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The University of Southampton

HLTH6223 Qualitative Research Design and Methods

Module Overview

This module is designed to enable you to develop knowledge and understanding of qualitative methodology, methods, and analysis. The module is suitable for students who are planning to conduct an empirical project for their dissertation, or who work in clinical and health research settings. Learning is shared with the doctoral training programme.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes


The module will introduce the defining characteristics of qualitative research, its philosophical foundations and what it can contribute to understanding health care. A range of qualitative data collection methods will be covered and these sessions will include discussion of the credibility, dependability and transferability of qualitative research, the advantages and disadvantages of different methods, sampling, and the practical and ethical issues in using qualitative research methods in healthcare. The module will also cover data analysis. The module will draw on examples of qualitative research from the UK and international literature. Indicative content will include: 1. Understanding qualitative methodology – including epistemological and philosophical foundations, underpinning qualitative approaches 2. Formulating healthcare research questions that are appropriate to qualitative inquiry 3. Selecting appropriate qualitative methods to address research question(s) 4. Key qualitative data collection methods (e.g. Qualitative interviewing; Focus groups, Ethnography, observation and visual methods; documentary analysis) and practising interviewing techniques 5. Sampling, recruitment and practical considerations in conducting qualitative research 6. Identifying the ethical implications of specific qualitative research strategies 7. Critical appraisal: assessing quality and rigour in qualitative research (credibility, dependability and transferability) 8. Understanding the main approaches to qualitative data analysis (such as thematic analysis, constant comparison and framework), and gaining practical experience of employing these to develop interpretation/theory 9. A practical workshop using qualitative data analysis software (e.g. NVivo) 10. Techniques for presentation and writing-up findings, including considerations for publishing qualitative research

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching sessions are designed and facilitated by research active staff from across the Faculty. You will learn collaboratively and inter-professionally throughout the module. The taught sessions are shared with students from doctoral training programme. Active student participation in all learning activities of the module will be promoted so that you will assume responsibility for your own learning. A range of student-centred learning and teaching strategies will be employed that will include the use of practical workshops, interactive lectures by key experts in their field, tutor and student-led seminars, and independent supported learning. To support your learning throughout the module, material and resources and course documentation and further reading suggestions will be available via Blackboard - the University’s web-based managed learning environment. Teaching methods include: Lectures, seminar discussion following the lecture, workshops and independent study. Learning activities include: - Seminar discussions - Working in small groups to practice aspects of research e.g. formulating research questions, practising interview techniques - Practical computer workshop Formative feedback from the tutor and student peers will be a key component of the learning environment to ensure that you can move forward in your learning.

Independent Study220
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Mason, J (2002). Qualitative Researching. 

Creswell J. (2005). Qualitative inquiry & research design: choosing among five approaches. 

Silverman D (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. 

Barbour, RS (2014). Introducing qualitative research: a student's guide. 

Dezin NK; Lincoln YS. (2005). Handbook of Qualitative Research. 

Ritchie J; Lewis J (2003). Qualitative Research Practice; a Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. 

Pope C, Mays N. (2006). Qualitative Research in Health Care. 



Individual written plan


MethodPercentage contribution
Short answer questions  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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