Qualitative Methods in Public Health

Saw Swee Hock School Public Health (SPH)

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The course will familiarize participants with various data collection and analytic methods in qualitative research, as well as the relevant ethical considerations and ways to best present and communicate qualitative data. It is conceptualised as a journey where participants will be guided through each step of the qualitative research process starting with a discussion on the underlying principles of qualitative approaches and moving on to study design, sampling, data collection and analysis. Upon completion, participants will be able to: 1. Describe qualitative methods, & when the different types are most appropriately used. 2. Understand the ethical debate related to the qualitative methods contrasted to other approaches in public health. 3. Describe & apply the qualitative design cycle. 4. Undertake data collection for in-depth-interviews. 5. Setup & facilitate focus group disucssions. 6. Apply different approaches to observation (structured; participatory) & related data collection methods. 7. Manage & code data for thematic analyses. 8. Undertake a content analyses using media data. 9. Critically review the qualitative method identifying validity & reliability. 10. Undertake framework analyses, following the Ritchie & Lewis method. 11. Write up analyses (using the COREQ statement), & present it, clearly, concisely & creatively. Qualitative research tends to answer the “why?” and “how?” questions surrounding public health topics, in contrast to quantitative methodologies which tend to focus on epidemiological estimates of prevalence and strength of associations between variables. Qualitative methods are often employed when generating hypotheses which may be later developed into interventions and tested in randomised controlled trials. Moreover, qualitative research can provide additional understanding about a research topic that may be inaccessible using quantitative methods: for example, understanding why patients fail to adhere to prescribed treatments; why people undertake certain healthy (and unhealthy) behaviours; what concerns people have about their health and ill health; and how people conceptualise their illnesses. Qualitative research can provide insights that specialists and researchers may not have considered beforehand. In this way, qualitative methods can enhance quantitative research methods such as questionnaires and improve service design and delivery. (https://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/research-methods/1d-qualitative-methods/section1-qualitative-methods-health-research) For example a qualitative study could explore the perceptions of patients with Diabetes to understand: -Barriers to accessing health services -Experience with taking medication -Relationship with health care professionals -Policy recommendations on how to improve their situation

Who Should Attend

Health officers or researchers who wish to understand the social phenomena that shape behaviours and explore topics in more depth and detail than quantitative research methods. Job roles include other than Doctors and Nurses (not an exhaustive list), include those who are interested to collect, analyse and interpret data in healthcare topics Health Communications Specialist - Helping others to better understand the importance of healthy living and how to achieve that. Health Unit Coordinator - Managing and running a specific unit within the health care delivery system. NGO Manager - Leading on non-government organizations with a focus on public health. Political Specialist - Studying governmental systems both in this country and abroad, while focusing on how decision affect public health overall. Population Health Manager - Focusing on whole populations and the issues that affect their health, as well as helping them devise strategies to improve their overall health. Public Health Administrator - Managing and overseeing hospitals to try and identify areas within administration where improvements can be made. Public Health Project Manager - These specialists focus on new projects and help to implement and develop these. They also monitor the effects of new projects and steer new directions. Public Health Social Worker - These are social workers in the main, but they work with entire communities or groups of people with a specific focus on public health and their perceptions of it, as well as how public health issues affect social relationships. Public Health Specialist - This is a wide field of work that includes any specialist in an area of public health. They work together within an institute, joining forces to improve outcomes across the board. Quality Improvement Specialist - Monitoring and researching current methods of delivery within the health care system and identifying areas for improvement in quality.

Entry Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Relevant public health related work experience
  • Candidates with other qualifications and experience may be considered on a case by case basis, subject to approval

Class Schedule

Friday (2.00 PM - 5.00 PM)

Tutorial Schedule

Same Day as Lecture

Lesson Delivery

a) Facilitated Learning - 18 hrs; b) Project - 15 hrs. c) Assessment- 6 hrs d) Others-6 hrs

Full Fees (before GST)


Nett Fees payable after SSG Funding

International Participant Singapore Citizen 39 years old or younger Singapore Citizen 40 years or older eligible for MCES Singaporean PRs Enhanced Training Support for SMEs
Full Programme Fee S$7646.00 S$7646.00 S$7646.00 S$7646.00 S$7646.00
SSG Funding Eligible for Claim Period 1 Jul 2021 to 30 June 2024 - (S$5352.20) (S$5352.20) (S$5352.20) (S$5352.20)
Nett Programme Fee S$7646.00 S$2293.80 S$2293.80 S$2293.80 S$2293.80
7% GST on Nett Programme Fee S$535.22 S$160.57 S$160.57 S$160.57 S$160.57
Total Nett Programme Fee Payable, Incl. GST S$8181.22 S$2454.37 S$2454.37 S$2454.37 S$2454.37
Less Additional Funding if Eligible Under Various Scheme - - (S$1529.20) - (S$1529.20)
Total Nett Programme Fee, Incl. GST, after additional funding from the various funding schemes S$8181.22 S$2454.37 S$925.17 S$2454.37 S$925.17

SPH5409 (TGS-2020507483)

Funding Type
SSG Funding

Modular Course


Graded only

Area of Interest
Healthcare & Medicine