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PSYC442 Qualitative Methods in Psychology

A practical introduction to qualitative methods in psychology; focused on thematic analysis of interviews or focus groups; including considerations for kaupapa Māori or Pasifika qualitative research in psychology.

Paper title Qualitative Methods in Psychology
Paper code PSYC442
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $704.22
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Entry into Psychology 400-level normally requires a major in Psychology, a B+ average or higher in Psychology 300-level papers, and a pass in PSYC 311 Quantitative Methods. We highly recommend that students have completed PSYC 310. Students from other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.


Teaching staff

Lecturer: Professor Gareth Treharne

Paper Structure

Example topics:

  1. Ethical considerations for qualitative research in psychology.
  2. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and ensuring cultural safety in qualitative research in psychology.
  3. Preparing data collection tools for qualitative research.
  4. Running one-on-one interviews and uiuinga.
  5. Running focus groups, wānanga, and Pasifika qualitative methods.
  6. Becoming familiar with data and developing codes from qualitative data.
  7. Refining and finalising codes.
  8. Developing themes from coded qualitative data.
  9. Refining and finalising themes.
  10. Presenting findings from qualitative research.
  11. Understanding sample size and what is essential to ensure high quality qualitative research.


  • This paper is internally assessed and there is no final examination.
  • The three internal assessments are:
    1. A written reflection on mock research activities: 15%
    2. A written summary of coding of self-selected publicly available data: 25%
    3. A results section based on self-selected publicly available data: 60%


  1. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2022). Thematic analysis: A practical guide. SAGE.
  2. Smith, L. T. (2021). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Communication; Critical thinking; Cultural understanding; Ethics; Information literacy; Research; Self-motivation; Scholarship.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

  1. Have the foundational skills required to go on to conduct a supervised research project in psychology involving qualitative methods.
  2. Understand the nature of qualitative data and common methods of collecting qualitative data in psychology as well as the main components of qualitative analysis.
  3. Be aware of core principles of research ethics that apply to qualitative research in psychology, including cultural sensitivity in psychological research.
  4. Be aware of synergies between qualitative methods in psychology and culturally-grounded research practices in Aotearoa New Zealand whilst also understanding the boundaries to application of culturally-grounded practices by outsiders.
  5. Be able to plan and conduct core tasks within qualitative research, including preparing questions for interviews or focus groups, facilitating semi-structured interviews and focus groups, systematically coding qualitative data, developing themes from coded qualitative data, and presenting qualitative findings with appropriate evidence.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22