Not available in 2020/21
MY527      Half Unit
Qualitative Research with Digital and Visual Data

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jennifer Tarr COL8.06


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography, MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development, MPhil/PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies and MPhil/PhD in Regional and Urban Planning Studies. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

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 required, to the equivalent 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.

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%, 7000 words).

One 5500-7000 word research project related to the course material, on a topic selected by the student (100%).

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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