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Tourism studies AV, Qualitative Methods in Tourism, 7,5 credits

General data

Code: TR011A
Subject/Main field: Turismvetenskap
Cycle: Second cycle
Credits: 7.5
Progressive specialization: A1N - Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Answerable department: Tourism Studies and Geography
Answerable faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Established: 2/2/2016
Date of change: 3/29/2016
Version valid from: 9/10/2015


The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the multiple facets, potentials and shortcomings of qualitative research so that they can assess themselves when the qualitative paradigm is best suited for research and analysis, including their thesis work. It also aims to equip the students with the knowledge and tools to carry out reliable and critical qualitative research and analysis in practice.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students are expected to demonstrate:
- Theoretical understanding of the different philosophical assumption and interpretive frameworks of qualitative research.
- Critical knowledge to develop a qualitative research design.
- Theoretical understanding of the different qualitative approaches presented in the course.
- Ability to collect qualitative data and analyze it in accordance to a qualitative approach to inquiry.
-Ability to critically evaluate and verify the reliability of qualitative research.


The course comprises four major blocks: a) an introduction to qualitative inquiy and its pilosophical assumption and interpretive frameworks, b) designing a qualitative study, c) the data collection process, d) the data analysis process and writing a qualitative study.

a) An introduction to qualitative inquiry and its philosophical assumption and interpretive frameworks - focuses on the philosophical questions surrounding the ontology, epistemogology, axiology and methodology of qualitative knowledge. The students are introduced to intepretive frameworks that can guide them in their future qualitative research, such as social constructivism, postpositivism, postmodern perspectives and critical theory.

b) Designing a qualitative study - provides the students with the knowledge and tools to understand when a qualitative study is appropriate, what this type of study requires and the general plan necessary to carry it out. Five qualitative approaches to inquiry are presented, assessed critically and compared in depth: narrative research, phenomenological research, grounded theory research, ethnographic research and case study research.

c) The data collection process - introduces students to the practical implications of working in the field during qualitative inquiries. Practical issues such as sampling, accessing the object of study and storing data are presented as critical issues to good qualitative research. Different forms of data collection are presented and compared, such as interviewing, observing and accessing documents, in order to give students the tools to do their own research later.

d) The data analysis process and writing a qualitative study - teaches the students to write their own qualitative report. This section provides students with strategies for making sense of qualitative data in accordance to the different qualitative approaches to inquiry earlier presented. It also critically discusses how qualitative work is validated and evaluated.

Entry requirements

Bachelor exam in human geography, tourism studies or similar disciplines. TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 on a paper-based test and not below 4.0 on the TWE, or 213 on a computer-based test and not below 4 on Essay Rating, or a minimum score of 79 on internet based test and not below 17 on the TWE.
- IELTS (Academic Training) with a minimum overall score of 6.0 and a minimum score on the specific parts of at least 5.0

Selection rules and procedures

The selectionprocess is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance and the local order of admission.

Teaching form

Lectures and seminars.

Examination form

Written assignments.

Grading system

The grades A, B, C, D, E, Fx and F are given on the course. On this scale the grades A through E represent pass levels, whereas Fx and F represent fail levels.

Course reading

Required literature

Author: Cresswell, J.
Title: Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Sage Publications

Reference literature

Author: Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S.
Title: InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Sage Publications

Author: Silverman, D. (ed).
Title: Qualitative research: theory, method and practice
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Sage Publications

Author: Yin, R.
Title: Case study research: design and methods
Edition: Senaste upplagan
Publisher: Sage Publication

Ytterligare litteratur/material kan tillkomma.

Each lecture will be provided with supplementary readings through academic journal articles.