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Unit of study_

PUBH5505: Qualitative Research in Health

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PUBH5505
Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
PUBH5500 or QUAL5005 or QUAL5006
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

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

Assessment summary

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

As per the University policy, unless you received an extension (in writing) by your Unit Coordinator before the assignment due date, you may lose 5% of the total possible mark for every day late. If you think you will not meet the deadline, it is ALWAYS worth asking the Unit Coordinator for an informal extension. If you need longer than a few days then please apply for a Special Consideration.

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.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 What is qualitative research? Tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Designing qualitative studies Tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 03 Interview overview and skills Tutorial (2 hr) LO3
Week 04 Observation Tutorial (2 hr) LO3
Week 05 Focus Groups Tutorial (2 hr) LO3
Week 06 Qualitative research ethics Tutorial (2 hr) LO4
Week 07 Key concepts (epistemology, methodology, reflexivity); methodologies Tutorial (2 hr) LO4
Week 08 Analysis overview Tutorial (2 hr) LO5
Week 09 Thematic analysis Tutorial (2 hr) LO5
Week 10 Evaluating quality Tutorial (2 hr) LO6
Week 11 The impact of qualitative research Tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 12 Qualitative research across contexts Tutorial (2 hr) LO1

Attendance and class requirements

Each enrolment modes has a different way to engage over the 12 weeks of semester:

ND-CC Campus mode: Weekly pre-recorded lecture content, required readings, a brief marked quiz, a brief marked participation, and attending an in-person tutorial to undertake learning activities, discuss questions arising from the weekly content and prepare for assessment. Tutorials are Fridays 930-11am.

ND-RE Remote mode: Weekly pre-recorded lecture content, required readings, a brief marked quiz, a brief marked participation, and attending a ZOOM tutorial to undertake learning activities, discuss questions arising from the weekly content and prepare for assessment. Tutorials are Fridays 12-130pm.   

OL-CC Online mode: Weekly pre-recorded lecture content, required readings, a brief marked quiz, a brief marked participation, and undertaking learning activities (self-directed) and discussion boards for questions arising from the weekly content and assessment. Students should listen to the ZOOM tutorial recordings, or are welcome to join the weekly Zoom tutorial live (Fridays 12-130pm). 

IMPORTANT – if COVID restrictions do not allow in person attendance, ND-CC Campus students will be invited to the Zoom tutorials that will run 12-130pm every Friday.

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

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Block mode has been replaced by weekly tutorials with recorded lectures. Online mode remains unchanged


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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