Get Noticed by Expanding Your Research Skills

Working on your career plan may seem daunting in the midst of a pandemic, but there are steps you can take that fit well during a time where virtual interaction is the norm. With so many online offerings available, you can find new ways to increase your tool skills.

For graduate students, this is a good time to explore new research methodologies, such as those covered in a new course offered in the upcoming spring semester: Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health (SPH-X 580). If the bulk of your research experience has been in the area of quantitative science, this is an opportunity to develop new research skills to expand your capacity to work on multidisciplinary teams. Such versatility is attractive to employers looking for researchers with a diverse set of talents.

The Qualitative Research Methods course focuses on practical skills for conducting public health research in domestic and international settings utilizing qualitative methods. You will obtain the professional skills that employers are looking for to carry out interviews, focus groups, and observations. Qualitative research is often done in-person. However, this course additionally focuses on the ingredients required for contemporary qualitative research online and by phone. These skills are increasingly necessary in our current situation with COVID-19.

There are three  modules in the course. The first module will introduce you to why qualitative research is used in multiple disciplines and in diverse communities and health organizations. It will also discuss the framework and rationale underlying qualitative science. The second module focuses on step-by-step instructions on how to design and implement qualitative research relating to three data collection methods: (1) individual interviews, (2) focus group discussions, and (3) observations. For each method, you will learn design, sampling, data collection, coding, and analysis. All of these important skills will enhance your success as a researcher. In the third module, you will learn about recent advances in conducting qualitative research using social media, mobile phones, and videos to gain confidence and enthusiasm for doing qualitative research in multiple settings.

Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health (SPH-X 580) will run during the Spring 2021 semester in a 13-week format and is 100% online. The course is recommended for SPH master’s students, as well as doctoral students with limited training in qualitative research, who have interests in assessing patient and community perspectives relating to a range of health topics, including infectious and non-communicable diseases, sexual health, environmental health, wellness, and kinesiology. The course is ideal for students who are engaged in advocacy and social change. Epidemiology & biostatistics students interested in qualitative methods with complex surveys and analyses will also benefit from this opportunity. Knowledge gained in this course may be applied to research projects, internships, and dissertations.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact the course instructor, Dr. Larissa Jennings Mayo-Wilson.


By Susan Simmons
Susan Simmons Director of Career Services