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The Art of Investigation: Qualitative Research Methods for Development

A New Online Training Course

Online Delivery

The field of market systems development is built on interviews, focus groups and field trips – but few of us have ever been taught how to use qualitative research methods well, yet alone how to analyse the results. This course aims to address just that.

This course will teach you the A to Z of qualitative research for development – from planning through to analysis. It’s practical, interactive and informal. This course is not really about theory; it is about how to actually use these research tools in practice! Places are limited, so that we can get to know you, answer your questions and provide personalised feedback.

No matter how much of a beginner you are when you join, you will come out more confident, more skilled, and better able to use qualitative research methods to do your job.

You will learn how to:

  • make a research plan
  • sample for qualitative research
  • do a semi-structured interview
  • make the most of ‘field visits’
  • handle a focus group
  • analyse qualitative data and come up with conclusions
A picture of a zoom call taking up a laptop screen, with a green coffee mug sat next to it.

Who is this for?

This course is for anyone who uses talking to people outside their own team as a way to get the information they need as development practitioners. Typically, that includes:

  • Intervention managers and staff
  • Monitoring and results measurement specialists
  • Consultants
  • Evaluators and external reviewers

If you are responsible for doing interviews, field visits or focus groups, for planning research, or for analysing qualitative data, you will get something from this course. If you manage people who are responsible for doing qualitative research, or if people report to you on the basis of qualitative research, then this is not the course for you – it’s the course for your team. Sign them up!

Read the course brochureRead the April course review

Course dates

Dates for the next course will be announced soon!

Sessions will run over four hours each day, including “zoom fatigue” breaks. As each course is exclusive to a small group, exact timings will be confirmed once applicants have been selected, to accommodate a range of time zones.

This is an intensive, live course – it will require full participation in all of the sessions. In other words, don’t expect to get your other work done in the background!! You will get more out of the course if you also budget time for homework – allow about an hour per day.

Course requirements

All sessions will be live, interactive and online. Participants therefore need access to a laptop and a sufficiently stable internet connection to be able to participate in video calls. The main delivery platform will be Zoom. We will use a variety of online collaboration tools – but none will have cost implications above the course fee.

If you would like to be notified when future course dates are made available, register your interest using the link below. Spaces on future courses will be offered to those who have registered their interest first, before being offered publicly.

Register for updates

The Trainer

Rachel is pictured holding a notebook of fieldnotes. She is wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses and is laughing with an interviewee (who is just out of frame).

Rachel is an experienced trainer, consultant and researcher. She has a Masters in Research Methods and a PhD in Development Anthropology from Durham University. She has provided training and backstopping on qualitative research to numerous programme teams and is a regular trainer on Springfield Centre’s two-week course on Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P), co-leading the popular Measurement: Information into Use elective.

She’s also a total geek for research methods and actually finds doing qualitative research FUN. Let us know if she wins you over on that one!

The pitch of the training was just perfect in terms of drawing out the less experienced folks, making them feel more confident, but plenty of good content for someone 'experienced but not professional' with regards to research methods.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

Small groups so lot of interaction, very good trainer, with great and extensive feedback on our work and questions.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

This was perfect. Not too basic/simplistic, but reviewed the key issues. The right amount of time to dig into detail when appropriate. It had the right balance of theory and practice, breakout and individual work.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

I thought it would be learning ideas or just theories but the application part of the training where we zeroed in on how we can apply this knowledge in our jobs was exceptional.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

Thank you for the interactive training, you helped me think back and look into how to apply the new knowledge I have gained in my work going forward.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

The course met my expectations especially around the process of doing QRM, the art of doing Interviews and FGD and the research plan. I also benefitted from the rich knowledge and examples shared by the facilitator and the participants.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

The course has been life-changing. I can never do QRM the same way after this course.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

I thought it would be learning ideas or just theories but the application part of the training where we zeroed in on how we can apply this knowledge in our jobs was exceptional.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

I was expecting to get practical insights on qualitative research methods, tools, experiences, and I got all of those. It was really helpful for me to understand how the qualitative research is built and functions toward the project needs.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

The way Rachel transferred the knowledge was superb, professional, practical, easy going. The atmosphere created within the group was so comfortable that the exchange was so fruitful.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021

The course materials provided were more than I expected and completely relevant to my work. The knowledge shared was both theoretical and practical and presented clearly and very enthusiastically from beginning to the end by Rachel.

Participant FeedbackApril 2021