GRT-40021 - Qualitative Research Methods
Lecture Time:
Level: Level 7
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

What is qualitative social research? What kinds of work do qualitative social researchers engage in, and what questions about practice and process do they ask of their own work and that of others? What are the potential impacts of qualitative social research, for instance, on the people who make the research possible and those who fund it? What tools do qualitative researchers use in their work, and what are their benefits? What does it mean to produce good quality arguments and results about pertinent questions and problems in social life, when the research conducted falls in the broad remit of qualitative social research?
This introduction to qualitative social research methods engages with questions like this through a discussion of the principles and practices of qualitative social research. The module thus engages students in a theoretical and practical manner. It delivers an overview of the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of different approaches to qualitative research. Examples of these (e.g. grounded theory, phenomenology, discourse analysis, ethnography) will be discussed in some detail, and located in the practice-based experience of expert staff members who participate in the delivery of the module. Students will examine how qualitative methodologies inform research design and explore the development of associated methods of investigations, such as interviewing, observation, and visual research. Students will explore the principles and practices of different qualitative research methods and they will participate in an introduction of NVivo; software which is used by qualitative researchers in the management and analysis of their qualitative data.
An introduction to qualitative social science research forms an essential component of a masters programme in research training in the social sciences.

The module aims to deliver a comprehensive introduction to the principles and practices of qualitative social science research. The module covers major themes in the theoretical appraisal of the broad methodological terrain of qualitative research in the social sciences. It will engage students in discussion of the different approaches in qualitative social research; qualitative research design; the development of qualitative methods of investigation; and the principles and practices associated with the generation and analysis of qualitative data.

Intended Learning Outcomes

identify appropriate evidence and to evaluate critically current research and scholarship in the social sciences to an advanced level: 1
critically distinguish between qualitative research designs and understand the conditions which make specific designs appropriate in research in the social sciences: 1
appraise scholarly evidence of qualitative research designs, the identification of and access to samples, fieldwork practices and conduct, and data management, handling and analysis: 1
communicate appropriately through use of higher level writing skills with the use of appropriate academic referencing: 1
demonstrate systematic understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of approaches at the forefront of qualitative social research and the principles of qualitative research methodologies and practices in the social sciences, and to apply these effectively in their own work:

Study hours

15 hours - lecturing and seminar work
65 hours - class preparation time
70 hours - assessment preparation time

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment