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The University of Southampton

SOCI2020 Qualitative Research: Foundations, Principles and Skills

Module Overview

This module has two goals. The main one is to teach you the foundations and principals of qualitative research and the key skills involved in undertaking qualitative research. The second is to support you in identifying a topic and designing a research project for your third year dissertation. One of the pre-requisites for PSYC3053

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Outline the epistemological foundations and key principals of qualitative research
  • Critically evaluate the key features of a range of qualitative methodologies and tools
  • Write a research proposal, outlining relevant academic debates and literatures, setting out research questions, methods, sampling, analysis and ethical issues
  • Communicate your own ideas and arguments effectively in written form;
  • Locate and synthesise information from a range of printed and on-line sources;
  • Collect and analyse qualitative data
  • Design a research project


Part 1 1. Epistemological foundations of qualitative research 2. The key principals of qualitative research 3. Collecting qualitative data – interviews and focus groups 4. Collecting qualitative data – Ethnography and observation 5. Analysing qualitative data 6. Documentary research 7. Analysing documents Part 2 1. Dissertation proposal writing 2. The literature review 3. Forming research questions and designing the methodology 4. Ethics

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is delivered through a programme of 11 lectures, 5 (2 hour) seminars and a library workshop. The first 7 weeks are focused on the foundations, principals and skills of qualitative research. The final four weeks are focused on the key stages of planning a dissertation and writing a dissertation proposal.

Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bryman, A (2004, 2008, 2012). Social Research Methods. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Critical review  (1500 words) 30%
Dissertation proposal  (3000 words) 60%
Seminar Participation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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