Qualitative Research Methods Seminar (Spring 2022)

Updated: about 4 hours ago
Deadline: 03 Jun 2022


Qualitative Research Methods Seminar (Spring 2022)

Professor Michel  Avital, Department of Digitalization
Associate Professor Daniel Souleles, Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy
Professor Torkil Clemmensen, Department of Digitalization
Assistant Professor Philipp Hukal, Department of Digitalization
Associate Professor Thomas Frandsen, Department of Operations Management 
Associate Professor Jawwad Raja, Department of Operations Management

Course coordinator
Professor Michel Avital, Department of Digitalization


In preparation for the seminar, please provide one page that describes your academic background and research interests. Please describe your guiding research questions, data sources, and research methodologies to the best of your ability, and add contact information and web address if available.

Please upload your profile page in the designated Assignment section in Canvas no later than two weeks prior to the first class (9 May 2022).


The Qualitative Research Methods course is designed for doctoral students who are interested in pursuing qualitative research projects in the social sciences. A primary objective of the course is to help participants acquire the necessary skills that will enable them to design, execute, report and critically review qualitative research in social sciences with an emphasis on business and management-related fields. Participants will gain foundational knowledge of qualitative research methods and discuss the considerations for the design of empirical studies employing such methods.

Course content

The course is designed as a sequence of 2 three-day blocks of extensive seminars, each covering a key topic on qualitative research methods in social sciences. The meetings are in the form of participatory seminars that comprise class presentations, directed discussions, and practical workshops. In addition to an appreciative and critical review of the extant literature on qualitative research methods, the seminars seek to encourage constructive dialogue aimed at helping students to tackle research questions in a qualitative fashion, which builds on and extends contemporary knowledge.

The course requires a heavy reading load that is necessary to meet the aforementioned learning objectives. Reading the materials beforehand and participating actively in class dialogues are essential for acquiring a firm grasp of the course content. For each seminar, students should read the assigned articles or books, and be prepared to answer questions and discuss any other issues pertaining to the assigned reading material. Furthermore, we expect students to prepare the take-home assignments in preparation for the classes.

Teaching style


A Pass/Fail grade will be based on an individual take-home 10 pages written exam. A passing grade on five individual one-page reflective essays and a five-page coding exercise assignment is a prerequisite for taking the exam.

Reflective Essays

Each student should prepare and share prior to each session a one-page “reflective essay” that synthesizes the assigned readings and integrates personal insights thereof. The reflective essays are also an opportunity for students to position themselves in relation to the assigned readings and raise issues and questions that can spark a debate related to the readings. The reflective essays should be posted in the designated Discussion section in Canvas before the respective sessions, as indicated in the schedule. The reflective essays are mandatory assignments.

Coding Exercise

The coding exercise involves the analysis of primary and secondary data with NVivo (or qualitative analysis software of your choice). Further information about the coding exercise will be provided in the class on 25 May 2022.

Lecture plan


Description 2022



1 WEEK 2022


 23 May

Kickoff (8:30-10:30)

*Pre-course Assignment (due 9/5)

Michel Avital 

1. Ethnography and Fieldwork

*Assignment: reflective essay (due 20/5)


Daniel Souleles


24 May

2. Linguistics, semiotics, and storytelling
*Assignment: reflective essay (due 21/5)


Daniel Souleles

25 May

3. Digital Analysis of Qualitative Data – Part 1: Coding, Recursive Abstraction
*Assignment: reflective essay (due 22/5)

Torkil Clemmensen


2 WEEK 2022


1 June

4. Digital Analysis of Qualitative Data – Part 2:  Abstraction and Communication of Findings

* Assignment: coding exercise (due 29/5)

Torkil Clemmensen


2 June

5. Trace Data Analysis

*Assignment: reflective essay (due 30/5)


Philipp Hukal

3 June

6. Case Research Methodology

*Assignment: reflective essay (due 31/5)


Thomas Frandsen

& Jawwad Raja

* Light breakfast will be served at 8:30 

*All daily sessions are 9:00 12:00 and 13:00 16:00 unless noted otherwise.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the theories and methods that were presented in class and covered by the readings
  • Design theoretically valid and methodologically rigorous qualitative studies
  • Develop protocols for qualitative data collection
  • Identify and assess data sources and data collection methods for qualitative studies
  • Demonstrate an understanding of qualitative data analysis techniques
  • Interpret analytical results from qualitative studies
  • Assess the quality of qualitative studies
  • Articulate in writing a formal description of qualitative research design and analysis


The exam takes the form of an individual take-home exam paper of up to 10 pages. The exam is designed to foster the application of the qualitative research methods covered in the course.

The exam paper should emulate the research design section of a doctorate thesis. Accordingly, the paper should outline the design of a qualitative empirical study for investigating one's domain of interest or any other contemporary or emerging topic in the social sciences. The paper should incorporate the following elements:

  • Selected topic to be investigated via qualitative research models (in brief)
  • The significance of the selected topic (in brief)
  • Prior research on the selected topic (in brief)
  • Research question(s) to be answered based on the selected topic
  • Theoretical lens to guide data collection and analysis (in detail)
  • Qualitative research strategy being adopted to answer the research question(s) (in detail)
  • Protocols for data collection
  • Possible data source(s)
  • Proposed data analytical technique(s) to be utilized
  • Potential contributions to theory and practice (in brief)

All work must be individually-produced original material. The exam paper should be posted in the designated Assignment section in Canvas by 24 June 2022. Re-take exam, if necessary, will be administered about a month later.


Start date

End date




Course Literature

Required Text

Mandatory Readings:

See the reading list in the course plan. Please plan ahead and obtain the reading materials, especially the books, ahead of time. See further information in Canvas. Additional articles and resources may be provided on a need-to basis.

Required Books:

George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen (2003) Metaphors we live by. London: The University of Chicago Press.

Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Sage publications.

Self-select a good general reference book. We recommend one of the following:

Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Sage.

Symon, G., & Cassell, C. (Eds.). (2012). Qualitative organizational research: core methods and current challenges. Sage.

Crotty, M.  (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process.  


Required Background

If you have no background in philosophy of science, please read at least one of the following:

Kuhn, T (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Hollis, M. (1994) The Philosophy of Social Science. Cambridge University Press

Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Harvard university press.

Sessions Readings


DKK 7.800,- (The fee covers the course, lunch, tea/coffee and one dinner)

Minimum number of participants

Maximum number of participants

Copenhagen Business School
Room TBC
2000 Frederiksberg

Contact information
For administrative issues: 
Nina Iversen
CBS PhD Support
For course related issues:
Professor Michel Avital

Registration deadline

Please note that your registration is binding after the registration deadline.
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