Using Screencasts in Teaching Qualitative Research

In the final course of the graduate Interdisciplinary Certificate in Qualitative Studies program at the University of Georgia, students learn about best practices for teaching qualitative research. One of the assignments is for students to teach a qualitative research concept of their choice by creating a screencast that could be integrated into a larger lesson or class session. In this post, I include two examples of these sorts of screencasts, which you could use in your teaching. Alternatively, you might ask your students to create their own screencast to teach a concept to their classmates. In my experience as a teacher, engaging students in teaching concepts to their peers is a very effective way for ensuring that they understand concepts. In the examples below, you will see explanations for how a teacher might make use of the screencast in qualitative coursework.

The first example was created by Beth Woods, a doctoral candidate in the Learning, Design & Technology program.

Preparing for focus groups

This lesson plan falls near the end of the semester prior to students conducting their focus group interviews. Leading up to this lesson, students will have covered topics related to user interface design, user experience, approaches to qualitative research, focus group data collection techniques, developing interview protocols, and strategies for moderating focus group interviews. This lesson is intended to provide guidance and practice opportunities (formative assessment) for students preparing for their focus group interviews. Following this lesson, small groups will revise their focus group interview planning document and conduct focus group interviews. The focus group interviews serve as their final project, and teams will submit a report and individual reflections for their summative assessment.

The second example was created by Kate Guthrie, a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology’s Gifted & Creative Education program.

An introduction to categorical thinking

My screencast concept lesson titled An Introduction to Categorical Thinking will be required by students to view prior to attending the class session focusing on an introduction to qualitative analysis. By watching the screencast concept lesson prior to class, I aim to introduce the framework of categorical thinking and deductive and inductive approaches to categorizing. This will help prepare students for an in-class activity in which students will sort units of data into categories, name or label the categories, and operationalize each category as a method of conceptualizing the data. Prior to the activity, the instructor lead Concept Overview phase of the in-class lesson will review categorical thinking and provide more step-by-step approaches to creating and operationalizing “buckets” (see Galman, 2016).

Galman, S.C. (2013). The good, the bad, and the data. Shane the lone ethnographer’s basic guide to qualitative data analysis. London & New York: Routledge.


If you have not tried making a screencast to use in your teaching, the free tool, Screen-cast-o-matic is a good place to start. There are numerous tools (including Screenflow and Camtasia) to make screencasts, and it is useful to try out the free versions before deciding on the tool you would like to use. There are numerous screencasts that will help you with the technical aspects as well.


Kathy Roulston 

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