module specification

PC6050 - Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
114 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   1000 written assessment taking the form of a research proposal
Coursework 70%   2000 - 2500 word research report
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Friday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is designed to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in qualitative research. Emphasis will be placed on the exploration of the links between epistemology, methodology and theoretical explanations in psychology. In doing this, students will be introduced to a range of qualitative approaches to data collection and data analysis.

Prior learning requirements

PC5001 Research Design and Analysis in Psychology


Topics will be drawn from,
— Introduction to different epistemological and methodological positions in qualitative research. LO 1
— Approaches to data collection (e.g., observation techniques, interviewing techniques, focus groups, use of archival sources, diary techniques).  LO 1, 2, 3, 4
— Data analysis methods based on different epistemological and methodological positions – e.g. contextualism (grounded theory, ethnography); constructivism (discourse analysis, narrative analysis); and phenomenology (interpretative phenomenologial analysis). LO 1, 2, 3, 4
— Design of qualitative research studies. LO 1
— Structure and approach in reporting qualitative research.  LO 2, 3, 4
— Ethical issues in qualitative research. LO 1

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures will deliver core material (e.g., key perspectives, empirical work and theoretical explanations) and will provide a framework for further reading and independent study. The workshops will require preparatory work on the part of the students and are a place where students can reflect on their own learning and personal growth. These will also provide practical elements where methods of data collection and analysis are used. There will be opportunity also for students to complete a reflective diary and a discussion forum on WebLearn to discuss any issues, thoughts and ideas that arise as the students progress through the module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will:
1. be able to provide a rationale for a qualitative research study in terms of appropriate ethical considerations, data collection and data analysis
2. be able to employ different methods of data collection and data analysis within qualitative research
3. be able to write a report of qualitative research study in an appropriate format
4. be able to apply appropriate criteria to evaluating qualitative research

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment will be coursework based. The assessment comprises two pieces of coursework arising from related practical work.
The first focuses on proposing a qualitative research study. This will include an account of designing and developing materials for data collection (e.g., interview schedule, focus group materials) and aligning these with an appropriate method of analysis. The coursework report will include an introduction to the ethically sound topic, proposed approach to data collection including data collection materials, justification for the analytical approach, and an account of the ethical considerations involved.
The second assessment focuses on employing a particular method of data collection (e.g. interviews; focus group) and analysis (e.g., Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Discourse Analysis) on the data set (e.g., interview transcripts, and interpreting the data.  The coursework report includes a description of the process of analysis, a discussion of the philosophical and epistemologial assumptions behind the analysis, the interpretation rendered, and an evaluation of the approach used. 
For each piece of coursework, you will be given a choice of three equivalent assignments: in the first case, these vary in terms of the method of data collection to be employed; and in the second, in terms of the approach to analysing and interpreting data.  The purpose of this is to enable students to select the methods which may be of most interest/ relevance to them  which may then feed into their knowledge surrounding their psychology project.
There will be ample opportunity for discussion in class, practical elements to the different methods of data collection and analysis through the workshops and through formative assessment. Students must gain an average mark of 40% across the two coursework components in order to pass this module.


Reading list:
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