MY521      Half Unit
Qualitative Research Methods

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Flora Cornish COL8.09 and Dr Alasdair Jones COL8.12


The course is available to all research students.

Course content

This course presents the fundamentals of qualitative research methods. It prepares students to design, carry out, report, read and evaluate qualitative research projects. Students learn how to collect data using methods including interviewing, focus groups, participant observation, and documentary and historical work. The challenges and opportunities of new media including visual images and Internet research are discussed. We then cover analysis, using thematic, content, discourse, and semiotic analysis. Issues of research design, quality indicators, epistemology and ethics are addressed. The course has the dual aims of equipping students with conceptual understandings of current academic debates regarding qualitative methods, and with practical skills to put those methods into practice.


In seminars, research students gain experience of putting a range of data collection and analysis methods into practice, on topics within, or closely related to, their substantive area of research. A workbook details the seminar activities - and provides the guidance and basis for the formative and summative assignments.


15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

The course runs twice per year: in MT and again in LT. The content of the course is exactly the same in each term. Week 6 is a Reading Week, during which students work independently on their formative assignments.

Formative coursework

Students submit a portion of their practical work, with some written commentary, for formative assessment.

Indicative reading

M Bauer; G Gaskell, (2000). Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound, London: Sage; U Flick, (2009). An Introduction to Qualitative Research, 4th edition, London: Sage; C Seale, G Gobo, JF Gubrium, & D Silverman, (2004). Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage. Please Note: No single publication covers the whole content of the course.


Project (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

One final written project of 4000-5000 words, based on seminar exercises (100%). It takes the form of a research project report, with detailed appendices documenting the methods used.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 50%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)