Not available in 2018/19
MY427      Half Unit
Qualitative Research with Non-Traditional Data

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jennifer Tarr COL8.06


This course is available on the MSc in Applied Social Data Science, 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 Marketing 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.


There are no prerequisites but some prior training in qualitative research methods is expected, equivalent to the level of MY421. 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 primarily on digital and visual methods and how they are reshaping qualitative research. Topics will include mobile methods, social network analysis; social media; emojis, memes and gifs; photo elicitation; video; and visual analysis. 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 will 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.



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 2017/18: 33

Average class size 2017/18: 11

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Lecture capture used 2017/18: 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