Qualitative Research Methods

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
CRIM 3325
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides the essential knowledge and skills necessary to carry out qualitative research in Criminology. The course will cover the foundations of a wide variety of specific qualitative techniques including interviews, ethnography, content analysis, historiography and case study methods. As well, key methodological considerations such as ethics, interpretation, assessment, and writing will be examined.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to Course
  2. Nature of Qualitative Research including grounded theory and phenomonical approaches
  3. Qualitative Research Process
  4. Qualitative Research Design
  5. Research Dynamics:  Reflexivity, Ethics, Access, and Relationships
  6. Interviewing and Focus Groups
  7. Ethnography, Narrative, and Observation
  8. Case Study
  9. Historiography and Unobtrusive Measures
  10. Content Analysis
  11. Mixed Methods
  12. Making Sense of Your Data:  Data Coding, Analysis and Presentation
  13. Writing Up Research Projects
  14. Evaluating Qualitative Research
Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lectures, audio visual aids, independent analysis, small group discussions and facilitations, “doing research” and critical analysis of existing research studies.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College Policy.  The instructor will provide written course outlines with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:  Research proposal, presentation facilitation, qualitative study evaluation, research project, seminar participation including assigned ‘in-class’ tasks, and final exam.


An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Research proposal    5%
Presentation  10%
Participation/discussion/tasks           15%
Qualitative study evaluation  15%
Research project  30%
Final exam  25%
Total 100%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course the successful student will be able to:    

  1. Discuss theoretical, practical and critical applications of qualitative research
  2. Explore a wide variety of qualitative research methods
  3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method and the appropriateness of each technique for criminological research
  4. Critically evaluate qualitative methods in certain major criminological studies
  5. Explore types of data collected, methods of data collection and techniques of data analysis
  6.  Develop a research idea and translate it into a research question
  7. Explain the process of qualitative data collection and analysis
  8. Prepare a qualitative research proposal and/or research project
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students: 


Textbooks will be updated periodically.  Typical examples are:

Hesse-Biber, S.N., and Leavy, P.  (2006). The Practice of Qualitative Research.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications. 

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C., and Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2015). Qualitative Research Practice:  A Guide For Social Science Students and Researchers. Second Edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications.

Additional weekly readings will be required and will be accessible online.




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CRIM 3325
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CRIM 3104 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 3XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CRIM 3219 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU SOCI 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 3XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ARTS 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV SOCI 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC POLS 3XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 374 (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023