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The aim of this article is to discuss an approach to deliver a component on qualitative research on a research methods module in a postgraduate diploma in third level learning and teaching using problem-based learning (PBL). The Diploma in Third Level Learning and Teaching is on offer to a variety of academic staff (lecturers) in higher education at a higher education institute in Ireland, hereafter referred to as participants. The 10-week Research Methods module is one of eight offered on the Postgraduate Diploma, all designed and delivered using the pedagogic strategy of PBL. The entire Postgraduate Diploma is voluntary, and only lecturers who are keen to implement novel pedagogical approaches in their own subject disciplines apply for a place on the modules. However, the key to the participants’ success is by using the principles of PBL to share and discuss valuable information with their colleagues in a variety of other disciplines. The opportunity is being given to enhance group learning in a real-life multidisciplinary learning environment. The objective of this module was to explore qualitative research methods and their distinctive value as an educational research approach. The learning issues established in the PBL group focused on the relationship between the actual real-life authentic problem, the theoretical underpinning and epistemology associated with a qualitative research approach.
Donnelly, R.: Using Problem-Based Learning to Explore Qualitative Research. European Research Journal, Vol. 2, 2, 2003, pp. 309-321.