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Athabasca University


MDDE 702: Qualitative Research Methods

Delivery mode: Online course using Moodle

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: MDDE 602, MDDE 701

Instructor: Cynthia Blodgett-Griffin



MDDE 702: Qualitative Research Methods is the second of the four courses in the thesis program route. The course focuses on the knowledge and skills that a distance education researcher or practitioner must possess in order to interpret the results of qualitative investigations as reported in the distance education and social science literature, as well as to conduct such investigations in their thesis research. Such knowledge and skills are essential preparation for graduate students who will be making decisions about methodology while developing their thesis proposals and conducting data analyses during their thesis research. The computer-based data analysis tool, nVivo, will be used to carry out course-related exercises and to prepare students for the analysis of qualitative data in their future thesis research.

Course Goals

The goals of this course are to provide students with the concepts and skills required to interpret and evaluate the results of research in the social sciences and distance education literature, and to acquire an effective set of advanced computer-based, data analysis skills for their future thesis endeavors.

All students taking the thesis route in the M.Ed. (Distance Education) program must successfully complete MDDE 701 before they can register in MDDE 702.

Students who successfully complete MDDE 702, but who opt to pursue the course-based route, will be granted three elective credits.

Course Outline

The course is divided into the following units:

Unit 1 - Introduction

Unit 2 - Designing a Qualitative Study

Unit 3 - Data Analysis and Reprensentation

Unit 4 - Five Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry

Unit 5 - Introducing, focusing and writing a Qualitative Study

Unit 6 - Philosophical, Paradigm and Interpretive Frameworks

Student Assessment

Students will be assessed on a Pass/Fail for each assignment and for the final grade. The assignments are briefly described below.

Assignment 1 is an N-Vivo coding and qualitative analysis project.
Assignment 2 is a paper discussing appropriate methodologies for your future research.

Note: Changes to assignments may be made from time to time by individual instructors.

Course Materials

  1. Online Study Guide
  2. Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage Publications, Inc.
  3. N-Vivo software (key emailed to students one week before official start date).

Get Started Early

Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System, begins a few days before the official start date of the course. At that time you will have limited access to the course. On the Official Start Date of the course, the instructor will be available and the discussion forums will become active.


Last updated by MM October 12, 2016

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