Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


90L54609 Qualitative research: Principles and practices is intended for students of Aalto-BIZ doctoral program as an elective module of Common Core Studies. The course is designed to develop students general competences for qualitative inquiry in the field of business studies. The primary objective of the course is to develop students abilities to critically and independently evaluate and assess their own methodological choices, and thus to support their thesis work.

On completion of the course, students are expected to demonstrate that they

  • understand the basic assumptions and methodological prescriptions of contemporary approaches to qualitative research
  • know how to apply these methodological principles in research practice to define appropriate research problems and study designs for qualitative analysis
  • are able to make informed and justified methodological choices in their own research.

The learning outcomes used to determine the degree to which these goals are being met include the following:

  • Students are able to describe and explain the typical phases and methodological choices of scholarly qualitative research.
  • Students are able to use the basic research terminology and concepts of qualitative inquiry in discussing the methodology of their own research.
  • Students are able to critically analyze and evaluate the methodological rigorousness of their own work and published research contributions in their own field of scholarship.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 18.01.2021 - 15.02.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Johanna Moisander

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Johanna Moisander

Contact information for the course (valid 25.12.2020-21.12.2112):


Please note that I try to reply to all queries promptly. If you don't hear back from me within two business days, please send me a reminder!

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course introduces students with recent developments and methodological debates in the broader field of qualitative management studies. Through class meetings and independent learning assignments the course familiarizes students with the principles and practices of setting up qualitative research projects; collecting empirical materials; analyzing qualitative materials; building and elaborating theory; and writing up and publishing qualitative research contributions.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course is delivered over a period of five weeks and organized into five modules. After the last module, students are expected to work on their final course paper, which is due at the end of the term.

    Each week, students are required to work on two learning assignments on the course material. The learning assignments must be turned in according to a pre-defined schedule every Monday and Thursday to the MyCourses learning environment of the course.

    The learning assignments will be discussed in class (Zoom meeting), and each student needs to be prepared to present his/her work in class when requested by the instructor.

    The typical class session will consist of:

    • Lecture and discussion on the required readings and learning assignment
    • Group work applying the week's readings and lecture material
    • Question/answer session

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Students will be evaluated on their final course paper, which is due at the end of the study period. The final course paper will be graded on a scale of 0-5. Details on the evaluation criteria will be discussed in class.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    To complete the course students are required to do the following:

    • Attend and actively participate in all class meetings (due to COVID 19 restrictions organized as  Zoom-meetings).
    • Study the learning material specified for each class meeting and submit the assigned learning assignments twice a week according to the pre-defined schedule.
    • Write a final course paper (8-10 pages, single spaced) according to the instructions specified later.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Workload 160 h (6 cr)

    • Class meetings 20 h
    • Independent learning assignments 100 h: studying the required readings (10h / week) and completing the associated learning assignments (10 h/week)
    • Final course paper (40 h)


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Package of readings, to be announced.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    All of the course material is given in the MyCourses learning environment of the course.

    Link to the Zoom meetings will be shared on MyCourses and also sent to all the participants of the course by email.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Pre-assignment given on the MyCourses workspace of the course.

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


  • Applies in this implementation:

    All course work must be completed as scheduled in the virtual learning environment of the course and as announced in class. Exceptions will only be made in extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the instructor.

    Homework will not be accepted after the due date. Learning assignments will be submitted to the virtual learning environment of the course and the system will not allow late submission after the cut off time. Exceptions will only be made in extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the instructor.

    Aalto University considers student plagiarism a serious violation of ethical conduct. All suspected cases of plagiarism will be reported to the head of Student Services and Aalto University lawyers for disciplinary measures. Detected major offences of plagiarism may constitute grounds for exclusion from the class and possibly also from the university.


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    For details of the schedule, please see the MyCourses learning environment of the course. Please note that the course starts with a pre-assignment!