Professional Course

Qualitative Research in Psychology

edX, Online
15 weeks
100 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
15 weeks
100 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
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Course description

Qualitative Research in Psychology

In our daily lives, many of us ask questions of ourselves and about others. Some of these questions, born of simple curiosity, resemble elements of qualitative research. For instance, what will I wear today—and what motives, both overt and hidden to the world, will guide those choices? Or, why does my neighbor seem particularly downtrodden today when he’s normally happy? Or, for what reasons is my favorite charitable organization having difficulty recruiting new members this year, especially when the factors surrounding recruitment haven’t changed? These, and other questions, may arise from our observations and our experiences of the world in which we live. As you will learn in this course, these questions become qualitative research projects when the right methods and analytical processes are learned and applied.

Through qualitative research, we are able to explore—through methods like interviews and observations—various facets of individuals’ lived experiences. Qualitative research in psychology arises from historical and cross-disciplinary foundations, as well as from dynamic philosophical underpinnings. We will focus on the past and present of qualitative inquiry, with grounding in contemporary examples across a variety of psychology fields. Through tools, illustrations, and self-assessments, you will learn some of the basics of qualitative research while examining your own research predilections and experiences. We hope you will emerge with an understanding of, and appreciation for, how qualitative inquiry adds depth, character, and nuance to our understanding of humans’ individual and collective experiences.

Upcoming start dates

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  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


High school reading level Exposure to university-level courses or course materials

Training content

What is Qualitative Research?

  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative Studies in Psychology
  • Standards of Rigor in Qualitative Research

Interviewing Methods

  • Phenomenology
  • Narrative Inquiry
  • Constructivist Grounded Theory
  • Conducting Interviews

Observational Methods

  • Observation
  • Ethnography
  • Case Studies

Qualitative Data Analysis

  • Read-Throughs and Coding
  • Interpreting and Representing

Course delivery details

This course is offered through American Psychological Association, a partner institute of EdX.

5-25 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$100
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • Describe the philosophical and interpretive foundations of qualitative research.
  • Differentiate qualitative claims, methods, and analyses from quantitative claims, methods, and analyses.
  • Explore, identify, and evaluate core qualitative traditions (phenomenology, narrative inquiry, constructivist grounded theory, ethnographic inquiry, and case study).
  • Distinguish common methods (e.g., interviewing, focus groups) and analytical techniques (qualitative data analysis) used within and across core qualitative traditions.
  • Begin thinking about your own qualitative study of a topic in psychology.

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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