Theoretical Foundations of Qualitative Health Research

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Instructor(s)
Brenda Gladstone

Course Description

This course examines the paradigmatic bases of qualitative research. In a series of seminars, instructor and students will explore the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of specific theoretical frameworks and consider the methodological implications that emanate from these foundations. Specific debates related to theories employed in the field of health, research questions, designs, the positionality of the researcher, epistemological rigour, and ethics will be discussed. This course addresses current debates, which are relevant to students in all health science disciplines and includes examples of qualitative research developed in many countries.

Course Objectives

  • To understand paradigms for knowledge production and key theoretical foundations that inform qualitative studies in the health sciences
  • To describe the link between epistemology and methodology and to show how interpretivist and critical epistemologies are connected to decisions about how social phenomena in the health sciences are studied
  • To examine well-established and innovative methodologies for qualitative health research
  • To discuss elements for epistemological and methodological rigour (epistemological
    congruence) and ethics as process in qualitative health research
  • To explore qualitative approaches that address individual research interests

Methods of Assessment

Class Seminar 25%
Paper One 25%
Final Paper 50%