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Qualitative Research Methods for Mental Health in War and Conflict

Understand the importance of mental health research in areas of war and conflict and strengthen your qualitative research skills.

505 enrolled on this course

Qualitative Research Methods for Mental Health in War and Conflict
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $23.33/monthLearn more

Learn about the effects of conflict on people’s mental health

There is a prevalence of ill mental health due to conflict and war-affected populations worldwide. Yet, we lack locally relevant and reliable mental health information as research capacity and resources are insufficient.

This four-week course will expose you to various research methodologies, skills and resources.

You will develop the qualitative research skills needed to explore these intersections and design your own research project.

What’s more, you will explore relevant case studies which focus on the particularly vulnerable. With this knowledge, you will learn about the ethical challenges you could face when conducting research with war-affected populations and learn how to adapt different research methods to these communities.

Receive qualitative research method training to strengthen your skills

You will receive training on qualitative research methods that include topics such as project development, sampling techniques, various data collection methods, dissemination, coding and analysis.

This will equip you to conduct qualitative research using different methods suited to your subject matter. Your knowledge will also assist you in collecting and disseminating your findings successfully.

Develop a research project using qualitative methods and strategies

Your learning will culminate in the designing of a research project. You will need to apply a range of qualitative methods and strategies focusing on mental health in contexts of war and conflict.

You will be guided by the mental health research experts at King’s College London and Birzeit University who will enable you to develop your project successfully and equip you with transferable research skills.


  • Week 1

    Research Methods for Mental Health in War and Conflict: An Overview

    • Welcome to week 1!

      In week 1, we introduce you to the key concepts related to war and violence, social suffering and mental health. You will also meet your course instructors and receive an induction to the learning experience.

    • Introduction, Housekeeping and Survey

      You will receive an introduction to the course, its learning objectives, the ways in which you can participate, and how you will be able to obtain a certificate.

    • Introduction to Mental Health in War and Conflict

      You will be introduced to the multiple and interdisciplinary ways in which war and conflict have been shown to impact people’s health and mental health.

    • Ethical Concerns Related to Researching Vulnerable Populations

      Ethics are fundamental to conducting research with human beings. Here you will learn about ethical principles and what to take into consideration when researching vulnerable populations in settings of war and conflict.

    • The Process of Qualitative Research

      You will explore core components of qualitative research, compare and contrast qualitative with quantitative research, and learn how qualitative research is used in the field of mental health in areas affected by war and conflict.

    • Test: Week 1

      Testing week 1 content.

  • Week 2

    Research Project Development

    • Welcome to week 2!

      In week 2, students will learn about the steps of a research project, as they gain practical guidance for designing their own work.

    • Qualitative Research Design

      You will learn how to develop a clear plan and solid design for your research study.

    • Research Topics

      Finding a research topic is the first step in qualitative research design. You will learn how to develop your research topic through various exercises and how to write a statement of purpose.

    • Research Questions

      Once you have found your research topic, it is crucial to formulate your research question. Here you will learn how to develop a key research question of importance for the field of mental health in war-affected settings.

    • Sampling

      Before researching, you need to be clear about the population you intend to research and how to create your study sample. You will learn about approaches to sampling and recruitment for vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.

    • Test: Week 2

      Testing week 2 content.

  • Week 3

    Qualitative Data Collection

    • Welcome to week 3!

      In week 3, students will learn about the many options for collecting data.

    • Observations

      Observation is an important approach in health research. Here you will learn about how to observe mental health related behaviours and situations, and are invited to practice and discuss what you have learned.

    • Semi-Structured Interviews

      Semi-structured interviews are one of the most important qualitative research methods. You will learn how to construct an interview guide and how to conduct semi-structured interviews.

    • Focus Group Discussions

      Focus Group Discussions are prominent in mental health research in settings of war and conflict. It is, therefore, important that you master how to conduct such focus groups and to reflect on the method’s strengths and weaknesses.

    • Test: Week 3

      Testing week 3 content.

  • Week 4

    Qualitative Data Analysis and Presentation of Research Findings

    • Welcome to week 4!

      This article shows students how to navigate the leading options for data analysis, to inform data collection findings.

    • Coding

      Coding is the first step of systematic qualitative data analysis. You will learn what coding is and how it is used in qualitative mental health research. You will also get the chance to practice coding using original interviews.

    • Analysis

      Data analysis can follow different approaches. You will be introduced so several in order to focus on thematic analysis. After practising your analytical skills, you will also learn how to reflect on your analysis and conclusions.

    • Communicating and Disseminating Research

      Once analysing your data, you need to disseminate them to academic and non-academic audiences. You will have the opportunity to learn and practice poster design, conference presentations, and what is called the “elevator pitch.”

    • Infographics

      Infographics are becoming increasingly popular to communicate information effectively to lay audiences in war and conflict affected settings. You will be introduced to what infographics are and how to create them.

    • Test: Week 4

      Testing your understanding of week 4 materials.

    • Survey and Evaluation

      Research methods for mental health in war and conflict survey and course evaluation.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 7 Feb 2022 - 4 Mar 2022

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand the intersection between research methods, mental health and war and conflict
  • Adapt research methods to populations suffering from mental health and psychosocial problems due to their exposure to war and conflict
  • Design a research project and apply a range of qualitative methods including sampling, data collection and analysis
  • Develop bespoke methodological strategies for researching topics focusing on mental and psychosocial health in contexts of war and conflict
  • Present and disseminate their research findings in different contexts including academia, policy, and advocacy

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support.

It will be particularly helpful for mental health and psychosocial researchers and practitioners working in different parts of the world which are affected by war and conflict.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Hanna Kienzler is an Associate Professor at King's College London. She conducts ethnographic and participatory research on mental health related issues in Kosovo, Palestine and Nepal.

I am a Research Associate and Teaching Fellow at King’s College London. I have a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology. Currently working on Research for Health in Conflict project, focusing on mental health.

Holds a PhD in sociology/demography and is an Assistant Professor of public health and the coordinator of the mental health unit at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University

holds MSc degree in Clinical Neuropsychiatry from King's College London. Hala works as a research assistant in the Institute of Community and Public Health (ICPH).

I am a PhD Candidate, Research Assistant and Graduate Teaching Assistant at King’s College London. My research explores the experiences of young girls offered cervical cancer vaccinations in Rwanda.

Who developed the course?

King's College London

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

Birzeit University

Birzeit University, the oldest Palestinian university in the town of Birzeit, is a leading educational institution and intellectual hub committed to community engagement and research through its multidisciplinary centers and institutes.

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