Qualitative Methods in Global Infectious Diseases Research


A course focused on the principles and rigorous application of qualitative methods in formative, operational, evaluation and policy research in infectious disease in diverse global settings.





Course Directors

Amrita Daftary, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Global Health
School of Health Policy & Management
Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research
York University, Toronto, Canada


Nora Engel, PhD
Associate Professor Global Health, Department of Health,
Ethics and Society/ CAPHRI, Faculty of Health,
Medicine and Life Sciences
Maastricht University, Netherlands


Course Faculty

Amrita Daftary, PhD, MPH – York University
Nora Engel, PhD – Maastricht University
Jennifer Furin, MD, PhD – Harvard University
Joanne Mantell, PhD – Columbia University
Andy McDowell, PhD – Tulane University


Previous Guest Speakers

Jeremiah Chikovore, PhD – Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Matthew Hunt, PhD, PT – McGill University, Canada
Tahiya Mahbub, PhD – Médicines Sans Frontièrs, India
Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD – McGill University, Canada
Boitumelo Seepamore, PhD – University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Guest speakers are still being confirmed and there may be changes to the above list.



Qualitative methods can assess the social and behavioural contexts, and the complex determinants, impacts and outcomes of illness and disease control efforts, including public health programs, policies, and technologies. There is growing interest to integrate qualitative methods into traditional operational and biomedical research to understand challenges to healthcare seeking behaviour and healthcare service delivery, and to better understand how and why some interventions and technologies are successfully (or less successfully) implemented and utilized. This course will build participants’ research literacy to use qualitative methods to inform, innovate, contextualize, evaluate, and strengthen the delivery and utilization of healthcare services and technologies for infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, HIV) in lower-and middle-income settings.

The course utilizes case studies and practical exercises to engage learners in the following topics in qualitative research:

1. Study designs and methodologies
2. Theoretical frameworks
3. Focus groups, observation and interviews: designs, skills and implementation
4. Approaches and methods for analysis
5. Multiple methods: integrating and sequencing qualitative and quantitative methods
6. Sampling and participant recruitment
7. Data management and storage
8. Ethics and evaluation criteria
9. Dissemination

The course includes didactic expert lectures on qualitative study design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination, interactive group exercises to apply and practice the lessons learned, as well as short topical presentations and/or panel discussions. The 2021 virtual course will have synchronous (live) and asynchronous sessions.


Course Objective

To be introduced to the principles and methods of qualitative research.


Target audience

  • Persons with a strong interest in qualitative and mixed methods, and little/no prior experience
  • Persons involved in infectious disease control programs, including program managers, innovators, and M&E officers
  • Junior faculty, doctoral and postdoctoral fellows engaged in global health research
  • Clinical researchers and residents working internationally
  • Research staff, including study coordinators, with an interest in international work
  • Representatives of funding and/or advocacy bodies, grant reviewers