Issues regarding language and communication may be studied with a quantitative perspective (focus on numerical aspects) or a qualitative perspective. In qualitative research the focus is on description and understanding of phenomena in their ordinary, daily setting.
Such an approach offers the possibility to develop in-depth knowledge about complex phenomena that little is known about.
Think of issues such as: the importance of communication in organizations with regard to safety in the workplace; when and how municipalities communicate understandably, or incomprehensibly, for instance with low-literate citizens; or regarding issues in health care communication, for instance how doctors may or may not communicate and connect with parents and children to explain about their medical care.
Step by step during the course you will learn how those involved in research all have their own vision of reality and that it is the task of the qualitative researcher to understand these different realities.
In this course you will learn how, as a qualitative researcher, you look at the reality you are investigating (ontology), how to gain knowledge about that reality (epistemology) and what that means for how you do research (methodological skills). This course is therefore about both ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’. On the one hand, you will gain a better understanding of what qualitative research entails by reading and discussing literature, on the other hand you will get to work practically-oriented by conducting parts of a qualitative study. In this way you will get acquainted with research methods such as interviewing, observation and document analysis.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
- Describe characteristics of qualitative research;
- Reason and determine for which research goals and questions a qualitative research design is indicated;
- Identify ethical aspects of qualitative research with regard to communication in certain contexts;
- Develop a qualitative research design that is suitable for qualitative research with regard to language and communication (e.g., in/of organizations);
- Design and conduct a qualitative research (interview) project;
- Understand and apply the basic principles of (thematic) analysis of qualitative data
This course addresses the basics of qualitative research into language and communication. During the course, attention is paid to characteristics of qualitative research, the considerations when choosing a suitable qualitative research design, various qualitative methods of data collection, setting up and conducting a qualitative study (e.g., interview); (thematic) analysis of qualitative data, ethical aspects of qualitative research into communication (in/of organisations) and the role and attitude of the researcher in qualitative research. During this course, students practice designing and conducting a research (interview) project, including analysing the collected data.
The course will be graded on the basis of a portfolio consisting of assignments (50%) and report of a project (50%). For each section, a minimum grade of 5.5 must be achieved.