Hands-on Qualitative Methods


Hands-on Qualitative Methods (runs annually)


Magali Gravier (MSC)
Mette Zølner (MSC)
Dan Kärreman (MSC)
Joshua Kragh Bruhn (CBS Library)

Course coordinator
Associate Professor Magali Gravier, MSC, Copenhagen Business School


The PhD student should attach to the application one document:

A brief note (no more than 150 words), listing:

  • Your name and affiliation
  • Your research topic
  • The kind of data you are gathering
  • Five key questions on methodological/analytical issues in your project.
  • Date of the start of your PhD project

The PhD student will be told if (s)he is accepted to the course after the registration deadline.

If you are accepted to the course you should work out a five-pages (maximum) written presentation in which you relate some parts of the curriculum literature in the course to your project.

The presentation should focus on a methodological and analytical issue, and specific references to course literature. A list of literature will be uploaded on Canvas, to which you will have access after acceptance to the course.

Deadline for sending this document is 2 weeks before course begin.

The five pages will provide material for discussions and reflections throughout the course. You will be asked to discuss your own project as well as the projects of course participants, and to reflect upon how you can include the course learnings in your PhD project.

It is a precondition for receiving the course diploma that the PhD student attends the whole course.


This course serves as a basic primer for PhD students on how to conduct solid qualitative research as well as on major considerations that researchers need to reflect upon when aspiring to conduct qualitative research with quality.

Course content

The course will consist of four main components:

1) It will provide the participants with hands-on knowledge on how to conduct a qualitative research project. The course will focus on how to elaborate research designs, how to make a workable research topic, how to choose the appropriate analytical strategy, how to analyze data, and how to present qualitative research in a PhD and in scientific publications.

2) It will discuss qualitative research methods in relation to dominant philosophies of science (i.e. positivism, constructionism, critical realism and pragmatism) and their respective quality criteria.

3) It will enhance the students’ ability to reflect upon own research designs and methods through discussions and sharing of experiences with course participants and CBS researchers.

4) Students will be offered exercises in order to acquire and improve skills in qualitative methods.

Teaching style
Lectures with workshops, dialogues, exercises, student presentations and discussions.

Lecture plan

Day 1 Scientific philosophy and paradigms

10.00     Introduction of the course (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

10.30     Qualitative research processes in various paradigms (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

              (i.e. Positivism, constructionism, critical realism)

              Role playing game – philosophy of science Part I.

12.30     Lunch

13.30     Role playing game – philosophy of science Part II

15.00     Role playing game – philosophy of science Part III.

16.00     Short debrief on the exercise

16.15     Discussions around students’ projects (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

17.00/17.15   End of day

17.15     End of day

Day 2 Research design and qualitative data: What is it and how to proceed?

9.00       Processes of defining a qualitative research design;

(i.e. Research strategy, deductive, inductive, abductive, retroductive approaches; quality criteria) (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

10.40    Collecting qualitative data and field access

(i.e. Case studies, (participant) observations, shadowing, documents, social media, interviews, visual data) (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner) 

  • Lunch

13.30     A tale from the field: planning and collecting qualitative data (Dan Kärreman)

14.30     Discussions around students’ projects and on philosophies of science and data collection (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

16.15/16.30   End of day

18.30     Course diner

Day 3 Doing data analysis

9.00       Various analytical strategies (i.e. Content analysis, Discourse analysis, Narrative analysis) (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

11.30     Hands-on analytical strategies and working in research teams (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)
Exercise 1: applying two analytical strategies to selected data material

12.30     Lunch

13.30     A tale from the field: analyzing data (Dan Kärreman)

14.30     Hands-on analytical strategies and working in research teams
Exercise 2: applying two analytical strategies to selected data material (Mette Zølner & Magali Gravier)

15.30     Hands-on analytical strategies and working in research teams

Exercise 3: Method combinations (drawing on exercise 1 and 2) (Mette Zølner & Magali Gravier)

17.00/17.15   End of day

Day 4 From data to theorizing

9.00       Using NVIVO for qualitative data analysis: assets and challenges (Joshua Kragh Bruhn, CBS Library)

10.15     Discussing software based vs manual data analysis (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

11.00     What about theorizing? (Magali Gravier & Mette Zølner)

12.30     Lunch

13.30     A tale from the field: ethical issues (Dan Kärreman)

14:30     Two participant presentations on how to implement learnings in own PhD project

15.30     In class home-work – preparing for tomorrow.

Day 5 Implementing on own research

9.00       Student presentations on how to implement learnings in their Ph.D. projects (Mette Zølner & Magali Gravier)

11.30     A tale from the field: presenting and publishing qualitative analyses (Dan Kärreman)

12.30     Lunch

13.30     Student presentations on how to implement learnings in their Ph.D. projects (Mette Zølner & Magali Gravier)

14.30     Wrapping up and evaluations

15.30      End of the course

Learning objectives
  • Enhance the participants’ knowledge and ability to work with qualitative methods and research;
  • Develop the participants’ capacity to reflect critically upon qualitative methods and research
  • Make participants aware of the pros and cons of doing qualitative research (both in general and in regard to specific qualitative methods);
  • Help the participants learn how to present qualitative research convincingly in their PhD and scientific publications.



Start date

End date




Course Literature

Indicative list of literature (An updated list of literature will be uploaded on Canvas).

Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K. (2009). Reflexive methodology. New Vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage (2nd edition).

Bhaskar, Roy. 2008. A Realist Theory of Science. Rev. ed. London: Routledge.

Bazeley P. and Jackson, K.  (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis with NVIVO. Sage (2nd ed.)

Cassell C. et al. (2009) Learning to be a qualitative management researcher. Management Learning. 40 (5) 513-533

Flick, U.  (2014). An introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage (5th edition)

Flick, U. (ed) (2014). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Sage.

Gioia, D. A., K. N. Price, A. L. Hamilton, and J. B. Thomas. 2010. “Forging an Identity: An Insider-Outsider Study of Processes Involved in the Formation of Organizational Identity.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 55: 1–46.

Leroux, P. and Neveu, E. (dir.), 2017. En Immersion. Pratiques intensives du terrain en journalisme, littérature et sciences sociales, Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 427 p.

Salmons, J. (2015). Qualitative online interviews. London: Sage (2nd edition).

Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Silverman, D. (2014). Interpreting qualitative data. London: Sage (5th edition).

Miles, M. B. and Huberman, M. A. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Sage (2nd edition).

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Tracy, S. J. (2012). Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact. Wiley-Blackwell.

Welch C. et al. (2011). Theorising from case studies: towards a pluralist future for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 42: 740-762.

White, P. (2009). Developing Research Questions. Palgrave Macmillan.

DKK 6,500,-

Minimum number of participants

Maximum number of participants

Copenhagen Business School 
Dalgas Have
2000 Frederiksberg
Room: DHV 2.71, 2.70 & 2.69 (second floor)

Contact information
For administrative issues please contact PhD Support: 
Nina Iversen
Tel: 3815 2475

Registration deadline

Course registration is binding after the course registration deadline.  

In case we receive more registrations for the course than we have places, the registrations will be prioritized in the following order: Students from CBS departments, students from other institutions than CBS.
Register here