Curriculum Guideline

Qualitative Research Methods

Effective Date:
Course Code
CRIM 3325
Qualitative Research Methods
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week / semester
Methods Of Instruction

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.

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 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
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%
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.