Qualitative Social Research Methods - SOCI5460

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Module delivery information

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


Indicative topics are:
• The impact of social research upon both social theory and policy-making.
• The primary epistemological and ontological debates and how these affect the research question, method and design.
• The steps in designing a qualitative research project and criteria for assessing its quality as applied to positivist as well critical theorist approaches.
• Ethical considerations in social research and the process of ethical clearance within the University.
• The use of sampling techniques in qualitative research, the main problems with establishing valid samples and how different sampling approaches can undermine the validity of the research findings.
• The variety of qualitative research techniques available to social scientists and their relative advantages and disadvantages in understanding the social world. These include interviewing, visual, comparative/historical, and discourse analytic approaches.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Quantitative Research minor component bachelor degree courses - compulsory
BA Cultural Studies & Media and associated courses - compulsory

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Qualitative Moodle Quiz (30%)
Qualitative Research Project (2500 words) (70%) – PASS COMPULSORY

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Babbie, E. (2005) The Basics of Social Research Intl Edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Bryman, A. (2015) Social Research Methods, 5th edition, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Hesse-Biber, S.N. and Leavy, P. (2006) The Practice of Qualitative Research, London: Sage
Abbott, A. (2003). Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences. New York: W.W. Norton.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Critically judge and evaluate the validity of qualitative research evidence
8.2 Identify a range of different qualitative research strategies and methods, and their respective advantages and disadvantages, as well as their philosophical underpinnings
8.3 Initiate research questions
8.4 Conduct preliminary qualitative empirical research.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Exhibit skills in the written presentation of research ideas and findings
9.2 Demonstrate an ability to analyse, and utilise in argument, empirical data drawn from research and other sources.


  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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