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Qualitative Research Methods

Course Code: CRIM 3325
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

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.

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

course prerequisites

CRIM 2254

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.