Qualitative Research Methods

Academic year
2017/2018 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Qualitative Research Methods
Course code
PHD012 (AF:264426 AR:153527)
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master di Secondo Livello (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
This course is intended for doctoral students who want to learn more about the opportunities and the challenges of qualitative research. Through the knowledge of the theory and practice of this approach students will know how theorizing can be developed and how methodological rigor of research has to be assured. The course will begin with a focus on the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research. With this grounding, the course will then explore the core issues in qualitative research design, providing an in-depth analysis of the different qualitative research approaches, the data collection techniques, the data analysis strategies, writing and publishing qualitative research.

Learning Objectives

- to develop students’ critical understanding of philosophical underpinnings and methodological debates in qualitative research in management studies;
- to understand and compare different approaches to qualitative research, developing the ability to consider their appropriateness;
- to allow students to experiment the use of qualitative approaches and related techniques for data collection and analysis;
- to nurture students’ ability in building theory from qualitative data;
- to enable students to explore issues in writing and publishing qualitative research.
Introduction. The rationale for qualitative research
Comparing different approaches to qualitative research
Introduction to qualitative data collection and interviewing technique
Experiencing interviewing techniques
Strategies for data analysis in qualitative research
Presenting and publishing qualitative empirical evidence
Bansal, P. and Corley, K. 2012. What’s different about qualitative research? Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 509‐513.
Bluhm, D. J., Harman, W., Lee, T. W. and Mitchell, T. R., 2011. Qualitative research in management: A decade of progress. Journal of Management Studies 48(8), 1866- 1891.
Boje, D. M. 2001. Narrative methods for organizational & communication research. London: Sage.
Boyatzis, R.E. 1998. Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks, London, & New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
Cassell C., Symon G., 2004. Essential guide to qualitative methods in organizational research. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Clandinin, D.]., & Connelly, F. M. 2000. Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Creswell, J. W. 2007. Qualitative inquiry and research design. Choosing among five approaches. London: Sage.
Czarniawska, B. 2004. Narratives in social science research. London: Sage.
Eisenhardt, K. & Graebner, M. E. 2007. Theory building from cases: opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1): 25-32.
Eisenhardt, K.M. 1989. Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review 14(4): 532‐550.
Flanagan, J.C. 1954. The critical incident technique. Psychological bulletin, 51(4), 327-358.
Flick, U., 2014. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Gephardt, R. 2004. Qualitative research and the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of Management Journal, 7(4), 454-462.
Gioia, D. A., Corley K. G. and Hamilton, A. L., 2013. Seeking Qualitative Rigor in Inductive Research: Notes on the Gioia Methodology. Organizational Research Methods, 16: 15.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. 1967. The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.
Graebner Melissa E. M. E., Martin J. A. and Roundy, P. T. 2012. Qualitative data: Cooking without a recipe, Strategic Organization, 10 (3), 276–284.
Krueger Richard A and Casey Mary Anne. 2014. Focus Groups A Practical Guide for Applied Research. Fifth Edition. Sage.
Lee, T. W. 1999. Using qualitative methods in organization research. London: Sage. Chapters 1-2-7.
Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Miles, M.B., Huberman, A.M., Saldaña, J. (2014) Qualitative data analysis. A methods sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Rhodes C., Brown A. D. 2005. Narrative, organizations and research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7 (3), 167–188.
Rubin, H. and Rubin I. 2012. Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Saldaña J. 2013. The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Silver C. and Lewins A. 2014. Using software in qualitative research. Second edition. Sage, London.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. 1998. Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Suddaby, R. 2006. From the editors: What grounded theory is not. Academy of Management Journal, 49, 633–42.
Sutton, R.I and Staw, B.M. 1995. What theory is not. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 371-384.
Van Maanen, J. 2011. Ethnography as work: some rules of engagement. Journal of Management Studies, 48, 218–34.
Watson, T. J. 2011. Ethnography, reality, and truth: the vital need for studies of ‘how things work’ in organizations and management. Journal of Management Studies, 48, 202–17.
Weick, K.E., 1995. What theory is not, theorizing is. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 385-390.
Yin R.Y. 2014. Case study research. Design and methods. Sage, London, 5 edition.
written and oral
Doctoral students will be evaluated on the basis of their constructive participation in class and the assignments during the course (reading the materials, pre-assignments, and final research project presentation).

In class participation. The sessions will be structured on discussing the assigned readings. Students must complete all of the assigned readings before class.

Assignments: Before class students will complete the assignment and they will come to class ready to discuss it.

Research project
Students will be invited to form small groups and to develop a research project based on field work in which they are asked to design and carried out a qualitative research study applying the methods and the techniques learned during the course.
Specifically the assignment entails:
- identifying a research topic and questions that might be addressed drawing on qualitative research method;
- creating a research protocol and conducting interviews and/or observations related to the topic;
- analysing the transcripts of the interviews and/or the field notes;
- developing a preliminary discussion of emerging insights derived from qualitative data.

Each project will be presented at the end of the course to the class. The grade will be assigned on the final presentation of a research project and on the active participation demonstrated during the different stages of the project development.
- Individual analysis of the background readings prior each lesson: doctoral students will identify and reflect upon the critical issues raised in the background readings and the strengths and weaknesses that characterize the scientific articles from a qualitative research approach.
- Lectures and class discussions based on the background readings and issues presented during the session: doctoral students are expected to demonstrate an active participation providing comments and rising questions on the issues discussed in class.
- Meeting with researchers on specific qualitative research methods: experts in specific methods will be involved during the course in order to share with doctoral students their expertise and experience in developing qualitative research. The lecture will be structured in a way that allows students to acquire awareness of advantages and pitfalls of each method and related techniques as well as technical skills on their use.
- Experiential learning methods (simulation, role playing on specific research techniques such as interviews and observations).
- Active learning through individual assignment and group research project. Doctoral students will undertake a practical research project in groups that will require the use of qualitative methods throughout the course. In each of the different stages of the project the students are asked to share with their peers and the instructors their work in order to spur each student to provide comments and constructive suggestions to their peer stimulating his/her critical thinking capacity.
  • Lecture notes, material for reference or for self-assessment available online or as e-book
Last update of the programme: 23/06/2017