Quantitative and qualitative methods


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. Identify the steps involved in planning and conducting a research project.
2. Formulate research questions and testable hypotheses.
3. Plan a study that will test the proposed hypotheses, using an appropriate study design, sample size and mode of data collection.
4. Appreciate the principles involved in designing and selecting samples for community surveys.
5. Draw conclusions from the results of data analyses, using appropriate tabulations of the data and basic methods of statistical analysis.
6. Acknowledge the characteristics of the different research paradigms and to know the conceptual and methodological differences between quantitative and qualitative studies.
7. Understand the conceptual principles and contexts of application of the qualitative methodology.
8. Know the different types of qualitative studies.
9. Identify and apply the main techniques of data collection in qualitative studies.
10 Develop competencies for conducting qualitative research.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ana Abecasis


Weekly - 7

Total - 30

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Bardin, L. (2009). A análise de conteúdo, Edições 70, Lisboa.
• Cresswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Method Approaches. 3rd edition. London: Sage Publications.
• Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (2 011). The SAGE Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
• Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications.
• Holliday, A. (2002). Doing and Writting Qualitative Research. UK: Sage Publications.
• Yin, R.K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
• Bowling, A. (2002). Research methods in health - Investigating health and health services. 2nd Edition, Opening University Press. 2002.
• Douglas G. Altman. Practical Statistics for Medical Research, Chapman and Hall/CRC Texts in Statistical Science.

Teaching method

Students, working in small groups, will formulate research questions and prepare research hypotheses. Much of the course consists of practical small-group or individual work, but within a framework of lectures and discussion covering the key topics. The main exercise is basic data analysis and interpretation using the appropriate methodology and an appropriate data set. Results of the exercise form the basis of a group poster presentation assignment.

Evaluation method

Students are assessed by a group work poster presentation (40% of the overall grade awarded for this module) and a short-answer written exam over 90 minutes (60% of the overall grade awarded for this module).

Subject matter

I. Overview of the stages involved in health research.
II. Planning of quantitative studies.
III. Research questions and hypothesis formulation.
VI. Sampling –simple random sampling, cluster sampling, calculating sample sizes and design effects.
V. Ethical issues in research.
VI. Questionnaire design.
VII. Logistics of data collection.
VIII. Basic data analysis.
IX. Distinction between quantitative and qualitative health studies.
X. Qualitative methods: Definition, basic conceptual principles and contexts of application.
XI. Theoretical guidelines in qualitative research: different types of studies. Ethics and qualitative research.
XII. Design of a qualitative study: phases of a research protocol.
XIII. Techniques of data collection: Interviews; focal groups; observation; document analysis.
XIV. Planning and organization of the data collection. The role of the interviewer/ moderator.
XV. Data processing and analysis. Content analysis. Design a qualitative research.
XVI. Skills for the presentation of results.


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