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The University of Southampton

GERO6015 Qualitative Research Methods (DL)

Module Overview

The module is aimed at enabling you to understand the principles of qualitative methods and analysis, and equipping you to apply qualitative research methods in practice. The module assumes no previous knowledge of either NVivo or qualitative analysis software training.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand theoretical concepts in qualitative research and be able to recognise their relevance to your own research and that of others in the Social Sciences and in particular, within the field of Gerontology.
  • Demonstrate the principles of the organisation, manipulation and interpretation of qualitative data.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of important aspects of conducting qualitative research, such as ethical considerations, risk in research contexts and quality in research outcomes.
  • Apply skills in using qualitative analysis software.
  • Apply written communication skills through the interpretation of qualitative analyses and the preparation of assessed coursework.


The module will include: an introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative analysis; what is qualitative research; research ethics; documentary analysis and content analysis; qualitative interviewing; focus groups; participant observation and ethnography; participatory action research; organising, coding and analysing qualitative data; data analysis using CAQDAS (NVivo); writing up and presenting qualitative findings.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Online lectures including trigger-questions. Learning activities include: Online lectures and independent study. Using NVivo software to analyse qualitative interview data. Module resources such as audio-recording and web-casts of lectures will be available on Blackboard, including PowerPoint lecture slides, videos, readings, trigger questions, assignment details, references, online resources and module updates.

Independent Study172
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods. 

Lewis-Beck, M. S., Bryman, A. & Futing Liao, T. (Eds.) (2004). The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods. 

Silverman, D. (2013). Doing Qualitative Research. 

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C. & Ormston, R. (Eds.) (2014). Qualitative Research Practice - A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Interview Transcripts 20%
Research proposal  (500 words) 10%
Research Report  (4000 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research Report  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Accommodation and Travel

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. All students are invited to attend a 4-day online workshop focusing on Ageing in the 21st Century and on preparation for the MSc Dissertation.

Conference expenses

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees).


Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to already have access to a PC/ laptop. Students may also wish to purchase their own PC/laptop or tablet in order to access Blackboard. Distance Learning students are also expected to have access to the internet, and to bear the cost of this themselves.

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. All learning information, including the MSc Student Handbook, Module Outlines and lecture handouts, is available online through Blackboard. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.


You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.


All readings in all modules are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books, however students may prefer to buy their own copies of specific textbooks. These can be purchased from any source. Students on the modules GERO6014 and GERO6015 receive one key textbook via post. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module. Software Licenses: Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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