autumn 2023
HEL-8042 Qualitative methodology and methods in health research - 5 ECTS

Type of course

PhD course. It is available as a singular course.

PhD students and students at the Student Research Program at UiT The Arctic University of Norway register for class and exam in Studentweb by September 1st for autumn semester and February 1st for spring semester.

Other applicants apply for the right to study by June 1st for courses that are taught in the fall semester and December 1st for courses that are taught in the spring semester. Application is sent through SøknadsWeb. Please use the application code "9301 - Singular courses at the PhD level". If granted admission to the course students must register for class and exam in Studentweb by September 1st for autumn semester and February 1st for spring semester.

Admission requirements

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD programme or a Student Research Programme at UiT or another Norwegian/Nordic university. PhD students from other universities may also apply.

All participants must have a qualitative design or a mixed methods design in their PhD research projects.

We recommend that participants have competence and knowledge of theory of science, research ethics and research design at PhD level (e.g. through HEL-8040 or a similar course). Participants are also assumed to have basic skills in qualitative research.

The course will be held only with a minimum of 6 participants. The maximum number of participants is 12 students.

If there are more applicants than available seats in the course, students will be given priority from category 1 to 4:

  • PhD students, research fellows and students participating in a Student Research Programme at UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • Participants in the Associate Professor Programme
  • PhD students and students at a Student Research Programme at other universities
  • Applicants who have minimum a master's degree or equivalent, but have not been admitted to a PhD programme

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

HEL-8025 Qualitative Methods in Health Research 2 ects

Course content

Qualitative research methods are useful for the study of human experience and people’s way of understanding and reasoning. They also create understanding of social contexts, relations and practice/actions, i.e. the experience of patients, their relations to health professionals, the role of the health system and the practices of both patients and professionals. This course will provide in-depth knowledge on what qualitative methods are and how to use them, how methodologies guide research and what are the important steps in developing a qualitative study. The course is a specialised and advanced course relevant for PhD-students within medicine, health sciences and social sciences.

In the course, we will first go in-depth with the most commonly used methods in health research (observation, interviews, focus group discussions, narrative inquiry, document analysis, visual methods). We will discuss each method and their prerequisites, adequacy, challenges and possibilities with special emphasis on what are the premises and assumptions for each method. Specific issues for each method will be critically discussed.

Second, all methods will be compared and discussed in terms of their sustainability for a given project design, their adequacy as methodic tool and their differences. We will focus on how different methodologies apply these methods and produce knowledge through a distinct ‘logic of inquiry’.

Third, the course will emphasize and demonstrate how all choices of methodologies and methods require consistency between theory of science, research question and design. Further, we will address how any research project is embedded in research communities informed by contemporary values, policies and economics.

Recommended prerequisites

HEL-8040 Theory of science, research ethics and research design

Objectives of the course


By the end of this course, the candidate has knowledge that enables him/her to:

  • Discuss and evaluate prerequisites for the use of common qualitative methods and methodologies
  • Assess challenges pertaining to different methods and methodologies
  • Master the use of common qualitative research methods and reflect on their impact on knowledge production
  • Contribute to the development of methodological strategies for the production of solid qualitative knowledge


By the end of this course, the candidate has skills that enable him/her to

  • Select and carry out the application of different methods and methodologies in a consistent research design
  • Critically judge and integrate common challenges of qualitative methods in a research process
  • Challenge and judge the scientific consistency of a given research design.

General competence

By the end of this course, the candidate is expected to be able to

  • Manage the complex use of common qualitative methods and research methodologies, including how to create consistency between research problem, methodology and methods.
  • Determine the relevance of qualitative research designs and reflect on their methodological challenges
  • Participate critically in academic debates on qualitative research findings and conditions
  • Participate in research communities engaged in qualitative research methods.

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course will consist of 3x2 full day seminars during one academic year. Preparation in terms of reading the curriculum for the course is expected.

Each seminar day will be a combination of teacher-led and student-led activities. The educational approach is based on lectures and student involvement through interactive teaching, group work, and peer learning. Seminars will be led by two teachers co-teaching and consist of:

  • A long introductory lecture on a specific method and methodology, emphasizing a chosen challenge/topic. The lecture will contain short exercises, using student-activating tools to promote discussions on methodological choices
  • Following lectures, the teachers present prepared specific tasks to be worked with, supervised by teachers and in collaboration with the participants during:
  • Discussion of challenges of the methodology and method of the day
  • Group work that encourages the students to engage with their own research projects in light of the lecture
  • Exercises in groups on project designs and research questions
  • Student presentations of own projects with feedback from a discussant and plenum discussion
  • Student presentation of a qualitative research article relevant for the day’s topic, plenum discussion and feedback.


Examination: Duration: Grade scale:
Off campus exam 2 Weeks Passed / Not Passed

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Attendance to seminars Approved – not approved
Oral presentation of ones own PhD project Approved – not approved
Opponent for a co-students presentation Approved – not approved
Oral presentation of an academic article Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

  • Documented 80% attendance and active participation during the seminars
  • Give one oral presentation of ones own PhD project on a subject related to a seminar topic
  • Take the role of opponent once for a co-students presentation
  • Give one oral presentation of an academic article

Re-sit examination

Re-sit examination is offered for the course.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 5
  • Course code: HEL-8042
  • Ekstra informasjon
  • The course starts in autumn and continues in spring. Admission is only once a year, application deadline September 1st 2023. (June 1st for external applicants - for more information, please see our website:  

  • Course dates
  • This course consists of 3 x 2 full day seminars during one academic year. 

    Seminar dates for 2023/2024:




  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet