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Qualitative Research Methods – Fall 2022 - 5 ECTS

Date and time

Tuesday 20 September 2022 at 09:00 to Friday 23 September 2022 at 16:00

Registration Deadline

Tuesday 20 September 2022 at 09:00


Room TBA, Campus TBA, 2000 Frederiksberg Room TBA
Campus TBA
2000 Frederiksberg

Qualitative Research Methods – Fall 2022 - 5 ECTS

Event Description


Professor Torsten Ringberg, Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School.

Professor Dr. Markus Reihlen, Institute of Management and Organization, Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Course Coordinator
Professor Torsten Ringberg


This PhD seminar is for PhD students (regular and industrial) in business, organization, marketing, and management. However, students from other social science disciplines may also find this course relevant for developing a qualitative research approach. The two instructors bring with them extensive experiences with social science theories and how to extract relevant data using a range of methods, such as case-studies and semi-structured in-depth interviews. Both instructors have published in leading international academic journals.

Qualitative research is a research strategy that emphasizes large bodies of unstructured data (textual, graphical, audio, and video data) that cannot be meaningfully analyzed by formal, statistical approaches. Despite differences, qualitative research approaches share at least the following two assumptions: (1) by systematically generating and analyzing data new theory can be discovered (inductive view), and (2) this theory stresses the understanding of the socio-cultural world through an examination of interpretations of that world by its participants. Since each particular research method is informed by different philosophical traditions, this course will first introduce different philosophical perspectives ranging from positivism to interpretivism and postmodernism. Students will then be introduced to various theoretical orientations within the interpretive paradigm and how each brings along certain epistemological assumptions as to the construction of meaning and representation of reality/ies a well as require unique methodological considerations. We will cover various qualitative approaches (e.g., grounded theory, action research, case studies, ZMET) and discuss their pros and cons given your particular research question. Whereas the case studies and participant observations represent a holistic approach, the ZMET semi-structured in-depth interview surfaces subconscious mindsets (mental models) that inform and motivate consumer sensemaking related to a given topic of interest within a given group or subculture of people under study.

Qualitative methods provide the opportunity to gain new insights into exploring motivators of behavior which might lead to new theoretical insights. As part of the course students will be introduced to how to analyze the data through grounded theory (coding), which is a general method involving comparative analyses for qualitative data. The idea of the grounded theory is to code the text into meaningful themes that enable the identification of deep- seated socio-cultural models, propositions, assumptions and mid-range theories. The approach is primarily inductive, i.e., there is an interest in exploring topics pertaining to broader theoretical issues/dilemmas, but no prior hypotheses. The insights from qualitative research can, in addition to theory building, also be used to establish new hypotheses that can be tested quantitatively (surveys, experimentally etc.). As such, quantitatively oriented students might also benefit from this course.

The qualitative data analysis is supported by different software packages (e.g., NVivo, Nudist, Atlas.ti, MAXQDA). Only Atlas.ti will be covered at a more general level. It is possible to download and install a training version of the software program Atlas.ti 9.0 and Atlast.ti Cloud at a discounted rate on your laptop computer. Link: Also, you can consult online tutorials for a more detailed coverage- see below links. The course represents a doctorate workshop. Throughout the course, initiatives, creativity, and critical thinking on part of the students will be appreciated and encouraged.


Course content

This year’s (2022) course at CBS is in person, as of now. You will be notified in case we have to convert to either a hybrid or online course due to imposed Covid-19 restrictions. The course requires preparation by students before each session as well as interaction with one or two other students in preparation for the course (a small presentation on an article (also, see below). Students are encouraged to debate their particular views, methodological problems, and research issues.

In order to get a certificate with full ECTS from the Copenhagen Business School you have to pass the following five components:

1.       A short group presentation. Students will be assigned to small groups after the deadline for enrollment. Each group will prepare a presentation of one academic papers, and present it. It should include no more than five slides that concisely (and briefly) highlight:

·  the research problem,
·  theoretical positioning & contribution (i.e., the essential hook as to why it is relevant and interesting),
·  research design,
·  theoretical framework,
·  method/s,
·  key findings, key discussion issues.

2.       Each group is allotted 20 min for the online presentation, followed by 15 min discussion in plenum. Each group will need to coordinate the work between them (e.g., read, discuss, and prepare the short presentation) before the course starts, and submit it to us prior to the start of the course.

3.       A short research proposal. Here, you formulate a research problem of your choice (preferably from your own research field, and one you envision using for your PhD), its contribution (relevance), theoretical framework, and the research design (method to collect data). It should be three to five pages (single line-space). You should hand in the research proposal latest a week prior to the course start. You will present and discuss this in the course with an instructor and a smaller group of students. Within two weeks after the course ends, you submit an updated version of your proposal based on feedback from the discussion as well as general knowledge acquired during the course to the course coordinator. This will then be submitted for review to one of your fellow students (see next bullet point). 

4.       Review of another PhD student’s research proposal. In order to learn from each other you also will write a constructive review (approx. 1-2 pages long) of a fellow PhD student’s updated research proposal, and turn this in two weeks after you receive it (i.e., approx. four weeks after the course ends). We will provide additional information about how to write a constructive review.

5.       As stated up-front, we expect the course will be in person at CBS, but should it be held online due to a negative development with Covid-19, we still run the course but in an online format. Regardless the format we expect you to be present for all seminar sessions, and participate actively throughout, including discussing existing assumptions/theories/methods and presenting your own thoughts and work in class.

Teaching style

Instructors will cover core material in lectures and entice students to discuss core issues. Student will present their own as well as provide feedback to other students’ research proposals.   

Lecture plan


9.00 – 12.00                 
1. Philosophical Foundations of Social Research

  • Introductory lecture and discussion


  • Crotty, M. (1998): The foundations of social research. Meaning and perspective in the research process, Sage: London, chap. 1.
  • Cunliffe, A. L. (2011). Crafting qualitative research: Morgan and Smircich 30 years on. Organizational Research Methods, 14(4), 647-673.
  • Reihlen, M.; Klaas-Wissing, Th; Ringberg, T. (2007): Metatheories in Management Studies: Reflections upon Individualism, Holism, and Systemism, in: M@n@gement, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 49-69.

12.00-13.00  Lunch

13.00 –14.30             
2. Qualitative Research: Design and Approaches

  • Lecture and discussion

Team activity: systematic comparison/discussion of background theories.       

  • Locke, K. and Golden-Biddle, K. (2004): An introduction to qualitative research: its potential for industrial and organizational psychology, in: Handbook of research methods in industrial and organizational psychology, edited by S. G. Rogelberg, S. G., Blackwell: Oxford: 99-118.
  • Maxwell, Joseph A. (2008) Designing a Qualitative Study, in: The SAGE handbook of applied social research methods, 2, edited by Leonard Bickman and Debra J. Rog, Sage: Los Angeles, 214-253.

14.30 – 17.00  
3. Design and Method of Case Study Research

  • Lecture and discussion


  • Eisenhardt, K. und Graebner, M. E. (2007): Theory building from cases: opportunities and challenges, in: Academy of Management Journal, 50, 1: 25-32
  • Yin, K.R. (2003): Case study research: Design and Methods – Third Edition, Thousand Oaks, pp. 1-56.



9.00 – 12.00                          
4. Short group presentations of academic papers

  • Presentations and discussion of assigned academic articles Group presentations

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00 – 17.00                      
5. Cognition and mental models

6. Interviews. Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Techniques (ZMET), including laddering and mindmapping (Method)
  • Identification of codes, constructs, themes, mental models and collective mindmaps.
  • Case study MET


  • Ringberg & Reihlen (2008). “Toward a Socio-Cognitive Approach to Knowledge Transfer” in Journal of Management Studies Vol. 45 No 5, pp. 912-935
  • Ringberg, Odekerken-Schröder & Christensen (2007) “A cultural models approach to segmenting consumer recovery expectations,” in Journal of Marketing, Vol.71 (July), pp. 194-214.
  • Luna, Ringberg & Peracchio (2008), “One Individual, Two Identities: Frame Switching Among Biculturals,” in Journal of Consumer Research Vol. 35, No 2, pp. 279-293.
  • Christensen & Olson (2002) “Mapping Consumers’ Mental Models with ZMET”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol 19(6), pp 477-502.
  • Zaltman & Coulter (1995). “Seeing the voice of the customer: Metaphor-based advertising research,” Journal of Advertising Research, 35(4): 35-51.
  • Ringberg & Gupta (2003), “The Importance of Understanding the Symbolic World of Customers in Asymmetric Business-to-Business Relationships,” in Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Special Issue on Qualitative Approaches in B-2-B. Vol. 18 No 6/7. Pp. 607-626.
  • Ryden, Ringberg & Wilke, R. (2015), “The influence of Mental Models of Business- Consumer Interaction on Social Media Use” in Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 31, August, pp 1-16.
  • Ringberg, Reihlen & Rydén (2019) “The technology-mindset interactions: Leading to incremental, radical, or revolutionary innovations“ in Industrial Marketing Management Vol 79, p102-113.


9.00 – 12.00         
7.  Exercises

A) using interview protocol, (w. laddering and open-ended questions).

B) analysis of rich data based on grounded theory (codes, constructs, themes)

3. visualizing analysis in individual and collective mindmaps


  • Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A. (1990). Grounded theory research: Procedures, canons, and evaluative criteria. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 19(6), 418-427.
  • Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology. Organizational research methods, 16(1), 15-31.
  • Suddaby, R. (2006) What grounded theory is not. In: Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 633-642.

12.00-12.45 Lunch

8. How to review your field of research


  • Palmatier, R.W, M.B. Houston & J. Hulland (2018) Review articles: pupose, process, and structure, J. of the Acad. Science, 46, 1-5

 14:00 – 17.00                       
9. Presentations and discussion (incl feedback) to students’ research proposals


FRIDAY Sept 23

Working lunch during class 12.00 - 14.00                       

A) Structuring a qualitative research paper, positioning, contribution, theoretical framing and use of relevant methods including examples of use of various research approaches.
  • Narrative
  • Phenomenon-driven
  • Theory-driven
  • Exploratory
  • Mixed methods

 B) How to do a review


  • Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Sage publications, chap. 7 ->offers good examples of how to structure a research proposal
  • Alvesson, M., & Sandberg, J. (2011). Generating research questions through problematization. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 247-271.
  • MacInnis, D. J (2011) A Framework for Conceptual Contributions in Marketing. Journal of Marketing, Vol 75(July), 136-154
  • Bansal and Corley, K. (2011). From the editors: The coming of age for qualitative research, Academy of Management Journal Vol. 54, No. 2, p. 233-237
  • Ragins, B. R. (2012). Reflections on the craft of clear writing. Academy of Management Review, 37(4), 493-501.
  • Caligiuri, P & D.C. Thomas (2013) From the Editors: How to write a high-quality review. Journal of International Studies, 44, 547-553

Event Location

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Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475

Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475