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Title: Qualitative Methods in Public Health Research
Keywords: Research
Qualitative methods
Multi/inter-sectorial approach
Country: Mexico
Institution: Mexico - Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, National Insitute of Public Health
Course coordinator: Sandra Treviño Siller
Date start: 2020-02-15
Date end: 2020-07-14
About duration and dates: 20 weeks. There is a weekly three-hour face-to-face session plus a three-hour homework assignment. The tutorial hours are agreed between student and teacher.
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location:
National Institute of Public Health
Av. Universidad # 655, Col. Sta. Ma. Ahuacatitlán
Cuernavaca, Morelos, C.P. 62508. México
tropEd representative: Carlos Eduardo Linares
Web site:
ECTS credit points: 4 ECTS credits
60 face to face classes, plus 60 hours are self-directed learning, and there are also tutorial hours as requested by each student.
Language: Spanish
At the end of the module, the participants will be able to:
• Recognize contributions of qualitative methodology in public health studies in order to incorporate further methodological approach in health research, promotion and interventions
• Identify the philosophical and logical bases of qualitative methodology to use it in public health research and promotion
• Practice three of the main qualitative techniques for data collection: observation, interview and focus groups and learn how to design guides and gather information in fieldwork
• Analyze qualitative information in order to write final research reports and scientific papers
• Apply the ethical and scientific rigor of qualitative methodology in order to carry out valid studies from this approach
Assessment Procedures:
Exercises 50%
Exam 50%
Total 100%

Exercises are done in order to practice: observation, interview and focus group. For example:

- Data collection guides are designed for observation and interview techniques in class, and then students practice observation in real-life situations. They also practice interviews with elderly persons incorporating the skills reviewed in class.

- A live focus group is developed in class.

- After each exercise, students and teacher reflect on difficult issues and how to solve them, as well as what has been learned.

As part of the exercises’ grade, at the end of the course students write in teams a group final report based on the interviews they have done with elderly persons.

The Exam lasts 30 to 45 minutes. It consists of two sections: 1) multiple choice questions 2) open ended questions.

The results of the exercises (50%) and exam (50%) are given a grade (0-10) being 7 the minimum grade to approve. Students receive written feedback as well as group feedback / discussion in class.

If a student fails he/she has to answer another exam with all contents included (theory and examples of how to apply each technique). If she/he fails this second exam there is no other opportunity to approve the course.
Topic 1. Philosophical dimensions of Qualitative Research
1.1 Logic and essence of Qualitative Research
1.2 Origin and evolution

Topic 2. Different methods of Qualitative Research (main characteristics)
2.1 Ethnographic method
2.2 Phenomenological method
2.3 Grounded theory method

Topic 3. Process and stages of Qualitative Research
3.1 Designing QR
3.2 Data collection: contact with “reality” and the importance of context
3.3 Methodological rigor of qualitative research

Topic 4. Qualitative methodology techniques
4.1 Observation
4.2. Interview
4.3. Focus groups

Topic 5. Data processing
5.1. Manual processing (comparative matrixes)
5.2. Analysis with ATLAS.ti

Topic 6. Dissemination of results
6.1 Different modalities
6.2 Different audiences
6.3 Advices for dissemination
Various learning strategies will be utilized in this course, always combining theory and practice in order to achieve better comprehension of the methodology

Teacher presentations: As this is a theory-based course, the teacher will present and explain the theoretical elements, always using real examples from health studies, interventions or evaluations in which a qualitative approach has been used.

Practical exercises: In order to bring theoretical learning closer to reality, students will be organized into teams and will carry out various activities. Some activities will be simulated (in the classroom) and others will be in the field (reality). These exercises will be completed primarily during the section of the course dealing with techniques (observation, interview and focus groups), learning the process of instrumental design together, putting it into practice and reflecting upon the experience of application in the classroom. There will then be a section of the course dedicated to analysis of results, in which students will construct in the classroom data matrixes from interviews that they have carried out and will learn how to use the ATLAS.ti program to identify categories and carry out initial interpretation of data.

Discussion and reflection: Throughout the course students will be recurrently encouraged to participate with examples and their own experiences, as well as to reflect as a team on the various aspects related to the role of science, the completion of research in general and qualitative research in particular. In this way students must think, reflect, question, compare, share, create and work, as the active participation of students will be the central element of the didactic approach. Student participation will take place through reading of materials and through specific exercised to reach the objectives.
• Demonstrate proficiency level B2 (in a four kills exam) of Spanish by a certification
• Comprehension of English (level B1) in order to understand some chapters or papers
Minimum 8-10, maximum 20-25 students
Deliver the documentation language proficiency
680 USD
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in EC Conference, November 2019. This accreditation is valid until November 2024.
Main bibliography:

Arias, MM. La triangulación metodológica: sus principios, alcances y limitaciones. En F. Mercado, D. Gestaldo y C. Calderón (comp.). Paradigmas y diseños de la investigación cualitativa en salud. México: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2000; 481-499.Cardoso Gómez et al (2007). Investigación cualitativa y fenomenología en salud. VERTIENTES Revista Especializada en Ciencias de la Salud, 10 (1-2):25-32, 2007.

Cisneros, C. (2002). Análisis Cualitativo asistido por computadora. En F. Mercado, D. Gastaldo y C. Calderón (comp.). Investigación cualitativa en salud en Iberoamérica. México: Univ. de Guadalajara/Centro Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud; pp. 287-309.

Family Health Internacional©. Qualitative Methods in Public Health: A Field Guide for Applied Research, 2005

Hamui-Sutton, A y Varela-Ruiz M (2013). La técnica de grupos focales, en Inv Ed Med 2013;2(1):55-60

Pérez Gómez, Ángela Viviana. (2012). La etnografía como método integrativo. Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría, 41(2), 421-428. Retrieved August 28, 2018, from

Ratcliffe J y Gonzalez-del-Valle A. El rigor en la investigación de la salud: hacia un desarrollo conceptual. En Denman C y Haro JA. (comp.). Por los rincones. Antología de métodos cualitativos en la investigación social. México: El Colegio de Sonora, 2000; 57-111.

Strauss A. y Corbin J. Bases de la investigación cualitativa. Técnicas y procedimientos para desarrollar la teoría fundamentada. Medellín, Colombia: Editorial Universidad de Antioquia, 2002; 3-28 y 63-79.
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Date Of Record Creation: 2019-12-06 08:43:46 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2019-12-06 13:59:57 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2019-12-06 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2021-11-20 22:30:54 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany