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Unit of study_

PUBH5505: Qualitative Research in Health

This unit of study introduces you to qualitative research in health, providing you with core concepts and skills. It is designed for beginners and people who want an advanced level introduction. Over the course of the unit we will address: What is qualitative research? How is it different from quantitative research? What is its history? What research problems can it address? How do I design a qualitative study? What are the different (and best) ways to generate data? How do you analyse qualitative data? Is methodology different to method? What are ontology and epistemology? What is reflexivity (and aren't qualitative researchers biased)? What are the ethical issues? What is good quality qualitative research? How can I use qualitative evidence in policy or practice? You will get practical experience and skills through carrying out an observation, participating in a focus group, conducting an interview, analysing data, arguing for qualitative research in health, and appraising the quality of published literature. You will hear from working qualitative researchers about how they use qualitative methods in their work. This unit will give you the skills and confidence to begin conducting and using qualitative research.


Academic unit Public Health
Unit code PUBH5505
Unit name Qualitative Research in Health
Session, year
Semester 2 Early, 2020
Attendance mode Online
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

PUBH5500 or QUAL5005 or QUAL5006
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Julie Mooney-Somers,
Lecturer(s) Julie Mooney-Somers ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Weekly quiz
Multiple choice quiz
20% - 20 questions spread over 11 weeks.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Participation
One reflexive question presented each week
10% - Short answer (a sentence or two)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Interviewing
Interview, transcribe, reflect
35% Week 07 20 mins interview, 3 x short answers
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Assignment Evaluating quality
Written assessment
35% Week 13 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 What is qualitative research? Online class (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Designing qualitative studies Online class (2 hr) LO2
Week 03 Interviewing overview and questions; skills Online class (2 hr) LO3
Week 04 Observation Online class (2 hr) LO3
Week 05 Focus groups Online class (2 hr) LO3
Week 06 Qualitative research ethics Online class (2 hr) LO4
Week 07 Key concepts (epistemiology, methodology, reflexivity); methodologies Online class (2 hr) LO4
Week 08 Analysis overview Online class (2 hr) LO5
Week 09 Thematic analysis Online class (2 hr) LO5
Week 10 Evaluating quality Online class (2 hr) LO6
Week 11 The value of QR Online class (2 hr) LO1

Attendance and class requirements

In 2020, PUBH5505 will be offered entirely online (regardless of the mode of delivery a student has enrolled in). There will be 12 x weekly recorded lectures, individual learning activities, and an optional Zoom meeting. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand the value of qualitative research;argue for the value and usefulness of qualitative research
  • LO2. understand and apply the principles underlying qualitative study design
  • LO3. understand and apply qualitative data collection principles, and evaluate personal data collection skills
  • LO4. understand the principles shaping qualitative research practice, and justify research practice decisions in relation to these principles
  • LO5. understand qualitative data analysis principles, and analyse qualitative data at an introductory level
  • LO6. evaluate the quality and contribution to knowledge of published qualitative literature.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


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