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2020/2021  BA-BSOCO1833U  Qualitative Methods

English Title
Qualitative Methods

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Maximilian Schellmann - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 25-06-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to use different qualitative methods and analytical strategies within organizational sociology and business administration. Specifically, the student should be able to:
  • locate specific qualitative methodologies in relation to the theoretical tradition
  • formulate and operationalise a research problem that is suitable for treatment by means of basic qualitative methods, and account for the relationship between theory and methods in the process,
  • use basic qualitative methods such as ethnographic analysis, text analysis and interviews to research problems within organizational sociology and business administration, and
  • critically assess strengths and weaknesses of the applied methods in relation to concrete research problems.
  • use different qualitative methods and analytical strategies within organizational sociology and business administration
  • reflect upon approaches, methods and research design used the empirical work for the assigments
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see s. 13 of the Programme Regulations): 2
Compulsory home assignments
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 2 out of 3 assignments need to be approved to be able to attend the course's exam. The assignments are also the basis and the point of reference for the synopsis (final exam) and have to be attached as an appendix to the exam. All assignments must be handed in via Digital Exam (DE).
Qualitative Methods:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 3-5
Size of written product Max. 2 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
10 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam Home assignment - written product
Size of written product: Max. 10 pages
Assignment type: Written assignment
Duration: Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The course explores the development and application of qualitative research designs and methods in organizational and social analysis. The aim is to facilitate, in an exploratory way, a first contact with qualitative methodology and the presentation of a rigorous and feasible research process within this paradigm. 


The course has three distinctive modules: 1. Interviewing; 2. Observing; 3. Analysing qualitative data.


The course situates each methodology in context, it goes through classical examples of its usage and it discusses the application of the technique in practice. In the exercise classes of each method module, students will have the possibility to discuss their own use of each method, and develop a sense of the possibilities and limits of the methods.


The course is practice intensive and operates under the philosophy of ‘learning by doing’. That is, student groups will be required to design and conduct a brief qualitative research project. This will allow them to deal with the knowledge acquired and develop skills to present, explain and defend their research approach and results.


The research project will be discussed in class (last session of each module) and presented in the final oral exam under a conference-like setting. Brief individual commentaries are to be handed-in at the end of each module, with reflections on how the method of the particular module has been used in the student group research project.


In the autumn 2020 parts of the teaching will take place online.

Description of the teaching methods
The course uses a combination of lectures, exercise classes and workshops. It is structured in three blocks — interviewing, observation of practices and analysis of qualitative material —all following the same logic. The first lecture in each block introduces and contextualizes the particular method (interviewing, observation and analysis). The second lecture looks at the theoretical roots of the respective concept/method focussing on an authoritative example of its application. Finally, the third session will introduce one of the practical “tool kits” used to conduct research using the methodology. Each block also has two exercise classes: one formulating the core aspects of the method and the second discussing an assignment in the method. The course concludes with a full day workshop during which assignments carried out by groups of students are discussed in a conference-like setting.
Feedback during the teaching period
Individual feedback upon request related to the three compulsory assignments and general feedback to the class on the progress of the learning on the basis of the assignments reflecting the three distinctive modules.
Oral feed-back both by the lecturer and peer to peer feedback on class presentations of group research projects.
Student workload
Lectures 22 hours
Exercises 24 hours
Preparation 160 hours
Expected literature

Texts include texts by Bourdieu, Hochschild, Elias, Geertz, Van Maanen and introductory writings on Qualitative Methods from Silverman, Charmaz and others. These can be accessed through links directly on the syllabus on CBS CANVAS. 

Students need to buy the book: 

  • Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S. 2014. Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing . London: Sage.


Last updated on 25-06-2020