Gain an introduction to qualitative health research.

  • Broaden your base of health research skills.
  • Explore new ways of understanding the reality of people’s experiences with healthcare.
  • Learn why, when and how to use qualitative methods in your research.

You’ll work with highly experienced researchers from our award-winning Health Services Research Unit to examine qualitative research methods for health.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards any of these postgraduate qualifications.

What you’ll study

Qualitative research seeks to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of phenomena or human behaviours.

Qualitative researchers use a variety of methods to develop deeper understanding of how people perceive their social realities and, in consequence, how they act within the social world.

This course will introduce you to these qualitative approaches. More than just studying these methods, you’ll gain hands-on experience, engaging in qualitative research yourself.

You’ll study the full research process:

  • Planning to conduct relevant research.
  • Choosing the right methods to generate, handle and analyse qualitative data.
  • Communicating your findings to the public, the media and academics.
  • Focusing on issues of rigour, quality and ethics.

You’ll leave the course equipped to carry out your own successful qualitative research studies in future.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Describe a range of qualitative data collection methods used within applied health research.
  • Articulate and justify the relevance of qualitative approaches within health research.
  • Critically evaluate appropriate qualitative research methods.
  • Plan and conduct effective, rigorous and ethical qualitative research.

Why study health research online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning Qualitative Health Research course is delivered flexibly, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos
  • short lectures
  • journal articles
  • book chapters
  • discussion boards with your colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from specialist health researchers and academics from our Health Services Research Unit (HSRU). HSRU has been conducting research and training NHS staff on behalf of the government’s Chief Scientist Office since 1988.

Introduction to Online Learning

We want to make sure you’re confident and comfortable with the online way of working from day one.

So you’ll also get an introduction to our learning platform and how online study works. In this part of the course, you’ll strengthen the academic skills you need to excel in online learning. You’ll find out about School procedures, all the support available to you and how to access help throughout your studies.

Your teaching team

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Build your learning

We have a range of online healthcare and medicine short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


If you’re considering a career in academic research, this course will help you get there.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to them to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

This online course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a relevant 2:2 (second-class) degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

You don’t have to have any previous knowledge of qualitative research, but you should have an interest in public health issues.

Apply for this course

Start date
18 September 2023
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