Qualitative psychological research

Objectives and subject-specific competences

The student acquires basic knowledge about qualitative psychological studies: how to design such a study, collect and analyse qualitative data, and write research report.

Description of content

  1. Introduction to qualitative research in psychology:
    • features of qualitative research
    • critics of positivistic approach, relation to quantitative research
    • reliability and validity, problems and ethical issues in qualitative research
  2. Steps in qualitative research:
    a) Problem definition, theory in qualitive research, choosing proper methodology, choosing units of research
    b) Methods for gathering qualitative data: questionaires and interviews, survey studies, focus groups, observation (direct, with participation), diary studies; historical data; projective techniques; taking notes and transcription
    c) Data analysis: early steps in analysis, vignettes, writing resume; content analysis; discurse analysis; presenting qualitative data; obtaining feedback
    d) Drawing conclusions, documentation and presentation of the findings

Basic bibliography

Mesec, B. (1998). Uvod v kvalitativno raziskovanje v socialnem delu. Ljubljana: Visoka šola za socialno delo.
Silverman, D. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook. London: Sage.

Envisaged learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Understanding of concepts, processes and procedures in qualitative research.


Application of proper research strategy and design for individual research problem, skills in categorizing qualitative data, use of computers in gathering and analysing qualitative data.


Reflection on limitations and advantages of qualitative research, critical evaluation of qualitative studies.

Transferable skills

Use of domestic and foreign literature and other resources, collection and interpretation of data, use of ICT and other teaching aids, use of various techniques for data gathering, reporting (oral and written), identifying and solving problems, critical analysis, synthesis, writing articles, reflections on bibliography read, teamwork.

Methods of teaching and learning

Seminars, project work

Methods of assessment and the assessment scale

(a) Project
(b) 6–10 (positive) or 1–5 (negative); taking into account the Statute of the University of Ljubljana and faculty rules.

Curriculum complier

Anja Podlesek, PhD, Associate Professor