BUU22593 Qualitative Research Methods

(5 ECTS)


Dr. David Horan 

Phone: +353 (0)1 896 8052 (ext. 8052)
Email: horand3@tcd.ie 
Office Hours: Meetings can be scheduled at any time via an email request; there will also be a weekly Zoom office hour.  

Module Description:

End of term exam (100%) 

The exam will comprise two elements: an MCQ test (40% of the overall grade) that will examine the complete content covered throughout this module, and an essay component (60% of the overall grade), that will examine specific topics covered in this module in more detail. Further information on the assessment will follow. 


Re-assessment involves retaking a 100% exam.  

Note on assessment of students allowed to sit a supplemental exam 

Students who do not obtain an overall pass mark for this module (40%), will have the opportunity to be reassessed by a re-take exam (weighted at 100% ) 

This module introduces students to the area of qualitative research. As opposed to quantitative research, with a focus on numbers, with qualitative research the focus is on text, and geared towards understanding social and cultural phenomena. Instead of mathematical modelling and statistical analysis, qualitative research employs research methods such as action research, case study research, ethnography and grounded theory. The module will explore research design and selected research methods, underlying assumptions and ethical principles related to research as well as data collection and data analysis techniques.

Learning & Teaching Approach:

The approach in this module is primarily face-to-face. It is expected that students should complete the relevant pre-reading and engage actively in class discussions and group activities. Group presentations will also take place at scheduled times.

Learning Outcomes:

Having completed this module, you should be able to: 

  1. Explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research; 
  2. Develop a qualitative research proposal; 
  3. Explain the underlying assumptions and ethical principles related to research; 
  4. Apply – at a basic level – four distinct qualitative research methods; and 
  5. Explain – at a basic level – approaches to data collection and data analysis

This module forms part of a suite of modules of Trinity Business School across the four years of our business-related degree programmes. This suite is focused on developing qualitative skills that will enable the development of technically capable and conceptually proficient graduates who can thrive in a dynamic and fast-changing environment. The module will serve to develop students’ understanding and skills in relation to qualitative research and will serve as a foundation for possible qualitative research projects at a postgraduate level.

Textbook and Readings:

Required core course textbook: 

Myers, M.D. (2019). Qualitative Research in Business & Management. Sage.

General Supplemental Readings: 

Gatignon, H. (2018). Ethical behaviours versus behaviours that contravene deontological research principles in the publishing process. Recherche et Applications En Marketing (English Edition). Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/rbtfl/FTB2K09LDNIIUIVH4JPM4/pdf/10.1177/2051570718815973 

Palmer, D., Dick, B., & Freiburger, N. (2009). Rigor and Relevance in Organization Studies. Journal of Management Inquiry, 18(4), 265-272. Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/rbtfl/0QYNQJXU7INORYI7F9XHY9/pdf/10.1177/1056492609343491