysis – 6 hours
11. Ethical aspects in the qualitative research – 1 hour
12. Validity in the qualitative research – 2 hours.

List of seminar topics (32 hours)
1. Analysis of the methodologies of qualitative approach – 2 hours
2. Formulation of the research questions – 2 hours
3. Test. Designs of the qualitative research approach, main methods of data collecting – 1 hour
4. Sampling for the document analysis and semi-structured interviews – 2 hours
5. Examples of the description, explaining, interpreting of the results – 2 hours
6. Presentations of the independent task. Document analysis – 6 hours
7. Focus group discussion – 8 hours
8. Collecting and analysis of visual data – 3 hours
9. Discussion. Data validity providing and ethical aspects – 2 hours
10. Presentations of the independent task. Making of semi-structured interviews – 4 hours

Requirements for awarding credit points

Exam. The final assessment is made of the assessment on two independent tasks (40%), the test (10%), focus group discussion (10%) and the written exam (40%).

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Literature studies, preparation and presentation of two independent tasks, preparation for the focus group discussion.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Students must prepare and successfully present two individual tasks (40%), they must pass the test (10%), actively take part in the focus group discussion (10%) and pass the written exam (40%). Students must take part in all practical works. 10% correspond to one point in the 10-point grading scale.

Compulsory reading

1. Zinātniskās darbības metodoloģija: starpdisciplināra perspektīva. Mārtinsone K., Pipere A. (red.). Rīga: RSU, 2021. 607. lpp.
2. Robson C., McCartan K. Real World Research: a Resource for Users of Social Research Methods in Applied Settings. 4th edition. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley, 2016. 533 p.
3. Zinātniskā rakstīšana un pētījuma rezultātu izplatīšana. K. Mārtinsone, A. Pipere (red.). Rīga: RSU, 2018. 301 lpp.
4. Neuman W.L. Social research methods. Qualitative and Quantitative approaches: Eight edition. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited, 2018. 640 p.
5. Creswell J. W. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. 3d edition. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2013. 448 p.
6. Adams J., Raeside, R. Khan, H. T. A. Research Methods for Business and Social Science Students. Second edition. eBook. New Delhi: Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2014. 304 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datu bāzē:
7. e000xww&AN=784882&site=ehost-live&scope=site
8. Bell J., Waters S. Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers: eBook. London: Open University Press, 2018. 344 p. Retrieved from EBSCO eBook Academic Collection via LLU Fundamental library network and university network.
9. Bickman L, Debra J.R. The SAGE Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc. 2009, 662 p. Pieejams elektroniski LLU EBSCOhost datu bāzē:

Further reading

1. Baxter P., Jack S. Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers. In: The Qualitative Report, No. 13(4), 2008, p. 544-559. Pieejams:
2. Flick U. An Introduction to Qualitative Research. Six edition. London... (etc.): Sage Publications, 2018. 696 p.
3. Ievads pētniecībā: stratēģijas, dizaini, metodes. Mārtinsone K. (red.). Rīga: Raka, 2011. 284 lpp.
4. Kroplijs A., Raščevska M.Kvalitatīvās pētniecības metodes sociālajās zinātnēs: 2. papild. izdevums. Rīga: Raka, 2010. 190 lpp.

Periodicals and other sources

1. Qualitative Research. Online ISSN: 1741-3109. Pieejams:
2. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Online ISSN: 1609-4069. Pieejams:
3. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Online ISSN: 1464-5300. Pieejams:
4. European Societies. European Sociological Association. Pieejams:


Mandatory study course in the ESAF academic bachelor study programme “Sociology of Organizations and Public Administration”