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SP20062: Qualitative social research methods

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (100%) (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
SP20062A - Supplementary (100%) (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take SP10059
Aims: 1. To give students a critical overview of qualitative research methods
2. To give students a chance to apply their knowledge of qualitative methods by carrying out a qualitative research project

Learning Outcomes: By the end of the unit students should be able to:
* Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative methods
* Design and complete a qualitative research project
* Reflect on their experience of doing qualitative research and make suggestions for how their research skills might be improved

Skills: Intellectual skills
* To think creatively and analytically.
* To communicate an argument.
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information.
* To gather information, data, research and literature from a number of different sources (i.e. library, web-based, archives etc.).
* To select appropriate and relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge.
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding.
* To utilise problem solving skills.
Professional Practical Skills
* To develop sensitivity to the values and interests of others.
Transferable/Key Skills
* Inter-personal and communication skills
* Essay research, preparation and writing skills
* To construct a bibliography of varying complexity
* Time-management and administrative skills
* Team and group working skills
* To reflect upon his/her own academic and professional performance and take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development.
* To solve problems in a variety of situations.
* To manage time effectively and respond to changing demands.
* To prioritise workloads, and utilise long- and short-term planning skills.

Content: The unit will cover: conceptual frameworks, research questions, research aims and objectives; ethics, sampling and fieldwork methods; reflective methods; interviewing techniques and practicalities; focus group techniques and practicalities, participant observation techniques and practicalities; data analysis and writing up.

Programme availability:

SP20062 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB22 : BSc(Hons) Criminology (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB22 : BSc(Hons) Criminology with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 2)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 2)


  • 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.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.