SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN121381
Module Leader Gordon Hill
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Nursing
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Undergraduate Degree or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This module will provide an introduction to the theoretical and methodological debates surrounding qualitative research approaches. It offers students the opportunity to consider the epistemological and practical basis of a range of qualitative research designs. Students will be introduced to key issues involved in qualitative research methods, including ethical challenges, sampling, data collection, and analytical techniques. Emphasis will be placed on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to critically evaluate qualitative research work generated in an international context. Core academic skills of critical thinking, reading and writing will be embedded within the module content and modelled within the learning and teaching strategies.


Introduction to evaluating qualitative research approaches: e.g. interpretive approaches, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography Generating congruent research questions within qualitative paradigms Ethical challenges in qualitative research Qualitative sampling / participant recruitment: Convenience sampling; purposive sampling; theoretical sampling; maximum variation sampling; and snowball sampling Data collection: Data collection instruments; field notes, note taking and audio recording; interviews; focus groups Data collection continued Observation; documentary evidence Principles of data analysis: Thematic analysis; content analysis; textual analysis Coherence in qualitative research design; Critical appraisal criteria for qualitative studies

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, the student should be able to:Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the main qualitative research approaches and the types of research questions these engender.Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of different types of qualitative sampling / participant recruitment.Critically evaluate different methods of data collection in qualitative research.Understand the key principles of qualitative data analysis.Critically appraise reported qualitative research studies, recognising the need for coherence between approach, sampling, data collection and analysis.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be presented using a range of teaching and learning strategies, with an emphasis on interactive learning building upon the students' maturity and their ability to reflect on their own learning experiences. Students will be expected to have undertaken recommended reading and considered directed learning activities prior to each class to enable active engagement in classroom discussions. Distance learning using a Visual Learning Environment [VLE] (GCULearn) will be used to share, enhance and provide feedback on learning as appropriate. Formative assessment and feedback on both conceptual knowledge development and academic skills will also be provided during student led seminars and classroom discussions.

Indicative Reading

Indicative Reading Birks, M. and Mills, J., (2011) Grounded theory: A practical guide . Sage, London Creswell, J. (2007) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches, 2 nd edn, Thousand Oaks, Sage. Critical appraisal tools <> Charmaz, K. & Bryant, A. (2007) The Sage Handbook of Grounded Theory. London: Sage. Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y.S. (2005) The Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd Edition , Sage, London. Patton, M., (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods , 3 rd Edition, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage. Silverman, D. (2006) Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction 3rd Edition , London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2007) A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about Qualitative Research London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2011) Qualitative Research 3 rd Edition, London: Sage. Electronic journals (accessed through the library using Athens login): Ethnography , Sage, <> Sociological Research Online , Qualitative Research (QRJ), Sage, <> Qualitative Health Research (QHR), Sage, <> Qualitative Research in Psychology , Routledge, <>

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following: Intellectual abilities and skills , i.e. those which are acquired through use of learning resources and immersion in research/study contexts. In particular this will involve assessment of the merits of contrasting explanations, and critical interpretation of resources, but it will also involve the development of reasoned argument. Key skills , i.e. those acquired through HE level study. In particular this will involve learning skills, but it will also involve numeracy, written skills, oral skills, observational skills, and skills in information management. Social skills , i.e. personal attributes that are fostered via advanced study in HE. In particular this will involve empathy and insight, but it will also involve working independently and with others, self-management, motivation, awareness of responsibilities, intellectual integrity, and adaptability

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (PT) 20.00
Independent Learning (PT) 112.00
Seminars (PT) 3.00
Tutorials (FT) 3.00
Seminars (FT) 3.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 112.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Tutorials (PT) 3.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% 3,000 word essay / critical appraisal of qualitative study