SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code MML312091
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module will provide an introduction to the theoretical and methodolgical debates surrounding qualitative research. The module will offer students the opportunity to consider the epistemological, ethical and practical basis of qualitative methods. Students will be introduced to the issues involved in selcting methods to undertake research and to interpret research work in various contexts in a manner that encourages the subject specific contextualisation of analytical skills.


The syllabus will cover four core areas: The theoretical basis to qualitative research The range of methods including: Ethnography, participant observation, interviews, focus groups, textual analysis, action research, Discourse analysis, narrative analysis The critical assessment of methods The development of research proposals that adopt a qualitative or multi-method approach

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student will be able to demonstrate: a critical knowledge and understanding of the epistemological, methodological, practical and ethical issues in qualitative methods an appreciation of the variety, relevance and use of qualitative methods in a specific subject area enhanced skills in critical appraisal and developing research proposals

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A series of lecturers, seminars and directed readings will be used to introduce core themes and issues. Introductory lectures will form the basis of an introduction and critical consideration of the epistemological basis to qualitative research. Thereafter, a series of lectures and seminars will be used to introduce a range of qualitative methods. Directed reading will include journal articles reporting relevant contemporary research. Students will be expected to critically reflect upon the process of selecting and operationalising methods in seminars. Software will be introduced as appropriate. Students will be expected to (1) write an essay on the theoretical basis of qualitative research and its relevance to their chosen field and (2) produce a report critiquing a piece of published relevant research that uses qualtiative methods.

Indicative Reading

Books: Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bulmer, M. (2004) Sociological Research Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds) (2000) Handbook of Qualitative Research. (2nd Edition). London: Sage Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds) (2003) The landscape of Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds) (2003) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry. London: Sage. Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (Eds) (2003) Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Methods. London: Sage. Gomm, R. (2004) Social Research Methodology: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Esterberg, K. (2002) Qualitative Methods in Social Research. Boston: McGraw Hill. Holloway, W. and Jefferson, T. (2000) Doing Qualitative Research Differently. London: Sage. Marshall, C. and Rossman, G. (1989) Designing Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Mason, J. (2003) Qualitative Researching. London: Sage. May, T. (ed.) (2002) Qualitative Research in Action. London: Sage. Ritchie, J. and Lewis, J. (eds) Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage. Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research. Oxford: Blackwells. Second edition. Silverman, D. (2000) Doing Qualitative Research. A Practical Handbook. London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2001) Interpreting Qualitative Data. London: Sage. Journals and other resources: Qualitative Research: International Journal of Social Research Methodology:

Transferrable Skills

Students will develop the following transferable skills: Critical awareness of the relationship between theory and research An ability to distinguish between approaches to research and methods Critical skills in the development and assessment of research proposals

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 7.00
Tutorials (FT) 4.00
Independent Learning (PT) 67.00
Seminars (PT) 7.00
Lectures (PT) 7.00
Assessment (PT) 15.00
Assessment (FT) 15.00
Seminars (FT) 7.00
Independent Learning (FT) 67.00
Tutorials (PT) 4.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 70.00 45% Essay (2000 Words)
Coursework 0.00 30.00 45% Written Report (1000 Words)