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Gain a sound introduction to qualitative health research.

Qualitative research seeks to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of phenomena or human behaviours. Work with highly experienced researchers from our award-winning Health Services Research Unit to consider qualitative research methods in a health context.

Broaden your base of health research skills as you explore new ways of understanding the reality of people’s experiences with healthcare.

What will I study?

Qualitative researchers use a variety of methods to develop a 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 qualitative approaches and methods used in health research. More than just studying these methods, you’ll gain hands-on experience, engaging in qualitative research yourself.

We’ll guide you through the full research process, from planning to conduct relevant research through to choosing the right methods to generate, handle and analyse your qualitative data.

Communicating your findings to relevant audiences is important too, and you’ll examine the best ways to get your message across to the public, the media and academics.

You’ll also focus on issues of rigour, quality and ethics, to ensure you leave the course equipped to carry out successful qualitative research studies in future.

By the end of this course, you will…

  • Have a broad understanding of the range of qualitative data collection methods used within an applied health research context.
  • Be able to articulate and justify the relevance of qualitative approaches within health research.
  • Be able to critically evaluate appropriate qualitative research methods.
  • Know how to identify and justify the processes and rationales involved in planning and conducting effective, rigorous and ethical qualitative research.

How will I study?

This 12-week Qualitative Health Research course is delivered entirely online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of several of our Health-related Masters degrees, this course is taught at Masters level by experienced health researchers and academics.

Your course is delivered through MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It’s designed specifically for online learners and features a range of resources, including:

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

Where will this take me?

Qualitative Health Research is one of a suite of Health short courses that we offer online. These can be used to build up credits towards higher qualifications.

Find out more about credits.

Further learning

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

You may also be interested in our online PgCert in Research Methods for Health.


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

Your course coordinator

Am I ready?

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

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level of teaching, you’d usually have at least a second-class degree or relevant experience that supports this level of training.