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XX50136: Qualitative methods 1

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (units for MRes programmes)
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (Critical Eval of Research) (ES 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: To equip students with an understanding of the rationale for and appropriate use of qualitative methods in social research, and the skills to conduct qualitative research.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and Understanding:
* Appreciate the rationale for when to use qualitative methods, and where relevant the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods;
* Understand the epistemological assumptions that underpin qualitative methodology. Intellectual skills:
* Be able to define researchable problems using qualitative methods;
* Be able to select appropriate qualitative methods for research questions;
* Understand how issues of measurement, validity, reliability and replicability are addressed within qualitative methods;
* Be able to conduct research using qualitative methods, including the use of recording techniques;
* Know how to approach the analysis of qualitative data;
* Recognise how tools for research are developed in response to a particular research question;
* Recognise the cultural context of the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of qualitative material and the implications of this for formulating research designs.

Skills: See above.

Content: The unit will comprise 1. Core lectures on issues in qualitative research, such as the epistemological underpinnings of qualitative approaches, hermeneutic and semiotic questions, and key questions of context and culture. 2. Lectures that combine traditional lecturing with workshop activities to provide theoretical understanding and practical experience of methods of qualitative research in terms of collecting and eliciting data, and observational and textual data analysis: interviewing, focus groups, ethnography, participatory research, action research, grounded theory and discourse analysis. 3. Introduction to computer aided qualitative analysis using Nvivo. 4. Seminars in which students discuss set articles related to each lecture topic. MRes students only.

Programme availability:

XX50136 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Education Department for Health Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • THXX-AFM50 : MRes Politics & International Studies
  • THXX-AFM51 : MRes Politics & International Studies (Leading to PhD)
Department of Psychology Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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