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Qualitative Methods in Health Systems Research (QHSR)

If you are a health professional working in a health system or health-related area (research, management, service delivery, or policy/planning) and looking to gain experience in all steps of the qualitative research process applied to health systems at various levels (including healthcare delivery, health management, policymaking, etc.), this course is intended for you.

3 weeks
Course Period
from 06/01/2025 until 24/01/2025
KIT Amsterdam


During the last decades, considerable developments have been made in the approaches and methods used in research to support health development. Research methodologies such as action and participatory research focus on processes that make research more user-friendly and relevant to clients, health providers, and policymakers. Alongside the development of more action-oriented approaches to research, the integration of qualitative research methodologies has become increasingly important to support health development.

The emphasis in qualitative and participatory research is on generating knowledge, decisions, and interventions from the perspectives of researchers and the research. Involvement of patients, community groups, grassroots workers, managers and policymakers helps to identify local needs and priorities, place issues in the context of people’s lives and give direction to programme development and service provision. Within health systems, specific attention is paid to the issues regarding equity, including gender. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is often used to inform disease control strategies, plan, develop and evaluate health promotion strategies, and identify and develop problem-solving strategies to address health systems challenges. Health programme managers must be able to use the full range of research approaches and methods available, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and know why and when to use these different approaches and methods.

This course focuses on the use of qualitative research methods within health systems research. You will gain experience in each step of the research process through the development of your own research proposal, practical exercises, and appraising a research proposal. Attention is also paid to enhancing the use of research results by policymakers, managers, healthcare providers, civil society, and clients.

Learning methods

This course is based on interactive plenary sessions, individual assignments, tutoring sessions, and group exercises.
Course activities are designed to give practical applicability using a multidisciplinary approach and an interactive, participatory method.
You have the opportunity to share and learn from hands-on experiences.

We will use KIT Virtual Grounds (Moodle platform) to exchange material, provide support, and communicate with participants. You should ensure a suitable working device is brought to sessions.

For participants who wish to be examined and receive a certificate of completion, there will be an individual assignment to develop a qualitative research proposal on a public health issue in a low- or middle-income country and a group assignment to assess a qualitative research proposal critically.

More on our learning methods:

This course is tropEd accredited and can be followed as a stand-alone course or as part of the current Master in International Health or Master in Public Health and Health Equity.


At the end of this course participants will be able to:

Course content

The following subjects are covered during the course:

Before this MPH/ICHD course I have never written a study proposal. This module helped me to search for the real problem and solutions instead of hours of discussions with my colleagues where everyone was given his own beliefs, vision, solution, reality and so on. At this moment I am a policy advisor I have proposed more than once to do a ‘proper’ study in the way I have learned at KIT.
A former master student, Fried Lammerink Fried Lammerink


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Admission criteria

  • Academic training or a professional qualification in a relevant field
  • Work experience in a health related area, including experience in research, management or planning in developing countries
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Computer literacy is essential: we use a virtual learning platform and digital tools in our education and assignments

Application procedure

The application package is due two months before the start of the course.

Please upload your application online. The following documents should be uploaded:

  • A one-page letter of motivation
  • Copies of your diplomas and grade reports (academic transcripts)
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable

What we expect from your motivation letter:

Please indicate in your motivation letter why you want to follow this specific course, why you want to follow the course at KIT Amsterdam, what do you expect to learn and how you will apply your newly gained competencies from the course in your work, what kind of benefits will it bring to your future career, etc. Describe a relevant problem you have experienced in the last two years that you would like to discuss during this specific course. Your motivation should be about ½-1 page. Please do not repeat your CV again.

This course is tropEd accredited and can be followed as a stand-alone course or as part of the current Master in International Health or Master in Public Health and Health Equity.

FAQ Online Application System

Do you have a question about our Online Application System? Then you can find the answer in our FAQ Online Application System:

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Ready to apply for this course?

At KIT I was particularly impressed about the course content, the teaching staff composed of world class public health experts and leading academics and researchers, as well as the support staff whose teaching, guidance and administrative support combined to improve my academic orientation and shape my thoughts about public health and its practice.
A former master student, Francis Andoh Adjei Francis-Xavier Andoh-Adjei from Ghana, MPH/ICHD 2010 Now working as deputy director for planning, monitoring & evaluation and international relations at the national health insurance authority in Ghana. Her is enrolled at Radboud University Medical Centre-Nijmegen as PhD researcher in health systems and policy.

Practical information


Classes are held at KIT’s training facilities in Amsterdam.


There is a severe shortage of student accommodation in Amsterdam and participants are advised to contact KIT for information. KIT will endeavour to assist participants in their search for housing.

Visa requirements

Citizens of most EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Visit the Nuffic website for the latest information on visa requirements.

Participants from other countries must obtain a short-stay visa (for up to three months) through the Netherlands embassy or consulate covering the applicant’s country. Applicants will need a letter of admission to the course and proof of sponsorship or sufficient funds to cover the course fee, travel and accommodation costs. Applicants should take into account that in some countries this procedure can take several months.

European Credit

The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates the transfer of course credits between different institutions of the same academic level. A course comprising 28 hours of formal teaching and private study is equivalent to one EC credit point.

Insurance requirements

Course participants and accompanying dependents are required by Dutch law to have health, accident and third party insurance. Unless their current insurance policy covers their stay abroad, participants must insure themselves and their dependents in the Netherlands. Dutch insurance companies offer reasonable rates to foreign students. KIT can assist with arranging insurance.


This course is also accredited for the Master of Science in Public Health and Health Equity, organised by KIT Institute and tropEd, a network of European institutions for higher education in international health.

In our time, organizations and technology are evolving so rapidly that health care professionals must continually seek new skills and perspectives that enable them not only to respond to change, but also to anticipate it. And this is exactly what we were trained in KIT. Besides these academic competencies that are making a lot of difference in what I do now, staying and studying in Amsterdam also had positive effects in many ways; the principles of “equal opportunity for all people, irrespective of gender, age, race or religion” were visible in all aspects of the Dutch life.


The arrangement of financial support to cover all study costs is the responsibility of the applicant. KIT does not offer financial support or scholarships.

Scholarship information

Discounts and Fees

We offer discounts for alumni and groups for this course. See below the discounts and fees the course Qualitative Methods in Health Systems Research. See for more information about our discounts for groups and other short courses on our exclusive discount page.

Exclusive Discounts for our study programmes
Regular course fee €2.640,- Start date:
Alumni discount €2.112,-
tropEd fee €2.346,-

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Ready to apply for this course?

Coordinators and Support

Why Study at KIT Institute?

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  • Up-to-date approach to complex public health issues
  • Practice-oriented
  • Exchange between disciplines
  • Interactive Education
  • Development of personal and professional competencies
  • Network building
  • Participants from diverse backgrounds and countries
  • Personal tutoring
  • Teaching by highly qualified specialists
  • Positively reviewed by tropEd
  • KIT: international centre of excellence in international health and development
  • Accredited by NVAO

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