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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 04/07/2022 11:28:24

Title of Module: Foundations of Qualitative Research Methods

Code: SOCY08021 SCQF Level: 8
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:R  Gordon

Summary of Module

This module provides a solid foundation in understanding and applying a range of qualitative data collection methods.As such, this module aims to:

i) Develop students’ understanding of a range of different approaches to collecting qualitative data (narrative research and interviews; ethnography and observation; case studies and literature/document/policy review).

ii) Give students hands-on experience of undertaking qualitative data collection in order to develop their own competence in carrying out qualitative research.

Throughout this module students will learn about the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative approaches and will be introduced to the ways in which underpinning research methodologies influence the methods applied. Hands-on class exercises will develop students' knowledge on key characteristics of qualitative research, strengths and weaknesses of research methods and sampling design. They will develop their understanding why they might select a particular method with reference to their research aims and the theoretical perspective underpinning their study. Ethical considerations will be woven through the module, as will a critical approach to social research, calling on students to reflect on their own relationship with the research they conduct.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of a range of qualitative research methodologies and techniques

L2. Select and apply qualitative research methods appropriately to a specific research scenario

L3. Communicate the outcomes of research and reflective inquiry in appropriate forms

L4. Demonstrate critical and ethical reflection on one's own research practice

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 8.

Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of research practices and techniques.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

Application of knowledge and understanding of research practices and techniques to produce a research proposal

Apply understanding derived from module readings, workshop activities and independent study to deliver a professional assessment

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

Presentation and evaluation of information and data that addresses a defined research question.

Identify a range of approaches to critically evaluate research problems

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Communication of complex ideas using appropriate electronic media.

Application of technology to facilitate information and data retrieval

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Work with others in a way that recognizes contribution of self and peers.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:Introduction to Social Research or equivalent
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity22
Asynchronous Class Activity10
Independent Study156
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Lichtman, M. (2017). Qualitative Research for the Social Sciences, SAGE Publications.

Silverman D. (2017) Doing qualitative research, 5th edition, London: Sage Publishing

Bryman A. (2016) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Creswell, J. W. & Poth, C. N. (2018) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, Sage Publications.

Tracey, S. (2020). Qualitative Research Methods. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Blackwell

Nagy, S., Hesse, B. and Leavy, P. (2011) The Practice of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Iphofen, Ron (2018) SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Ethics, London: Sage Publishing

Robson, C. and McCartan, K. (2016) Real World Research: A Resource for Users of Social Research Methods in Applied Settings, 4th edition. Chichester: Wiley

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences- Sociology and Social Policy
External ExaminerA Tresidder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment 1: Qualitative Research Design Project. (2000 words worth 70%). Students will be required to design qualitative research project, including sampling and draft research method.
Assessment 2 Reflective Piece (30%) (1500 words) Students will be required to reflect on ethnics, positionality and proposed research methods.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck markcheck markcheck mark 7018.5

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Clinical/ Fieldwork/ Practical skills assessment/ Debate/ Interview/ Viva voce/ Oral  check markcheck mark3010
Combined Total For All Components100% 28.5 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.