Qualitative research can be time consuming and intensive as researchers engage in data collection, analysis, and interpretation of rich, detailed, multi-layered, and voluminous data. For Master’s level students struggling to balance full-time work, family, part-time studies, and other obligations, the nature of qualitative research can be overwhelming and discouraging as they learn about and engage in the research process. However, if students’ experiences are rich and meaningful, the time investment can be worthwhile. In this generic qualitative study, Master’s Level Education students’ experiences in an Introduction to Qualitative Research in Education course are explored. Drawing on data from semi-structured one-to-one interviews, as well as students’ written reflections from course assignments, we (i) explore the conceptual and personal challenges that students describe as they learn about and engage with qualitative research; (ii) explore students’ perceptions of class readings, activities, and assignments; and (iii) discover students’ perceptions about how class readings, activities, and assignments shape their experiences in the course. Findings suggest that although these part-time adult learners encounter difficulty in balancing their adult roles and responsibilities with the time consuming nature of the qualitative research process, they still find the course experience valuable due to the practical, experiential activities utilised; the connection of content to their professional and academic lives; and the collaborative experiences with their peers.


Qualitative Research, Education, Course Experiences

Author Bio(s)

Therese Ferguson is a Lecturer in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Qualitative Research in the School of Education (SOE) at The University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She is also the Programme Leader for Change from Within, a school-based initiative in Jamaica which addresses violence and indiscipline, and the Coordinator of the ESD Working Group within the SOE. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: therese.ferguson02@uwimona.edu.jm.

Tenesha Gordon has taught within the field of language and literature for 11 years and has also collaborated on teaching or research projects within other areas, notably Education for Sustainable Development and Classroom Assessment. Miss Gordon currently works for Education First where she teaches English as a foreign language and develops customised lesson materials for speakers of other languages.


The authors would like to acknowledge the participants of our research for taking the time to share honestly and openly about their course experiences.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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