Applied Qualitative Methods SPS5035

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

College of Social Sciences Graduate Training Advanced Qualitative Methods course


Weekly Mondays 3 - 5 pm

Requirements of Entry

It is expected that an introductory post-graduate qualitative methods course is completed in advance of this course. For example: the College of Social Science Graduate School's Qualitative Methods for Social Scientists SPS5037 course

Excluded Courses





The sole assessment (100% of the total course mark) will be in the form of a 4000 word essay which reflects critically on the process of carrying out qualitative research.

Students may for example conduct a small number of interviews, undertake a piece of (participant observation), or run a small focus group. Findings may be analysed with or without the use of computer software. The essay itself should take the form of a reflective research report.

Course Aims

Applied Qualitative methods is intended as a lively, challenging and interactive forum for learning and critically thinking about qualitative methods. The course is designed to push students' analytical thinking with respect to the role of qualitative enquiry and the need to pursue rigour in its implementation. It is designed to follow on from the Qualitative Research Methods Module, and to suit the training needs of those students for whom qualitative methods and ethnography are likely to be central to their research.

The Applied Qualitative Methods course brings greater depth to the issues surrounding qualitative research. It brings a stronger critical focus (i) to the processes of designing, gathering and analysing qualitative materials and (ii) to the cultural, political and ethical issues which arise as part of these processes. In particular, the course stresses the personal and 'people' skills required to become an adept qualitative researcher, skills that will be developed through exercises during the course and through the course assessment.

The course will give students hands-on experience of using different approaches to both generating and analysing qualitative data and will allow for critical self-reflection on the qualities required for conducting effective qualitative research. The course will be limited to an intake of 40 students to facilitate a student-led format with plenty of discussion and critical reflection.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Understand and locate their own disposition to a range of competing theoretical underpinnings of the qualitative research process.

Develop an awareness of the linkages, commonality, and divergence of qualitative practice when compared with quantitative research.

Appreciate the demands and methodological choices necessary to pursue participative and emancipatory qualitative approaches.

Be able to employ widely used techniques for the systematic analysis and interpretation of qualitative materials, such as transcripts, archival, or other textual data.

Develop a proficiency and practical knowledge of one of the leading computer-aided packages for qualitative analysis.

Develop a reflexive and self-aware approach to the interview process and skills required for successful interview encounters.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  As per University Calendar