MY521      Half Unit
Qualitative Research Methods

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Eleanor Knott (MT) and Dr Flora Cornish, COL.8.09 (LT)


The course is available to all research students.

Course content

This course presents the fundamentals of qualitative research methods. 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. It prepares students to design, carry out, report, read and evaluate qualitative research projects. First, students learn how to collect data using methods including interviews, focus groups participant observation, and selecting documents and new media data.. Second, we cover analysis, using thematic, content, and discourse analysis. Issues of research design, quality indicators, epistemology and ethics are addressed.

This is a generalist, introductory course and we invite students who have little previous experience of qualitative methods. Students with prior training in qualitative methods might be interested in more specialist alternatives offered by the Department of Methodology, such as MY526 Doing Ethnography, MY527 Qualitative Research with Non-Traditional Data, or MY528 Qualitative Text Analysis. Lectures introduce the main conceptual and practical issues. Seminars provide practical experience with the methods.


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 in Week 7.

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 of data collection and analysis used.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: 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

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 83%



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