Qualitative Research Methods


Course Objective

(a) Subject-specific learning outcomes
The student has
1. academic knowledge and understanding at a basic level of the
empirical research methodology and the ethics of empirical legal
academic and social sciences research; in particular, the student is
able to
2. explain the advantages and limitations of qualitative research and
different qualitative methods.

(b) Academic learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students are able to:
1. make a reasoned choice for a legal or social scientific approach and
reflect on the consequences of the chosen approach to multilevel
societal problems;
2. conduct a small scale supervised research project (formulate research
questions, collect relevant quantitative and/or qualitative data and
apply legal or social scientific methods and techniques in an
appropriate way given the context) and derive sound conclusions; in
• develop a research strategy for a given subject using qualitative
• develop a topic list for an interview;
• conduct an interview;
• code and analyse an interview transcript;
• conduct an observation;
• make and analyse observation field notes;
• conduct a content analysis;
• report the findings and draw conclusion from a qualitative research.

Course Content

The course “Qualitative research methods” addresses theory and practice
of qualitative research methods.
During the course, students will learn the advantages and limitations of
qualitative research and different qualitative methods. The following
themes and subjects will be covered:
1. Empirical cycle; methodological quality; research design.
2. Interview types, survey/question types, topic list; sampling,
respondent recruitment; personal relation with respondent, informed
consent, privacy; feedback; recording or not?
3. Interview techniques; vulnerable respondents; emotions/sensitive
4. Transcribing and software; data management.
5. Content and discourse analysis.
6. Observation; field notes.
7. Coding and analysis; reporting

Teaching Methods

Seminars (Attendance is mandatory)

Method of Assessment


General Information

Course Code R_QRM
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator prof. dr. J.M. Harte
Examiner prof. dr. J.M. Harte
Teaching Staff dr. J. Verbruggen
A. Eleveld

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself