By definition, qualitative research describes the process by which persons try to understand social phenomena through the use of methods other than statistics. Some of these methods can include case studies, biographies and the study of historical information so graduate certificate programs dedicated to this subject area must cover related information. This article will present an overview of the kinds of courses that online graduate certificate programs in qualitative research will generally include.
Overview of Courses Generally Included in Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Qualitative Research
Persons who enroll in online graduate certificate programs in qualitative research can expect to complete 18 credit hours of courses that are similar to the ones shown below.
Data Analysis Courses
Since qualitative analysis is based on getting information without the use of numerical data, students must learn how to analyze other forms of data. Data analysis courses generally teach students about the best practices to be used when conducting a qualitative analysis. Other topics the courses may include are data transformation, report writing, and microanalysis.
Data Collection Courses
In some cases, these courses may be taught in combination with data analysis courses. When taking these courses, students will usually learn how to generate data and how to choose appropriate data sources. Students will also learn about transcription, sampling strategies and quality control measures related to qualitative research.
Research Design Courses
When dealing with qualitative design courses, students will need to learn how to design their research projects. As such, courses focused on research design usually teach students how to create studies and proposals. These courses will also teach students how to select their research sites, create research questions and choose samples.
These courses are designed to help students understand the elements of ethnography and in some programs can include case studies. A few of the topics students can expect to cover are the approaches to ethnography as well as its foundation. Students might learn how to design and carry out an autoethnography, which relates the student's personal experience to his or her culture, or an ethnographic analysis.
Qualitative Research Focused on Specific Areas
Qualitative research can be applied to different subject areas and students may learn about its application to some of them. Some areas include the arts, education, geography, and sociology. A few of the topics students will learn about include researcher bias, validation of research findings and ethical issues.
General Admission Requirements for Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Qualitative Research
Applicants for online graduate certificate programs will be required to have a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for admission. While admission to these graduate certificate programs doesn't usually require a specific subject area for the undergraduate degree, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. When applying for these programs, students may need to submit school transcripts, a current resume, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. Prospective students who are non-native English speakers may also be required to present passing scores on an English Language proficiency test.
Graduate certificate programs in qualitative research that are offered online usually require 18 credit hours for completion. Prospective students can gain admission into these programs as long as they have an undergraduate degree.