The Art of Investigation: Qualitative Research Methods for Development

A New Online Training Course

26th – 30th April 2021 , 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.

A second session is coming!

Our first group is now confirmed, but we’ve had so much interest for our research methods course that we’re thinking of running a second session.

Dates are to be confirmed but in order to be as inclusive as possible, we’re planning to schedule this to specifically suit a North/Central/South America time zone – subject to interest.

So if this is for you, or your team, sign up now!!

Apply for This Course

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!

If you have any questions about this course or its suitability for your team, please feel free to email Rachel Shah on

Read the course brochure

Course dates

The next course will run Monday April 26th to Friday April 30th

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.

The course fee is £595 GBP per pax (plus VAT / tax where applicable).


If you would like to sign up for April’s course, click the button below to fill in the application form.

Alternatively, 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.

Apply for This CourseRegister for future courses

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!