You need to plan and conduct one interview with a key informant from whom you can gather…

Portfolio guidelines

The main part of the portfolio which students should prepare for this course consists of a qualitative

case study.

To produce the qualitative case study, students should first clarify (in a form of an abstract) the

dimensions of their PhD research, that is – to state the problem they wish to explore, the purpose of

their research, and the methodology they intend to apply. Next, students should select a person, a single

institution or company, or a particular policy to be their case, i.e. unit of analysis; this case should

correspond to the student’s PhD research purpose and question(s). Then, students need to conduct one

observation of the selected unit of analysis (i.e. the case). In addition, students need to conduct an

interview with a key informant relevant to the selected case. In other words, the observation report and

the interview transcript (along with other gathered documents relevant to the case) should serve as

bases for the writing of the qualitative case study.

Eventually, students should submit by email four documents:

1. Abstract of your PhD research (300-400 words).

Your abstract should include background of the problem, purpose statement, research question(s),

clarification of the methods and techniques you intend to use, as well as a brief mention of the

expected findings of your research. To find out more about writing abstracts, please see the

document entitled ‘How to write an abstract’ which is available from the student platform Moodle.

Also, please consider the examples of purpose statement given in the textbook (see Merriam, pp.

62-63). Do not forget to add an appropriate title to your research. To learn more about titles, please

see the document entitled ‘How to write a great title’ which is available from the student platform

Moodle.

2. Written transcript of an interview (1000-2000 words).

You need to plan and conduct one interview with a key informant from whom you can gather

relevant data that will help you to write the case study. Make sure you use open-ended questions in

order to gather sufficient information about the person’s direct experience and views about the

problem so that you can write the case study in a form of a convincing narrative. The content of the

recorded interview should be transcribed according to the model given in the textbook (see

Merriam, pp. 111-113).

3. Observation report (field note) (1000-2000 words).

You need to plan and carry out one observation of the selected unit of analysis (i.e. the case). This

could be a systematic, planned observation during a field visit to a site and situation relevant to your

chosen case. You need to produce a field report, i.e. an observation note/report according to the

model given in the textbook (see Merriam, pp. 132-135). Your observation comments should be

added in the note either within the text (in brackets) or on the right hand margins.

4. Case study (2000-4000 words).

The case study should be written as a report in a narrative form, and it should include rich, ‘thick’

descriptive parts. Besides an effective introduction, you should provide some background of the

problem; indicate your intentions and methodology; provide description of the findings; and offer

conclusions. Also, do not forget to add in Appendix the inventory of all the documents used while

preparing the case study. You may wish to follow the outline of a case study report which is given as

an example in the textbook (see Merriam, p. 263). Do not forget that qualitative research is about

people’s interpretation of the phenomenon that you investigate, so presenting their personal story

in the narrative report is essential to making a convincing case.

Studying the chapters from the main textbook (especially chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 in Merriam, 2009)

may appear essential to writing a successful portfolio. Indeed, further useful information can be found in

the other textbooks which are available from the student platform Moodle.

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