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Course Detail

Course Name Research Methods for Policy Studies – II
Course Code 24SDS513
Program M.Sc. in Social Data Science & Policy
Semester II
Credits 4
Campus Faridabad


Unit I

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods – The Researcher as a multicultural subject. History and research traditions. Conceptions of self and the other. The ethics and politics of research. Theoretical paradigms and perspectives. Positivism, postpositivism. Interpretivism, constructivism, hermeneutics. Feminism. Critical theory and marxist models. Cultural studies models. Post-colonialism.

Unit II

Research Strategies – Ethnography, participant observation, performance ethnography. Phenomenology, ethnomethodology. Grounded theory. Life history. Historical method. Action and applied research. Clinical research.

Unit III

Methods of Collection and Analysis – Observation. Artifacts, documents, and records. Visual methods. Autoethnography. Data management methods. Textual analysis. Applied ethnography. Interviewing. Focus groups and expert/elite interviews. Narrative analysis. Approaches to coding and thematic analysis.

Unit IV

Practices of Interpretation and Evaluation – Criteria for judging adequacy. Practices and politics of interpretation. Writing as interpretation. Policy analysis. Evaluation traditions. Applied research.

Unit V

Mixed-methods research – Core mixed methods designs. Collecting data in mixed methods research. Analyzing and interpreting data. Writing and evaluating mixed-methods research.


Prerequisite: Research Methods for Policy Studies – I

Summary: This course introduces students to qualitative and mixed-methods research and the ways it can contribute to the development of credible insights for policymaking. The course will begin by examining the foundational principles of qualitative research, including epistemological considerations and ethical dimensions. Students will then explore a range of qualitative data collection techniques, such as interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and ethnography, learning how to select and apply these methods effectively in different research contexts. Central to the course is the integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches within the mixed methods framework to generate robust evidence for policy recommendations. Throughout the course, students will engage with contemporary debates and challenges in qualitative research, including issues of validity, reliability, and researcher reflexivity. They will also have the opportunity to reflect on their own research practice and enhance their ability to communicate research findings to diverse stakeholders. By the end of the course, students will be equipped with the tools and skills necessary to conduct rigorous research and contribute to evidence-based policymaking in a variety of contexts.

Course Objectives and Outcomes

Course Objectives:

  1. To gain a basic understanding of the theoretical, historical, and philosophical traditions of qualitative research.
  2. To understand how to identify research questions and other rationale for doing a qualitative study.
  3. Become familiar with key issues of conducting qualitative and mixed-methods research such as gaining access to research sites, forms of interactions with research subjects, and research ethics.
  4. Learn to conduct independent qualitative and mixed-methods research, including the ability to design a study, collect, analyze and interpret data, formulate policy recommendations.
  5. Evaluate the implications of different strategies of reporting methods and findings for the quality of the reports.

Course Outcomes:

  • CO1: Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of various qualitative research paradigms, including phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, along with their underlying philosophical assumptions and methodologies.
  • CO2: Students will acquire proficiency in a wide range of qualitative data collection techniques, such as interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and document analysis, and understand how to select and apply appropriate methods based on research questions and contexts.
  • CO3: Students will understand the principles of mixed-methods research design and learn how to effectively combine qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • CO4: Students will develop advanced skills in analyzing qualitative data, including techniques for coding, categorizing, and interpreting textual and visual data.
  • CO5: Students will understand the ethical considerations inherent in qualitative and mixed-methods research, including issues related to informed consent, confidentiality, power dynamics, and researcher reflexivity.


  • Analytical skills: students will develop advanced analytical skills through the examination and interpretation of qualitative and mixed-methods research findings.
  • Effective communication and presentation skills: students will enhance their ability to communicate complex ideas and research findings effectively to diverse audiences.

Program outcome PO – Course Outcomes CO Mapping


Program Specific Outcomes PSO – Course Objectives – Mapping


Evaluation Pattern:

Assessment Internal External
Midterm Exam 30
*Continuous Assessment


End Semester 50

*CA – Can be Quizzes, Assignment, Projects, and Reports, and Seminar

Textbooks and Papers

  1. Lofland, J., Snow, D., Anderson, L., & Lofland, L. H. (2022). Analyzing social settings: A guide to qualitative observation and analysis. Waveland Press.
  2. Lindlof, T. R., & Taylor, B. C. (2011). Qualitative communication research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. P. (2011). Mixed methods research. SAGE Publications.
  3. Barley, S. R. (2015). Confessions of a mad ethnographer. Handbook of Qualitative Organizational Research: Innovative Pathways and Methods, 465-75.
  4. Eisenberg, E. M., Murphy, A. G., Sutcliffe, K., Wears, R., Schenkel, S., Perry, S., & Vanderhoef, M. (2005).
  5. Communication in emergency medicine: Implications for patient safety. Communication Monographs, 72 (4), 390-413.
  6. Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288.
  7. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 1-32). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Reference Books

  1. Weiss, Robert S. Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. The Free Press: New York, NY
  2. Peterson, B. (2017).Thematic Analysis/Interpretive thematic analysis. In C. R. Scott & L. K. Lewis (Eds.). The international encyclopedia of organizational communication. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Wolcott, H. F. (1994). Transforming qualitative data: Description, analysis, and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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