Qualitative Methods in Social and Health Research


At the end of the module, students should: (i) get knowledge and skills in methods and techniques of scientific research, in addition to its research training in epidemiology and biostatistics, guaranteeing them autonomy in designing, planning, implementation and evaluation of empirical research projects in the field of health management, (ii) be able to identify and describe the logical and chronological key steps of  the research process, (ii) knowing how to use critically some of the most common techniques of data collection, including qualitative ones, specially the group techniques (Discussion, Delphi, Delbecq, Focus Group ...), the interview, participant observation, life history, content analysis, case study, the questionnaire, and attitude scales.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

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DENZIN, N. K.; LINCOLN, Y. S. – Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 1994.
GRAÇA, L. – Guião para o desenho de um projecto de investigação. Lisboa: Departamento de Ciências Socias em Saúde.  Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública.  Universidade Nova de Lisboa. 2012 . Working paper, . c.111  pp.  (Textos, T 834. v24).
GRAÇA, L. – Guião para o desenho e redação de um questionário. Lisboa: Departamento de Ciências Socias em Saúde. Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública.  Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2012a. Working paper , c. 65 pp. (Textos, T 1069.v15).
GRAÇA, L. – A técnica de Grupo Nominal ou de Delbecq-Van de Ven. Lisboa:  : Departamento de Ciências Socias em Saúde. Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública.  Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2012b. Working paper, 15 pp. (Textos, T 1467.v8).
GUERRA, I.  – Pesquisa qualitativa e análise de conteúdo: sentidos e formas de uso. Cascais: Principia, 2006, 95 pp.

Teaching method

 Teaching methods are based on: (i) theoretical, and theoretical-practical sessions,  with oral and powerpoint presentations, (ii) individual and working group learning, in classroom and e-learning sessions, and (iii) specific exercises focusing on construction or critical analysis of questionnaires, interview guides, observation grids, attitude scales and other tools,  as well as carrying content analysis or planning group techniques.
Individual final evaluation results primarily from: (i) delivery of a tool  for data collect  (eg., questionnaire, interview guide, focus group script, observation grid, psychometric scale), preceded by a short literature review focused on theoretical and methodological issues raised by the problem under study, or alternatively, the critical analysis of a book or paper in the public health domain, with a qualitative approach (65%); and (ii) consideration of attendance and active participation in classroom, including the response to small exercises in classroom or in e-learning sessions (35%).

Evaluation method

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Subject matter

(i) Literature search: the ''''state of the art'''' on key issues and methodological problems of qualitative research in health and related fields, its potential and limitations, (ii) a guide for the designing of research project: the planning of field work (including the choice of methods and techniques of data collection), (iii) critical presentation of the main methods and techniques of data collection and processing,  with emphasis on the qualitative, (iv) design, writing, validation and application of questionnaires, attitude scales, interview guides, observation grids and other tools for the collection and processing of qualitative data, (iv) processing and presentation of qualitative data


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