Qualitative Research Methods

Module B - Collecting Qualitative Data

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to provide PhD students with advanced skills to independently use relevant qualitative data collection tools separately and in combination. Themes that will be discussed are interviewing (individual and focus group), different forms of participant observations, as well as the use of text, video, and image material as data – self-developed or acquired from the internet. Special attention will be directed towards combining different data collection tools for publications aimed at high-level outlets.

By use of literature, presentations and exercises students will gain insights into the selection and application of different types of methods. They will be able to reflect upon the needed data collection tools for their specific projects. We will also discuss advantages and disadvantages of the different methods and their combinations in relation to the publication potential in different types of projects. Finally, we will discuss successful examples of paper writing using these approaches and present our own experiences in how to best prepare articles, using the specific methods, for publication.

Time and place

13-15 April 2021, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University. Please note: due to the Covid-19 situation, Module B will be taught virtually (online) until further notice.


  • Professor Jakob Lauring (course coordinator)
  • Professor Helle Neergaard
  • Associate Professor Sophie Esmann Andersen
  • Associate Professor Birte Asmuß


Interview and participant observation

Interviews and observations are some of the primary data collection tools in qualitative research. We will discuss how to do interview and observations in different forms in relation to organisation and management research. For example, technique of ensuring the right type of information from a one-on-one interview situation. We will also go through the practices of doing participant observations in organizational social settings.

Online data collection

The rise of digital media and online technologies have extensively broadened the possibilities for researchers to access new research sites and study social phenomena in their natural setting. This part of the course provides students with insights into the use of the Internet as site for data collection in communication and management research.

Visual recording

Micro observations of recorded naturally-occurring interactions allows us to study how talk, bodily movements, and material objects are organised in the social practice of organising. It enables us to study organisations and management as social, situated practices, where meaning creation is understood as collaborative and interactive accomplishments.

Focus groups

Focus groups consist of a group of individuals selected by researchers in order to gain knowledge of their experiences and insight in a specific theme based on their individual experiences. Focus groups are increasingly used to collect data in all fields of management research. This part of the course will introduce specific moderator techniques to enhance the collection of data.


Course plan
Day 1 – 13 April

9-10 Introduction (JL)

10-12 Interview and Participant observation (JL)

12-13 Lunch

13-16 Online data collection (SEA)

Day 2 – 14 April

9-12 Visual recordings (BA)

12-13 Lunch

13-16 Netnographic field exercise (SEA)

Day 3 – 15 April

9-12 Focus group interview (HN)

12-13 Lunch

13-15 Conclusions (JL)

Introduction, interview and observation:

Pratt, M. 2009. For the lack of a boilerplate: Tips on writing up (and reviewing) qualitative research. Academy of Management Journal, 52 (5): 856–862.

Bernard, H. R. (2006). Research methods in Anthropology. Chapter 9. Interviewing: Unstructured and semistructured.

Dewalt, KM, Dewalt, BR (2010) Participant Observation: A Guide for Fieldworkers. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Chapter 5.

Internet data collection:

Costello, L., M.-L. McDermott, and Ruth Wallace (2017) Netnography: Range of Practices, Misperceptions, and Missed Opportunities. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 16: 1-12.

Kozinets, R.V. (2006) Netnography 2.0. In: Russel, W. Belk (ed.): Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar: 129-142.

Murthy, D. (2008) Digital Ethnography: An Examination of the Use of New Technologies for Social Research. Sociology. 42(5): 837-855.

Langer, R. and S.C. Beckman (2005) Sensitive Research Topics: Netnography revisited. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal. 8(2): 189-203

Video-based data collection:

LeBaron, C., Jarzabkowski, P., Pratt, M.G., Fetzer, G. (2018): An introduction to video methods in organizational research. Organizational Research Methods 2(2), 239-269.

Mondada, L. (2013): The conversation analytic approach to data collection. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers: The handbook of conversation analysis. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 32-56.

Focus group interview data collection:

Bloor, F. and Thomas, R. (2001) Focus groups in social research. SAGE.

Examples of qualitative articles:

H. Tenzer, M. Pudelko (2015) Leading across language barriers: Managing language-induced emotions in MNCs. Leadership Quarterly, 26 (4) (2015), pp. 606-625

Ben-Menahem, S., von Krogh, G., Erden, Z., & Schneider, A. (2016). Coordinating knowledge creation in multidisciplinary teams: Evidence from early-stage drug discovery. Academy of Management Journal, 59(4), 1308-1338.

Smets, M. , Jarzabkowski, P. , Burke, G.T. and Spee, P. (2015), “Reinsurance trading in Lloyd’s of London: balancing conflicting-yet-complementary logics in practice”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 58 No. 3, pp. 932-970.

Llewellyn, N. & Spence, L. (2009). Practice as a members’ phenomenon. Organization Studies 30 (12), 1419–1439.


Deadline for application: 8 March 2021. Please download and fill in the application form. The application should be sent by email to: Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, att. Lisbeth Widahl. Please note that your application is binding.


External participants (from outside Aarhus University) will be charged a fee that covers lunches and refreshments (for more information, please contact Lisbeth Widahl). Participants will have to make their own arrangements regarding travel and accommodation.


2.5 ECTS