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Qualitative Social Research Methods


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Laura Richards-Gray
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay (90%) and two online quizzes (10%)

Module description

On this module, you will learn a range of qualitative research methods and gain other skills needed to undertake independent qualitative research, both inside and outside of academia. You will be introduced to the main qualitative research methods used in social science research, including depth interviews, focus groups, ethnography, document analysis and discourse analysis.

Indicative syllabus

  • Why do qualitative research?
  • Designing qualitative research
  • Depth interviews
  • Focus groups and workshops
  • Observation and ethnography
  • Document analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Case studies
  • Analysing and writing up qualitative data
  • Qualitative data analysis software

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be aware of a wide range of research methods available to qualitative researchers
  • be able to critically reflect on different qualitative research methods, and assess which may be most appropriate for particular research puzzles or questions
  • be aware of common methodological and practical issues related to qualitative research, and how to address these
  • be able to perform qualitative data collection in a variety of settings in an intelligent and thoughtful manner 
  • understand approaches to the analysis and reporting of qualitative data
  • be able to synthesise a variety of materials across primary and secondary texts to explain and support your own arguments concerning key issues in qualitative research
  • have developed skills of critical thinking, enquiry, synthesis, analysis and evaluation.