Designing Qualitative Research



Organised by:

Social Research Associaiton


Dr Karen Lumsden


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


Lindsay Adams
E: (preferred method of contact)
T: 0204 551 3864

Venue: Online


This live online course seeks to understand people’s lived experiences and to answer questions about meaning and perspective, including from the standpoint of the participants themselves. (Foundation level) It runs in one day and uses Zoom software.


Qualitative research seeks to understand people’s lived experiences and to answer questions about meaning and perspective, including from the standpoint of the participants themselves. It is particularly effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the values, views, behaviours, and contexts of particular groups.

This one-day course provides participants with an introduction to the key principles and benefits of qualitative research which must be considered in a research design. This includes the main methods and techniques employed in qualitative studies such as interviews, focus groups and observations. It outlines how to design an effective qualitative research question, how to design research instruments, how to sample and recruit participants, and related ethical considerations. It also considers how to assess a qualitative research project’s quality and rigour.

The course is delivered via a combination of presentations, discussions and practical activities. It is designed to equip participants to confidently implement their own qualitative design in research projects in a range of contexts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the principles of qualitative research design
  • Understand how qualitative research differs from quantitative research
  • Understand the type of questions which qualitative research addresses
  • Have knowledge of methods and techniques of qualitative research
  • Understand how to sample and recruit in qualitative projects
  • Have awareness of how we assess and evaluate qualitative research for quality and rigour
  • Have awareness of the importance of reflexivity and ethics in qualitative design
  • Understand the pros and cons of qualitative research


  • Principles and theories of qualitative research design
  • The types of questions which qualitative research addresses
  • Qualitative research methods and techniques (i.e. interviews, focus groups, observation, and mixed methods)
  • Qualitative sampling and recruitment
  • Qualitative research instruments
  • Ethical considerations in qualitative research
  • Assessing the ‘quality’ of qualitative research
  • Reflexivity in qualitative research

Who will benefit?

This introductory course will be of value to researchers who are new to qualitative research and qualitative methods, and who wish to delve into the principles of designing a qualitative study. It provides a basic overview of qualitative research design and what this entails.

Course Tutor

Dr Karen Lumsden is Assistant Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen. She has over 15 years’ experience teaching qualitative research methods at postgraduate level and to academics and practitioners. This includes courses at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Essex, Auckland, Kingston University, and for the SRA. Karen has also designed and delivered social research methods training for police officers and staff via the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC) and for research consultancies. She has authored a number of academic books and journal articles on qualitative research methods. She is on the Editorial Board of the journal Qualitative Research.


£165 for SRA members, £220 for non-members

Website and registration:




Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis

Related publications and presentations:

Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis

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