Region 2 Public Health Training Center

Introduction to Qualitative Research

This is an introductory course offering CHES and CPH — Free
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Time to Start

3-5 minutes


1.00 hour


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Qualitative research is “an inquiry process of understanding whereby the researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting,” (Creswell 249). In ‘Introduction to Qualitative Research,’ learners follow along with two staff members from the Huntsville Department of Health as they discuss key concepts in qualitative research and decide how to examine an underutilized program using qualitative methods. Through interactive exercises and feedback, learners will explore the most common approaches to and data collection methods in qualitative research. The following discussion was based on John W. Creswell’s Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design, a text commonly used in qualitative research methods courses. Additional resources and suggested readings are provided for those who are interested in learning more about specific topics and concepts introduced in this training.


This course is designed for individuals who have a background in designing or implementing quantitative research and who would like to expand their work to include qualitative research. The course is ideal for those with a Master’s in public health or another social/behavioral or health science discipline or who have equivalent experience in the design or conduct of quantitative research.


This learning opportunity topic is aligned with one or more of the strategic skills.  

This learning opportunity addresses training topics identified in PHWINS 2017. 


Reviewers say, "Registration with TRAIN is required and the process is a little clunky." And, "It’s a great training with informative information."


What You'll Learn

  • Describe the rationale for using qualitative research to answer a particular question or to study a phenomenon of interest
  • Describe critical elements of each of the five main approaches to qualitative research
  • Describe the four main types of qualitative data collection methods including the main procedures and challenges associated with each
  • Select an appropriate data collection method(s) for a given study question or approach
  • Discuss commonly used strategies to ensure validity and reliability in qualitative research

Competency Terms

Assessment (surveillance and epidemiology)
Analytical/Assessment Skills
Data Analysis
Ethical Use of Data
Information Dissemination

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Related Job Tasks

Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems
Conduct community assessments
Develop surveillance procedures
Report data to the county or state
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Analyze & Interpret data
Evaluate program performance
Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems
Take part in public health research