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.


Upon completion of the course, students will gain

1.Understanding the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research

2.Ability to formulate appropriate research questions for qualitative research

3.Experience in qualitative data gathering 

4.Experience in analysis of qualitative data

5.Understanding of evaluative criteria for qualitative research

6.Experience in writing qualitative research reports

Credits: 6

Schedule: 02.09.2024 - 10.10.2024

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tatsiana Padhaiskaya

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Dr. Tatsiana Padhaiskaya, University Lecturer in Marketing

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    During the course students will gain understanding of the fundamentals of qualitative research, from formulating questions and selecting suitable contexts to gathering data and reporting findings. The course combines theoretical content with practical application; students will carry out a full research project on their own topic, which will lay a groundwork for their thesis and also attend lectures and read relevant literature. 

  • applies in this implementation

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Assignments given by instructor, active participation in class

  • applies in this implementation

    Assessment Methods and Criteria

    Grading is based on a 0-5 scale. 

    90-100 points = 5         

    80-89 points = 4         

    70-79 points = 3         

    60-69 points = 2         

    50-59 points = 1         

    Below 50 points = Fail


    The assessment will be based on the following deliverables:

    • Perusall readings - max. 20 points (10 x 2 points)
    • Assignment 1: Research context and question(s) – max. 8 points
    • Assignment 2: Interview outline – max. 10 points
    • Assignment 3: Interview transcript – max. 8 points
    • Assignment 4: Ethnography/netnography – max. 10 points
    • Assignment 5: Data analysis – max. 8 points
    • Poster – max. 6 points
    • Assignment 6: Final research report – max. 20 points
    • Active participation in class – max. 10 points

    (Please note that meaningful, active participation requires more than mere attendance in class. Participation in class means commenting, asking questions, and taking an active role in any possible class activities.)

    Also, completing the feedback survey at the end of the course earns you 2 extra points towards your final grade.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    6 credits, 160 hours:
    - Contact sessions (24 hours)
    - Independent learning and course assignments (136 hours)

  • applies in this implementation

    Workload (6 credits, 160 hours): 

    Here is the expected breakdown of the hourly course workload, based on the instructor's estimate:

    • Lectures: 24h
    • Perusall readings: 20h
    • Assignment 1: Research context and question(s) 8h
    • Assignment 2: Interview outline 10h
    • Assignment 3: Interview and interview transcript 10h
    • Assignment 4: Ethnography/netnography 25h
    • Assignment 5: Data analysis 20h
    • Poster: 3h
    • Assignment 6: Final research report 40h


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Readings assigned by the lecturer (compulsory).

  • applies in this implementation

    Lecture slides and assigned readings. Course materials include 10 mandatory as well as some recommended readings.

Substitutes for Courses


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Language: English

    Teaching Period: 2024-2025 Autumn I
    2024-2025 Spring III
    2025-2026 Autumn I
    2025-2026 Spring III


    The course is mainly intended for students who are beginning their Master's thesis seminar, as all assignments are done about students' own topics. The course should be taken when the student has enrolled for the thesis seminar or will enroll in the next period. One may take the course before that but it is not recommended.


    The number of students admitted to the course is restricted to 60. Priority is given to Aalto students studying in MSc Program of Marketing.

  • applies in this implementation

    Course policies and ethical rules

    Communication policy

    All "official" course communication from the instructor will take place through Announcements on MyCourses. Anything posted in that forum will be forwarded to your Aalto email, so please make sure you check it periodically.

    Please use the Discussion forum if you have any questions or feedback regarding course topics, lectures, materials, assignments, etc.

    Classroom policy

    Attendance is not compulsory, but active participation in class makes up 10% of the full grade.

    To ensure a pleasant working environment:

    • Please arrive on time.
    • Please come in prepared.
    • Please keep cell phones on silence or vibrate.
    • Please be active! Ask questions and give your opinions. All ideas are welcome in the classroom and are open to debate.
    • Please remember to express your ideas in a way that is respectful to others

    Course delivery policy

    All course deliverables are submitted via MyCourses. All deadlines are firm and depending on how late the students submitted their work, this can incur a point penalty. Submissions that are later than 24 hours will not be graded at all. Submissions will be submitted to Turnitin evaluation for plagiarism checks if the instructor sees it necessary.

    (If there is something that is preventing you from submitting on time (i.e., an acute illness), please inform me as soon as possible.)


    Ethical rules

    Please refer to Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity:


    AI policy

    The school official AI policy offers very broad guidelines on how to responsibly and ethically utilize AI tools in learning (please see

    In this class, the AI policy is a bit more specific.

    Acceptable use includes (adapted from Temple University policies):

    • Brainstorming ideas
    • Fine-tuning research questions
    • Finding information on your topic
    • Drafting an outline to organize your thoughts
    • Checking grammar and style.


    Unacceptable use includes:

    • Writing a draft of a writing assignment.
    • Writing entire sentences, paragraphs, or papers to complete class assignments.


    Note that while text-generative AI can produce very competent-looking text, it is not always factual, so you need to check any information it generates. AI is also not a scientific source, you need to find appropriate citations yourself. If you utilize AI in any of the assignments, you must disclose that in an appendix: which tool(s) was used, how it was used, and why was it used.

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    Timetable and Course Topics





    Session 1:

    Introduction and Course Practicalities, What is Qualitative Research?


    12.15 – 14.00

    No readings assigned

    Session 2:

    Qualitative research in marketing


    12.15 – 14.00


    Room T003!

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 1, Introduction

    Session 3: Planning a research project


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 2, Getting started

    Session 4: Doing interviews


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 3, Interviewing

    Session 5:



    12.15 – 14.00


    Zoom session!

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 5, Netnography

    Session 6: Ethnography


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 4, Ethnography

    Session 7: Data Analysis I


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 6, Data Collection aids

    Session 8: Data Analysis II


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 7, Approaches to data analysis

    Session 9: Theorizing and assessment


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk and Sobh (2019) No assemblage required

    Session 10: Qualitative research for managers


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 8, Analysis for managers

    Session 11: Writing and presenting


    12.15 – 14.00

    Belk et al. (2012): Chapter 9, Presenting

    Session 12: Poster session


    12.15 – 14.00

    Room V001!

    No readings assigned