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Unit information: Advanced Qualitative Research in 2020/21

Unit name Advanced Qualitative Research
Unit code SOCIM3132
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jo Haynes
Open unit status Not open

Qualitative Social Research or equivalent



School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit builds on the conceptual and practical techniques of the introductory qualitative research unit and focuses on data analysis. It also provides instruction on specialist techniques of qualitative data collection commonly employed by sociologists including working with archived and social forms of data. The unit addresses the analysis and interpretation of interviews, life histories, documents and visual data. Students will be encouraged to take a hands-on approach to the analysis of qualitative data in order to develop a reflexive and critical understanding of research design. Students will be introduced to established strategies for analysing data – including, thematic, narrative and discursive approaches. The unit will also dedicate some time to the computer software package NVivo, which has been designed specifically to support researchers in the analysis of qualitative data.


1. Explore challenges to the principles and techniques of qualitative research that are presented by archived, visual, internet and social data
2. Introduce students to the principles and problems of interpretation and analysis of qualitative data
3. Prepare students to manage and interpret their own and other’s qualitative data
4. Provide instruction for the writing up and presentation of qualitative data

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

1. Identify a suitable approach for incorporating and managing a range of qualitative data sources in research 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the main approaches and principles of qualitative research 3. Critically engage with and evaluate different approaches to qualitative analysis 4. Make detailed and appropriate use of these insights in developing and structuring their own analysis of primary or secondary data 5. Write and present a coherent and critical narrative of qualitative analysis

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

A number of formative tasks will be completed in seminars.

The formative assessment will address how well students can demonstrate learning outcomes 2 and 3.

Summative: 4000 word essay. Students will conduct their own analysis of a qualitative data set - made available from the ESDS Qualidata archive - using the appropriate techniques, in conjunction with a literature review, which supports their focus.

The summative assessment will address how well students can demonstrate learning outcomes 1, 3, 4 and 5.

Reading and References

Coffey, A. and Atkinson, P. (1996) Making Sense of Qualitative Data Sage Publications. Mason, J. (2002) Qualitative Researching (second edition) Sage Publication. Ritchie, J. and Lewis, J. (2003) Qualitative Research Practice. Sage Publications. Silverman, D. (2011) Interpreting Qualitative Data. (4th edition) Sage Publications. Silverman, D. (2007) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Qualitative Research London: Sage Publications