Qualitative Research Catalogue: An Overview of Three Methods

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
Advanced Master

Unfortunately, this course is cancelled this summer due to COVID-19 regulations. We expect to be able to offer this course again next year.

This course gives a bird’s eye view of the fundamentals of qualitative research methods – Case study research, Grounded theory, and Ethnography. The purpose of this course is therefore to answer the question: How can the researcher go from the initial research questions to the findings to the final report using Case study research / Grounded theory / Ethnography? As a final step, different rigor / trustworthiness, ethics, and overall quality concerns affecting each method will also be discussed.

Case study research is a method which is often positivistic. It involves exploring a phenomenon by investigating one or more cases within a bounded setting or context. Grounded theory, on the other hand, involves grounding findings in data and hence is more interpretivistic in nature. Grounded theory about a process, action, or interaction is generated by exploring the views of the participants. Ethnography, yet another interpretivistic method, is dedicated to exploring and understanding how people perceive the world from their particular position in a society, organization or setting. One of the main goals of Ethnography is to clarify why people act in a particular manner within a specific socio-cultural context.

In this course students will discuss the whole research process involved in these three methods, in a nutshell. Bearing in mind the flexibility of qualitative research and that various formulations and types of qualitative research have different stages, steps and decision points, we use an ideal-type four-stage depiction of the qualitative research process which consists of stages corresponding to data selection, data collection, data analysis, and the presentation of results. As a final step, different rigor / trustworthiness, ethics, and overall quality concerns affecting each method will also be discussed.

The course is formulated in a way that allows the students to learn by practicing. Therefore the students will be presented with various practical exercises which will give them a hands-on experience on how to do qualitative research.  

Participants are requested to bring their own laptop.

Please note that there are no graded activities included in this course. Therefore, we are not able to provide students with a transcript of grades. You will obtain a certificate upon completion of this course.

For an overview of all our summer school courses offered by the Department of Methodology and Statistics please click here.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair


Dr. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair
Dr. Martijn Oosterbaan 

Target audience

This course introduces students to three specific qualitative research methods. A preliminary understanding of general qualitative research is preferable (although not mandatory). Please note that the selection for this course will be done on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course aim

The course aims to provide students with the fundamentals of three qualitative research methods. By the end of the course the students will be familiar with the following aspects of Case study research, Grounded theory and Ethnography (in a nutshell):

  • Data selection
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Presentation of results
  • Rigor/ trustworthiness
  • Ethics
  • Quality

Study load

On an average day of the course, the students will be in class for 8 hours. These 8 hours will include lectures and practical exercises. After the class, the students have to spend on an average 2 hours per day for self-study.


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

Tuition fee for PhD students from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences from Utrecht University will be funded by the Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.


Utrecht Summer School does not offer scholarships for this course.

More information

Irma Reyersen | E: ms.summerschool@uu.nl


Application deadline: 19 June 2020

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