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The University of Southampton

RESM6303 Qualitative Methods 1

Module Overview

The students will be introduced to qualitative interviewing, focus group research, observational methods and secondary data analysis. These sessions will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of those methods considering various practical and ethical issues from a multidisciplinary perspective as well as issues of sampling. This will be followed by a session on organising and coding data. Students will also participate in workshops.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Aims: To introduce students to Postgraduate level qualitative methods approaches in Social Sciences.

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Make informed decisions about choosing and using appropriate qualitative data collection and analysis methods
  • Write up an evaluation of the methods and methodology employed within a published piece of qualitative research
  • Effectively read and summarise literature on qualitative research methods to construct arguments about their value and application
  • Use CAQDAS to code qualitative data
  • Contribute to discussions within seminars
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the defining characteristics of key qualitative research methods and have an overview of various types of data collection
  • Appreciate epistemological and ethical issues involved in qualitative research
  • Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of specific methods.
  • Understand the principles of Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS)


The syllabus for this module will cover an introduction to qualitative methods and a range of qualitative data collection methods. We will consider the defining characteristics of qualitative research and its epistemological underpinnings. Indicative Syllabus: 1. Course overview and introduction to qualitative methods 2. Qualitative interviewing 3. Focus groups 4. Observational methods 5. Secondary data analysis: documents and archives 6. Organising and Coding Data

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered using a ‘hub’ and ‘spoke’ model: at the ‘hub’, there will be generic, multidisciplinary lectures, given by an expert in the field and designed to give students a good introduction to the method/topic. These will be followed by seminars organised in ‘spokes’ which will comprise individual pathways or groups of cognate pathways. Seminar content will be designed to explore the particular issues that arise in using qualitative methods for these disciplines/groups of disciplines and will use a range of pedagogic methods, as appropriate. In addition, the module will offer a choice of computer workshops on a choice of qualitative software packages. Students are also expected to undertake self-directed learning, supported by module materials.

Independent Study87
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Denscombe, M (2007). The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 

Silverman, D (2005). Doing Qualitative Research. 

Ritchie, J. and Lewis, J. (eds) (2003). Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. 

Willig, C (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology: Adventures in Theory and Method. 

Mason, J (2002). Qualitative Researching. 

Bryman, A (2008). Social Research Methods. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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