Online course in Healthcare & Medicine

Why Experience Matters: Qualitative Research

Explore the methods and tools qualitative researchers use to understand human behaviour and solve social problems.

Why Experience Matters: Qualitative Research

  • Duration 2 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $44 Find out more
This course is part of the program Why Research Matters, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action. Find out more.

What attitudes and beliefs drive human behaviour?

Qualitative research explores people’s stories and lived experiences to help us understand their perceptions, motivations and behaviour.

It uses personalised research methods such as interviews, focus groups and observation to help us view the world from another’s perspective.

Find out about qualitative research tools and techniques, with this course from Deakin and Griffith Universities.

Whether you want to interpret consumer behaviour or investigate the impact of management practices, qualitative research can deepen our understanding of human nature and help solve social problems.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWhat attitudes and beliefs drive human behaviour? How do our impressions of the world shape our decisions? What are the connections between people's experiences, their perceptions, and habits? If these types of questions are at the heart of your research problem, you're going to need to connect with people and listen to their stories. A qualitative research approach will be the way to go. Hello. I'm Nick Barter from Griffith University. And I am Chris Stevenson from Deakin University. Qualitative research seeks to understand why, by exploring human experience. Whether you're trying to fathom consumer buying decisions, delve into a cultural group's perception of pain, or unravel motivations for workplace change, qualitative research holds the key to understanding behaviour.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 secondsIn this course, we'll learn how qualitative researchers explore the world, and investigate a range of approaches and techniques you can get started with right away. People's lived experience matters. Join us in this two-week course, and we'll help you develop the tools you need to work towards producing your own qualitative research plan. See you soon.

What topics will you cover?

  • How qualitative research helps solve social problems and understand human behaviour.
  • Key assumptions underlying qualitative research methodology.
  • Qualitative research approaches, including ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory and discourse analysis.
  • Choosing a qualitative research topic.
  • Methods of collecting qualitative data, including interviews, focus groups and observation.
  • Key principles for maintaining integrity with data collection.
  • Qualitative research data analysis methods.
  • Creating a qualitative research planning document.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 18 Nov 2019

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explain the value of qualitative research and discuss the research contexts it is best suited for.
  • Identify key qualitative research approaches and data collection techniques.
  • Produce a short qualitative research planning document, relevant to a research question.

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in research. It may be of particular interest to people who are undertaking a research project related to their profession or area of study.

Who will you learn with?

Nick Barter

Nick Barter

Nick is an academic with a focus on developing frameworks to allow corporate strategists to realise sustainable strategies and expanding online education to as many learners as possible

Christopher Stevenson

Christopher Stevenson

Chris is an epidemiologist and biostatistician with a particular interest in evidence based health policy. He is a passionate teacher with a commitment to blending teaching with cutting edge research

Who developed the course?

Griffith University

Griffith University was created to be a different kind of university—challenging conventions, responding to trends and pioneering solutions through innovative teaching and research.

Deakin University

Deakin University is one of Australia’s largest universities with more than 61,000 students and over 15,000 online.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks


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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$249 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Advance your career with a degree

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from Deakin University

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program Why Research Matters, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action.

This program is aimed at anyone interested in research, but may be of particular interest to people who are undertaking a research project related to their profession or area of study.