I can’t believe that there are only three more weeks left in this semester. In light of that fact, it’s a good thing that I am wrapping up my recap of the first semester with this post. The final course that we took last semester was Qualitative Methods. All of our other methodology classes focus on quantitative methods because we are students in the epidemiology track of the Public Health Sciences program. As a result, Qualitative Methods was unique in the series of courses and also pivotal because in practice, qualitative methods are used in tandem with quantitative methods in Public Health research.
Qualitative Methods focused on many anthropological principles and was actually taught by an anthropologist. During the course, we learned about the role of anthropology in Public Health and anthropological fieldwork; various data collection methods, including observation, interviews, and focus group discussions; and different methods of analysis, such as thematic analysis, content analysis, and narrative analysis. Because this course was scheduled during the holidays, we were assigned individual work to complete between Christmas and New Year’s. This involved writing, conducting, transcribing, and interpreting interviews.
On the one hand, several students were enthralled with the course and plan to use qualitative methods to some extent in their master’s theses as well as in future research. On the other hand, this was also one of the more challenging courses for some students because it required such a different type of thinking than what we are used to as epidemiologists in training. Overall, this was an eye-opening and enriching course.