This course focuses on the skills necessary to carry out qualitative data collection for project planning, monitoring, and evaluation activities. Coursework explores the strengths, weaknesses, and uses of qualitative data and investigates the circumstances under which project planners, managers, and evaluators use qualitative methods. Students will learn how to use qualitative data collection techniques typical of the work of project planners, managers, and evaluators, including observation, participant observation, participatory tools, interviews, and focus groups. In a hands-on assignment, students will apply several data collection techniques while collaborating with an organization in their local community.

Sample topics of discussion and reading include:

  • An introduction to qualitative research
  • Qualitative research questions and coding
  • Observation and participant observation
  • Concepts, indicators, and participatory tools
  • Qualitative interviewing questions and unstructured interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Data analysis and visualization

Examples of assignments and projects during the course include:

  • Research project on a community organization involving observation, interviews, and a focus group
  • Qualitative research
  • Peer-to-peer data analysis
  • Project organization

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain when and how project planners, managers, and evaluators use qualitative data collection techniques.
  • Identify the kinds of data gathered through different qualitative methods.
  • Use observation, participant observation, participatory tools, interviews, and focus. groups for project planning and monitoring and evaluation activities.
  • Analyze qualitative data collected from multiple qualitative data collection techniques.
  • Design qualitative indicators to measure progress and change.
  • Identify and be prepared to address possible challenges in collecting qualitative data in different contexts.
  • Comprehend the ethical considerations related to the collection of qualitative data.

Click here for the official course description from the American University Catalog.

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