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This one-day course, delivered face-to-face in Oxford, provides an introduction to the theoretical and practical issues associated with online qualitative research. It is particularly suited for people who are starting work on a project with an online qualitative dimension, including doctoral students at the beginning of their projects, and those who are thinking about using online qualitative research methods in future work. 

The course is aimed at health professionals, researchers, academics and postgraduate students with some understanding of qualitative research but little or no understanding of online qualitative research methods.  It also provides a useful introduction/refresher for researchers, academics, or managers who are supervising students or staff doing online qualitative research projects.


This course is both theoretical and very practical and includes sessions on: 

  • an introduction to the theoretical dimensions of doing qualitative research online including when and how to use this approach (versus more traditional methods),
  • a critical consideration of the ethical issues involved (consent and confidentiality),
  • exploration of the different types of online research methods you might use (for example, email/Skype interviews, online ethnography/netnography, online focus groups),
  • the practical issues associated with online research such as recruitment, access and sampling.

The course is very much weighted to the discussion of real-life examples and participants will have the opportunity to carry out a practical online data collection exercise (e.g. Skype or email interview, netnography).


By the end of the course participants will

  • have an understanding of different online methods for use in qualitative research,
  • have a grounding in the theoretical underpinning of online qualitative research,
  • be able to critically assess the usefulness of online qualitative research methods versus more traditional (offline) methods,
  • be able to discuss some of the key ethical issues associated with conducting online qualitative research,
  • demonstrate an awareness of recruitment and sampling issues in online qualitative research.