MY527      Half Unit
Qualitative Research With Non-Traditional Data

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jennifer Tarr COL8.06


The course is available to PhD students in departments such as Media & Communications and Sociology. Also available where regulations permit and with permission of the teacher responsible.


Students must have completed CP-MY421, Methods of Research in Media & Communications (including Qualitative & Quantitative Analysis) (MC4M1) and Qualitative Research Methods (MY521).
Introductory course on qualitative methods (e.g. MY421, MY521 or MC4M1) as pre-requisite or co-requisite.

Course content

Most qualitative research is in the form of written or spoken texts, produced through interviews and field notes or collection and analysis of documents. Recently, qualitative researchers have become interested in ways of capturing and documenting other kinds of data and other dimensions of social life, including visual, audio, and other sensory data, space, and time. This course will examine methods for collecting and analysing data which are not primarily textual or linguistic, and how these can be integrated into qualitative research. The course will cover history, memory and longitudinal qualitative research; space and place; research in virtual environments; pre-existing and research-generated images and video; sound and audio data including music; kinaesthetic and movement data; and taste and smell as research data. The aim is to understand how qualitative methods can be applied to these data and how to address traditional methodological concerns such as rigor and representativeness in their analysis and presentation. The course is aimed at students who are considering one or more of these elements as part of their dissertation research design and/or who are interested in gaining advanced qualitative research skills. Seminars will provide practical skills through hands-on exercises in collecting and analysing non-traditional data. These develop skills for a final project of students¿ choosing which is to be submitted at the beginning of summer term.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Seminar activities will receive in-class feedback. A brief proposal for final summative coursework (c. 1000 words) should be submitted and will receive formative feedback and guidance.

Indicative reading

Note: No one text covers the whole course.

Pink, S. (2009) Doing Sensory Ethnography, London: Sage.
Bull, M. and Back, L. (eds) (2003) Auditory Culture Reader, London: Berg.

Rose, G. (2006) Visual Methodologies, 2nd ed, London: Sage.
Massey, D. (2005) For Space, London: Sage.
Adam, B. (1995) Timewatch: The Social Analysis of Time, Cambridge: Polity


Project (100%, 7000 words).

One 5500-7000 word research project related to the course material, on a topic selected by the student (100%).

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2012/13: 1

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication