Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · School of Education · Graduate Education

Qualitative Methods of Research

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course examines qualitative methods used in educational research, focusing primarily on participant-observation, asking questions, writing field notes, and on the transformation of these primary field data into written ethnographic documents. (Formerly EDUC 717)





The research problems addressed by the process of educational research often present a more complex problem than the use of traditional quantitative research approaches can satisfy. As a result of this complexity, there is the need for alternate ways to answer research questions. Qualitative research (as a paradigm of thought and as groups of methods and approaches) seeks to provide this alternate approach. Christian educational researchers must develop a diverse understanding of research methodologies and approaches to best apply the proper method in the practice of educational research.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the candidate will be able to:

  1. Define qualitative research and distinguish between it and qualitative research.
  2. Critique articles that use qualitative methods.
  3. Describe ways qualitative inquirers gather data.
  4. Delineate five major qualitative inquiry approaches.
  5. Write field notes based on participant interviews.
  6. Describe the general procedures followed in the analysis of qualitative data.
  7. Successfully implement APA writing guidelines.
  8. Identify criteria to use in evaluating a qualitative study.

Course Resources

Required Resources

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Creswell, J. W. & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
ISBN: 9781506330204.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Access to an audio recording device for two separate interviews
    5. Microsoft Word

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

As the first activity in this course, please read the syllabus and Student Expectations. After reading the syllabus and Student Expectations, the candidate will then complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (7)

The candidate will complete discussion forums in two parts. First, the candidate should post a new thread in response to the provided prompt. Then, the candidate should reply to the specified number of classmates. Threads should be posted by the end of Thursday of the week the forum is assigned and replies should be posted by the end of Sunday of the same week (except for the final discussion forum in week 8; replies should be posted by Friday 11:59 pm of that week). (MLO: A, C, D, E, G, H)

Reading Summary

In Module/Week 1, candidates will have the opportunity to practice their APA writing and formatting skills through composing clear and concise chapter summaries for their assigned reading that week. The summaries should follow the format provided in the course and should clearly reflect APA style and writing. (MLO: A, D, G)

Research Plan Overviews

Throughout the course, candidates will build a preliminary research plan that will be submitted in three different stages (weeks 2, 4, & 6). (MLO: C, F, G, I)

Five Approaches Table

In Module/Week 3, candidates will complete a chart that will allow them to define, explain, and discuss five major qualitative research methods. (MLO: D, G, H).

Article Critiques (2)

During Modules/Weeks 3 and 5, candidates will read and critique an article based on the information provided in chapter 5 and the appendices of the textbook. The critique should be a double-spaced review of the study’s purpose, theory, methods, and major findings. Both critiques should also follow APA style and should match the formatting guidelines provided. (MLO: B, D, F, G, H)

Field Notes Interviews

Candidates will practice collecting data in the field through conducting two interviews with individuals who have earned a doctorate degree in the field of education. Each interview should be kept at about a 1-hour time limit and should be audio recorded for official transcription, which will be submitted. An interview template is provided with a detailed list of questions. Initial interview must be completed by Wednesday of Module/Week 5. The completed interview templates will be submitted in Module/Week 7. (MLO: C, E, G)

Course Grading

Course Requirement Checklist (CRC)


Discussion Board forums (7 at 50 ea)


Reading Summary


Research Plan Overviews (3 at 100 ea)


Five Approaches Table


Article Critiques (2 at 50 ea)


Field Notes Interviews





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at

Grading Scale

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.


EDUC 817

Textbooks: APA, Publication of the American Psychological Association.

Creswell & Poth, Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design (2018).


Reading & Study




Creswell & Poth: chs. 1–2

APA: ch. 3

1 chart

1 presentation

1 podcast

Course Requirements Checklist

Advising Guide Acknowledgement

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

Reading Summary







Creswell & Poth: ch. 3

APA: ch. 1

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

Research Plan Overview Stage 1




Creswell & Poth: ch. 4

1 presentation

DB Forum 3

Five Approaches Table

Article Critique 1





Creswell & Poth: ch. 6, selected readings from ch. 5

1 presentation

DB Forum 4

Research Plan Overview Stage 2




Creswell & Poth: ch. 7, selected readings from ch. 5

1 presentation

DB Forum 5

Article Critique 2

Conduct 1st Field Notes Interview





Creswell & Poth: chs. 8, 10

1 presentation

DB Forum 6

Research Plan Overview Stage 3




APA: review pp. 87–104

1 presentation

Field Notes Interviews



Creswell & Poth: ch. 9

1 presetation

DB Forum 7




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.