Qualitative Methods and Ethnographic Analysis - SACO5001

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


This module provides students with an introduction to the many and diverse qualitative methods and design issues that inform ethnographic research inquiry within the social sciences. Its purpose is to equip students with some of the skills and mindsets to approach independent qualitative research and thus become active participants in knowledge creation. The module explores what counts as ethnographic research, how it overlaps with and diverges from other qualitative approaches, and how its validity can be assessed from a social science perspective. Specific training in the design and use of a range of interpretive research techniques is provided, including: qualitative interviews; extensive questionnaires; focus groups, visual and other creative methods, and participant observation. We will consider the processing and analysis of qualitative data, as well as basic descriptive statistics to analyse quantitative data. We will also explore the integration of qualitative and quantitative data into ethnographic analysis and writing. Towards the end of the module, we will look in more depth at the principles of research design in order to help students begin to plan their final year research projects.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


Compulsory for:
• BSc Human Geography
• BSc Wildlife Conservation
• BA Environmental Social Sciences
• BSc Anthropology (social anthropology pathway)

Optional for:
• BSc Anthropology

Cannot be taken with GEOG5001 or ANTS6270

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Written report (3000 words) (80%)
Research design report (1000 words) (20%)

Reassessment methods
Like for like.

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Have a sound understanding of different approaches to research design, including different research strategies (induction / deduction) and different research design structures (ethnographic, experimental, observational and so on)
2 Demonstrate an informed understanding of the strengths and limitations of ethnographic fieldwork and analysis, and the ability to design an ethnographic study in informed by theory in social anthropology, human geography and other social sciences
3 Understand the broad differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and the relative merits of each in interpretive analysis and ethnographic writing
4 Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the design and use of one-to-one and group interviews, extensive questionnaires, and other ethnographic data collection techniques
5 Evidence skills in simple analysis and presentation of both qualitative and quantitative data and the incorporation of each into ethnographic analysis and writing
6 Critically engage with the broader relationship between anthropological (and other social science) fieldwork and ethnographic writing, including the construction of coherent arguments that combine conceptual understanding with substantiated ethnographic examples.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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