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Qualitative Research Methods


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Richard Tacon
  • Assessment: a 5000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module focuses on qualitative research methods in the area of organisation and management studies. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of the key debates and central issues in qualitative research methods, as well as practical skills for conducting qualitative research. Each session will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different research approaches and techniques.

The key themes explored in the lectures are:

  • the principles of qualitative research
  • ways of developing research questions
  • the strengths and weaknesses of different research approaches, including phenomenology, case studies, ethnography, discourse analysis and grounded theory
  • the strengths and weaknesses of different data collection techniques, including interviews, observation and documentary analysis
  • the principles of data analysis
  • the strengths and weaknesses of different data analysis techniques
  • ways of synthesising and writing up qualitative research
  • judging the quality of qualitative research
  • practical skills for all of the above.

Throughout the module, we will also work on a collective class project. This collective class project will provide the opportunity to experience the research process first-hand, from initial scoping, critical analysis of existing research and question development, through data collection and analysis, to synthesising and writing up.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • identify your research needs, develop appropriate research designs and justify your methodological choices
  • interpret and critically assess published research
  • use appropriate techniques and tools for data collection and analysis
  • appreciate the merits and limitations of alternative methods and techniques
  • manage the complexity and ambiguity that accompanies the qualitative research process.