MY527      Half Unit
Qualitative Research With Non-Traditional Data

This information is for the 2017/18 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.


There are no prerequisites but some prior training in qualitative research methods is expected. Please contact the course convenor if unsure.

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. However, new technologies now offer a range of new tools for producing, gathering and analysing new kinds of data.  This course will focus on three emerging strands: digital, visual and mobile methods.  Additional sensory approaches will also be touched upon.  Throughout, the focus will predominantly be on qualitative applications of these methods.  Key example readings will be assigned, discussed and assessed each week.  Seminars provide practical skills through hands on exercises of data collection and analysis, closely tied with the lecture content.  These skills will be developed further in a final research project on a topic of the students’ choosing to be submitted at the beginning of summer term.

The course aims to understand how qualitative methods can be used in relation to these emerging streams of data. .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 more advanced skills in qualitative research.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Week 6 will be a Reading Week during which students work independently on their formative assignment. An optional enrichment activity may be assigned.

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.

Büscher M, Urry J, Witchger K (2011) Mobile Methods. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Rose, G, 2016. Visual methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials. London: Sage.

Rogers, R, 2013. Digital methods. Boston: MIT press.

Pink, S, Horst H, Postill J, Hjorth L, Lewis T, Tacchi J. (2016) Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice. London: Sage.

Pink, S. (2009) Doing Sensory Ethnography, London: Sage.


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 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