Core Module Information
Module title: Mastering Qualitative Research

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC11121
Module leader: Roberto Kulpa
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

Description of module content:

The module introduces you to key elements of the qualitative methodologies for social research. It is aimed at students with an existing, UG-level understanding of qualitative methodologies, and with some experience of qualitative research methods and techniques, or at those who need a subject refresher. The module builds around two segments: (1) understanding qualitative research; (2) mastering advanced qualitative methods and techniques.

The first part of the module will focus on:
• The premise of where, how, and why to use qualitative evidence for understanding social worlds and social inequalities.
• Benefits and shortcomings of using qualitative tools to inform social policy and impact initiatives in the third sector, public administration, art and culture, academic research and business sectors.
• Theoretical and epistemological bases for using qualitative evidence in social research.
• The value of alternative evaluation parameters, such as authenticity, credibility, and plausibility, alongside ‘traditional’ evaluations of reliability, validity, or generalizability.
• The role and impact of the internet, digital technologies, and social media on qualitative research, and how to research with, and on/about, them.

The second part of the module will consist of:
• Focus on interviews, focus groups, and ethnographies as the popular qualitative methods in social research.
• Sampling and the logics of ‘sample representation’ of populations in qualitative work.
• Core functionality of NVivo (or similar) software used in the analysis of qualitative data.
• Key concepts and analytical strategies such as: content analysis, thematic analysis, discourse analysis, representation, coding, fieldwork, aide-memoir, and others.
• Participatory research and other novel, advanced methods in qualitative research.

Learning Outcomes for module:

On completion of this module, you will be able to:
1. Understand and evaluate the complex links between theory and methodology, including the benefits and limitations of qualitative evidence.
2. Show an advanced understanding of the ethical implications in qualitative research.
3. Critically reflect on complex uses and (mis)representations of qualitative evidence in the contemporary world.
4. Demonstrate the advanced skills of collecting, interpreting, and presenting a range of data and evidence in diverse formats, including ability to perform core operations with relevant QDA (qualitative data analysis) software.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Roberto Kulpa
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Teaching and leaning on Mastering Qualitative Research develops across several modalities and channels of delivery:
• through the regular weekly workshops, scheduled guest sessions, periodic programme-exclusive events,
• delivered on campus, online, through fieldwork and external visits,
• enhanced through individual, personalised tutoring and mentorship activities,
• regularly revised via formative feedback, self-evaluation exercises, and diverse assessment strategies enhancing and mobilising further learning.

We will make use of weekly 3h timeslots to deliver workshops that are creatively tailored to the applied and participatory nature of this module, responding to the group needs and (possibly diverse) level of research experience among students. Each workshop will have tutor’s and students’ input delivered in various formats, for instance: pre-recorded lecture or a mix of pre-recorded and in-class shorter presentations; student presentations; pair and small group discussions, all-class forum debates; problem-solving practical tasks and activities; computer lab work; 1-on-1 student-tutor time, peer-learning exercises. We will also use blended learning technologies in response to your needs, and diverse and applied nature of learned and practised content. We envisage making use of pre-recorded lectures; live, online meetings using WebEx, interactive VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) technologies such as Moodle quizzes, peer review and feedback workshops, online annotation and commentary tools on e-book platforms (Kortext or similar). We will also learn how to use professional QDA (qualitative data analysis) software.

In particular, on this module:
• Lectures and in-class discussions will help you to advance the understanding of the complex links between theory and methodology of qualitative research (LO1), and with critically reflecting on the uses and applications of qualitative evidence (LO3).
• Scenario-based learning tasks, under the guidance of the Module Leader, will help you with advancing your understanding of the ethics in the research (LO2).
• Practical tasks and small group exercises, incl. guided activities in the computer lab, will stimulate your imagination and creativity to demonstrate your ability to perform advanced qualitative research tasks (LO4).
• Guided self-study and individual scholarship time that you dedicate to learning on this module, will form a core of your learning, supporting your achievement of module’s aims and objectives (LO1,2,3,4).

Formative Assessment:
Building upon feedback from Applied Research Design you will be able, under the Module Leader’s direction, to refine your critical skills of self-reflexivity and positionality and use the feedback to write reflective learning diary for your summative assessment.
You will also be provided with in-class feedback from the tutor and fellow students on practiced homework tasks upon which you will develop qualitative dataset package for the assessment.
Another form of formative feedback in this module is the individual guidance on practical exercises to be undertaken in a computer lab while learning NVivo (or similar) software (supporting preparation of the second element in your assessment portfolio).
This in- and across- module feed-back to feed-forward strategy is a consistent mark of our MSc Applied Social Research programme.

Summative Assessment:
You will submit a portfolio (100% weight of the final mark), consisting of the following segments:
• 40% - Research & Learning Diary, showing self-reflection of the research process and critical standpoint (Assessed LO: 2,3).
• 60% - Qualitative Dataset Package (Assessed LO: 1,4).
Length and format for the portfolio will be specified by, and agreed with the ML, corresponding to student's individual selections of topics and research tools. for instance research diaries are usually ca. 1,00-2,00 words, depending on the chosen methods to reflect on. Datasets are not word-quantifiable.

You will prepare a portfolio encapsulating learned knowledge and capacities to evidence your advanced understanding and skills in qualitative research. You will learn different qualitative methods during the module and following classroom sessions, you will need to practice learned techniques at home. You will then collect and organise in the NVivo Project package the consequent practice materials produced throughout the module (e.g. recorded, transcribed, anonymised interview; set ethnography fieldnotes; etc) (LO2,4). You will then analyse these collected materials (e.g. build a coding tree, code the text and audio-visuals, annotate collection materials) and present the findings (e.g. define categories ready for export or collaborative team analysis) (LO3,4). The Research & Learning Diary will show your advanced knowledge of ethics in research (LO2) and theoretical-methodological implications of qualitative work (LO1).

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 36
Independent Learning Groupwork (Independent Study) 24
Independent Learning Guided independent study 140
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Portfolio 40 2,3 14/15
Portfolio 60 1,4 14/15 , WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader