Qualitative Health Research

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 27 June 2025
15 January 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MRESB99012 Health Research,
MRESB99024 Health Research,
MSC B90536 Professional Practice (Health Care),
MPHDB79748 Health Studies,
PHD B79748 Health Studies

Module description

A general introduction to process of qualitative research applied to the study of issues of health and illness. This course places a central focus on processes and practices of qualitative research. At the end of this course students will be aware of central issues in the conduct of qualitative research.

This module runs at Colchester campus.

Module aims

The overall purpose of the course is for students to develop an understanding of the qualitative research methodologies in a health and social care research context.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will have acquired the following skills and be able to apply them:

Comprehension of basic principles of qualitative research, including the processes involved in generating and application of qualitative research questions

Competence in understanding and applying a range of qualitative research methods

Ability to manage qualitative data and conducting and disseminating research in a way that is consistent with both professional practice and the normal principles of research ethics.

Understanding the significance of qualitative epistemological positions, and how they relate to quantitative research design and mixed method research design.

Module information

This module examines qualitative research methods in a broad health context, from qualitative epistemologies through to qualitative research design through to data analysis and final project write up. Emphasis in the course is placed on the need to let the research question dictate the chosen method. The implications of this approach to social research will provide a vehicle for discussion of the principles of research design for the duration of the course, making the
explicit link throughout the course between research questions and research methods. The course will outline a systematic range of processes involved in the application of a qualitative epistemology to health related research. It will pay particular attention to the benefits of qualitative research (in terms of moving beyond levels of description towards levels of explanation, or gaining a deeper experiential understanding of health processes) whilst also pointing to some of the central limitations of qualitative research.

Minimum enrolment 4
Please note that if insufficient numbers of students (i.e. <10) opt to take this module we may have to cancel it at short notice. If this is the case we will of course notify anyone who has applied to take this course in a particular term as soon as possible and offer an opportunity to discuss alternative options.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, seminars and data analysis workshops. Students will be required to collect primary qualitative data collection and primary or secondary qualitative data analysis


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   3,000 word research report     80% 
Practical   Presentation    20% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Ewen Speed, email: esspeed@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Ewen Speed
Ewen Speed Tel: 01206 872 847 E: esspeed@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Elaine Lehane
University College Cork
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 18 (90%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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