Based on Aronson Fontes and Piercy (2000)’s experiential learning in Qualitative Methods. For details on each of these activities, see Aronson Fontes and Piercy (2000).

Setting the Stage

Asking students to compare and contract scaled response (i.e., 5 point likert scale) to verbal explanations. This is meant to trigger cognitions about the depth and complexity of verbal responses compared to numerical values.

Focus Groups

Select a question that warrants exploration through the use of a focus group, and develop a series of questions to be asked to members of the focus group. Ask for a handful of students to be volunteers to lead focus groups. Tell volunteers about their role as the focus group leaders (i.e., present ground rules, encourage different opinions of focus group members, ensure the group stays on topic). Have the focus group leaders walk their groups through questions. Open to a larger discussion about information learned, and experiences during the focus group.

Observing and Writing Field Notes

Students are provided with 15 minutes in which they sit in a place where they can see people (i.e., in the hallway), and they observe and take notes. Following their observations, students write field notes about their experience, including both practical information and their feelings about completing the exercise. Next, a class discussion follows.

Data Analysis

Students are provided with real data (copies of interview transcript, or other), and work together, in a collaborative way to analyse the data. Students break into smaller groups to have more detailed discussion, discuss for a set amount of time, and then discuss with the class as a whole.

Morals and Ethics

Vignettes featuring ethical dilemmas are presented to the class – students are divided into small groups to focus on specific dilemmas. Following this, all scenarios are discussed as a class and best practices are reviewed.

Defending Qualitative Research

Students are divided into groups and provided with a qualitative study that they have to defend to the class. Students are assigned questions and are responsible for coming up with answers that defend the qualitative methodology that the study used (i.e., debunking common misconceptions). See Aronson Fontes and Piercy (2000) for specific questions.