• Class Number 6356
  • Term Code 2950
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff
    • AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/06/2019
  • Class End Date 08/08/2019
  • Census Date 05/07/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/06/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces the major qualitative research methods as they are applied across the social sciences, especially human geography. Data collection methods covered include interviewing, oral histories, participant observation, textual analysis, and focus groups. Data analysis methods are also presented, and applied in conjunction with using N*Vivo qualitative data analysis software. In this course students will develop an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of taking a qualitative approach to research on sustainability issues. The course introduces some of the ethical and cross-cultural concerns researchers encounter, and gain the skills to critically evaluate qualitative research.


Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the course convenor; HPO students will be required to demonstrate greater depth of understanding of the content of the course. HPO students will undertake a program of advanced reading and will be required to prepare and facilitate a discussion session (like a tutorial) (equivalent to a minimum of 20% of overall assessment).  All other assessment requirements remain the same.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. identify and critically evaluate qualitative research methods from literature
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the methodological challenges posed by qualitative research in the context of sustainability
  3. demonstrate an ability to apply conceptual and practical tools to the development of qualitative research projects in the context of sustainability
  4. understand and demonstrate the application of reflexive principles to their learning

Field Trips

The course includes field based activity in the first week of the course. There is no charge for this excursion.

Additional Course Costs


Required Resources

For this course you will need a copy of the text book:

Hay, I. (ed.). 2016. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography. 4th Edition. Ontario. Oxford UP.

It should be available from the Harry Hartog bookshop. I also have a few copies I can lend, please contact me if you have difficulty getting or affording the book. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments related to each of the assessment criteria.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Face to face teaching in this course consists of nine full days (9:30 to 5:30) from 24 June to 4 July (weekdays only). There is a take home examination held on Friday 5 July.
2 Understanding qualitative research Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Welcome What is qualitative research? How is it different from quantitative research? What are the research challenges? Importance in sustainability context. Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) Subjectivity and objectivity in qualitative research; situated research. Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-2:00) Chapter 1 AND 2 of Hay, I. Qualitative research methods in Human Geography (2016) 4th ed, Melbourne, OUP. Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Discussion and finalisation of assessment Brainstorm and discussion: Key questions in understanding qualitative research Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site Learning journal (to 5:30) optional
3 Designing qualitative projects Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Designing a qualitative research project. Steps and the role of questions and methodology, sampling Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) The role of methodology in qualitative research. Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-2:00) Chapter 5; 2pp from Marsh and Furlong, and one of two readings all posted on Wattle Day 2 tutorial page. Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Constructing a conceptual framework: questions, purposes, methods, samples. Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
4 Ethics and research in practice Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) The importance of ethics and methodology, sampling Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) The importance of ethics and methodology, sampling - check lorrae Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-2:00) Hay, Chapter 4 and 6 NHMRC Ethical Guidelines for Research Involving Humans Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Writing an ethics application Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
5 Data collection Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Data collection Methods I: Interviews Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) Data collection Methods 2: Focus groups, oral histories Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-2:00) Hay, Chapter 8, 10 Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Preparing an interview protocol; focus group guide Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
6 Data collection (NB: Different schedule today) Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Data collection Methods 3: Participant observation Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) Data collection Methods 4: Content analysis Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-1:30) Hay, Chapters 13, and 15 Interviews and focus groups practice Excursion (1:30-4:00) National Botanical Gardens Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
7 Data collection Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Data collection methods: recap and other tools Lecture 2 (11:00-12:00) Guest Panel: demos and discussion Break, Reading and Preparation (12:00-2:00) Any one of the methods chapters in Part II of the textbook not yet covered, or your own source. Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Critiquing Data Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
8 Data Analysis Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Introduction to analysis: Overview, the role of methodology, types of analytical approaches. Reading and Preparation (11:00-12:00) Chapter 18 M. Crotty, Foundations of Social Research Ch1 Break, Lecture 2 (12:00-2:00) Analysis methods 1: Coding for content Coding, memo-writing, abstraction techniques Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Overview of the role of software packages Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
9 Data Analysis Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Analysis methods 2: the role of theory Thematic, open coding, analytical frameworks Reading and Preparation (11:00-12:00) Hay, Chapter 19 Break, Lecture 2 (12:00-2:00) Evaluation: what is quality in qualitative research? Coding, memo-writing, abstraction techniques Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) CAQDAS workshop 2: NVivo software Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) See course Wattle site
10 Lecture 1 (9:30-10:30) Qualitative approaches in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research/ Mixed methods Reading and Preparation (11:00-12:00) Lang et al. Break, Lecture 2 (12:00-2:00) Wrap up, reflection, Research as action, understanding the activities of doing, writing and publishing research as political action. Tutorial/Workshop (2:00-4:00) Evaluating qualitative research: dry run for the EXAM Guest speaker (where applicable) (4:00-5:00) No speaker: final reflections and Q&A session.
11 Take home exam, learning journal

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Learning journal (made up of 10% 1st submission, 15% second submission) < 9 pages 25 % 28/06/2019 21/07/2019 4
Major assignment, design a research project 2000 words 30 % 21/07/2019 31/07/2019 2,3
Data collection report, 1500 words 20 % 28/07/2019 16/08/2019 3
Final take home exam, 2000 words 25 % 05/07/2019 09/07/2019 1,2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Face to face teaching in this course consists of nine full days (9:30 to 5:30).

Participation in this course requires as a minimum:

  • attendance and positive contribution to 8 of 9 days. Absence of more than 1 day requires a medical certificate or prior approval from the lecturer
  • submission of all assignments.
  • completion of the end of semester examination
  • reading the assigned readings as described

Graduate students will be expected to do additional reading and contribute to an extra discussion at identified tutorials. These readings will also be available to undergraduate students as optional extras.

Due to the interactive format and the intensive nature of the course, there will be little scope for students to catch up on missed lectures. However, lectures can be recorded if the class considers this useful. For discussion.


The exam will open at 9am on Friday, and conclude at 11:59pm. Remember that the exam is only intended to be around 2 hours worth of work time (3 hours for Grad students). Please note the time penalties for late submission, as they are fierce!

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 28/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4

Learning journal (made up of 10% 1st submission, 15% second submission) < 9 pages

The learning journal is written at the conclusion of each day. The purpose of the learning journal is to encourage you to engage thoughtfully in a learning process, to develop your skills in reflexivity, and document what you have learned in a structured and assessable way. It is a space for you to:

  • Write about new things you have learned
  • Pose and discuss questions or uncertainties
  • Reflect on the content of the lectures, readings and tutorials

I will provide 3-5 optional questions each day for you to consider when writing your journal. You will be expected to complete your journal every day, i.e. have one entry for each teaching day. If time allows, we will finish the day with 15-30 minutes to write your journal. There is a limit of 1 page per day. It should include reference to all of the day’s activities, including lectures, guest lectures, workshops. You will have a chance to submit a draft journal for feedback (no mark) following Day 3.

Your journal will be assessed on:

  • Demonstration of understanding of the course material, especially key concepts
  •  Identification of questions for follow-up, and their answers
  • Personal reflection on workshop activities, readings, lectures and guest lectures, including connecting course material to your own experiences

Submission of the Learning Journal assessment (25%) is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 (10%): due 11:59pm Friday 28 June
  • Part 2 (15%): due 11:59pm Sunday 7 July

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 21/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Major assignment, design a research project 2000 words

Create a research proposal for submission to an imaginary funding agency. Your proposal will need to include a defined research topic area, a research question (or set of questions), a methodological framework, a sampling structure, and a description and justification of your choice of research methods. It may or may not be the same as your data collection research project (below). Max 2000 words.

Project proposals will be assessed on:

  • The clarity and suitability of the research question for qualitative investigation
  • The coherence of the methodological framework with the methods and sampling structures chosen.
  • TThe appropriateness of the methodological framework for the question you are seeking to answer.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 28/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3

Data collection report, 1500 words

Students will conduct some research data collection. Using a research project question you have prepared in class (which may or may not be the same as your major assignment), during the break you will draw on two of the four data collection methods we have studied (one oral method and one observation / content analysis method) to generate data that informs your question. You will be required to produce: a data collection protocol (preparation); field report or analytical framework (conduct); and short reflection on the process and data gathered after you have finished. You will also be required to have some data! The data are not assessed or included in the word count, but you will be using them for the second part of the course.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 05/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Final take home exam, 2000 words

Analysing qualitative research, equivalent to 2 hours (3 hrs ENVS6014) work. Available 9am-12 midnight.

Open book. Question and answer format. Using a journal article provided at the end of the teaching session, students write an assessor's report to assess the quality of the author(s) qualitative analysis.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Via the course Wattle site.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff
+61 2 6125 2748

Research Interests

AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff

AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff

Research Interests

AsPr Lorrae Van Kerkhoff

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions