Qualitative Fieldwork

Short description

This concise course is designed to support PhD researchers in preparing upcoming qualitative fieldwork. The course will run in three two-hour sessions.

We will introduce and discuss
1) fieldwork organisation
2) qualitative interviews
3) one additional qualitative method, depending on PhD researchers’ interests and needs.

The instructor could offer case selection, qualitative comparison, or process tracing. Each two-hour session will be followed by an additional hour to discuss researchers’ specific questions related to their PhD project. Depending on interest, this could be run as an office hour or take the form of additional group discussion.

Target group

All PhD researchers who employ qualitative methodology and methods.



Each session combines the study of key readings in the field with the discussion of researchers’ concrete questions in the run-up to fieldwork. The suggested readings must be done in advance and researchers should prepare targeted questions to optimise collective learning. The first session will put a focus on how to time a trip, how to access potential interviewees and how to handle ethics questions ahead of upcoming interviews or archival work. The second session will zoom into different forms of qualitative interviews and discuss how to access interviewees, how to construct interview questions and how to analyse interview material (recorded or non-recorded). The third session will be tailored to researchers’ interests and needs. In terms of methods, the instructor could offer case selection, qualitative comparison, or process tracing.



  • Christine Reh is Professor of European Politics at the Hertie School. From September 2018 to March 2022, she served as Dean of Graduate Programmes. Her work focuses on the European Union’s institutions, politics and legitimacy, with a particular interest in decision-making processes, informal governance and politicisation. Her current research explores the impact of national (electoral) politics on supranational actors and law-making. She previously held academic positions at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium) and at University College London, where she maintains an affiliation with the Department of Political Science. She is also an editorial board member of the Journal of European Public Policy. Reh received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) in 2007.