Qualitative Research in Public Health

Subject POPH90231 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours: One 1-hour lecture and 1-hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.


Assoc Prof Louise A. Keogh, Assoc Prof Richard Chenhall




Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824
Email: sph-gradinfo@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This is a compulsory subject in the Master of Public Health. Qualitative research plays an important role in public health as it can explain how people experience a particular health issue or why they perform a health-related behavior, taking into account specific social, political and economic contexts. Public health practitioners need to be able to use and interpret a range of published research (including qualitative research) in order to gather evidence for practice, identify gaps in evidence and evaluate current practice.

This subject will introduce students to qualitative research in public health - both the principles underlying design and the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative methodologies. It will cover a range of methods, such as individual interviews, group interviews, visual and participatory methods. Each element of research design will be covered, from recognising research paradigms and sampling strategies through to the different types of analysis. Students will learn how to evaluate qualitative research as sources of evidence in public health

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Describe the contribution of qualitative research to public health
  • Describe various research paradigms and reflect on how they impact on the design and conduct of research
  • Understand the ethical principles underpinning public health research, and the particular ethical principles applying to research with indigenous communities.
  • Select the appropriate qualitative method for answering diverse public health questions
  • Critically appraise the findings, strengths and weaknesses of published qualitative research in public health


A short-answer written assignment of 1500 words due week 7 (35%), a written assignment of 3000 words due during the examination period (60%), and a critical reflection on achievement of course objectives through classroom and assessment activities (500 words, 5%) due during the examination period

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon completion of this subject students will have developed skills in:

  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Finding, evaluating and using relevant information
  • Written communication
  • Persuasion and argumentation
Related Course(s): Master of Public Health
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Doctor of Medicine
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Gender and Women's Health
Global Health
Health Economics and Economic Evaluation
Health Program Evaluation
Health Social Sciences
Indigenous Health
Primary Care
Public Health
Public Health
Sexual Health
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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