Not available in 2015/16
MY427      Half Unit
Qualitative Research with Non-Traditional Data

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jennifer Tarr COL8.06


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Research) and MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is also available to PhD students, please see MY527.


Introductory course on qualitative methods (e.g. MY421 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. 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.   Lectures will cover key topics such as time and memory; space, place and mobile methods; digital research and online environments; and using visual, audio and other sensory data.  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 small 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 applied to non-traditional data and how to address traditional methodological concerns such as rigour and representativeness. 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 9 hours of seminars in the LT.

Week 6 will be a Reading Week during which students work independently on their formative assignment.

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%, 4000 words) in the ST.

One 4000-4500 word research project related to the course material, on a topic selected by the student (100%).

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2014/15: 7

Average class size 2014/15: 2

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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