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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 14/12/2022 14:19:58

Title of Module: Qualitative Research Skills in Psychology

Code: PSYC08013 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:G  Hendry

Summary of Module

This module will introduce and develop the key skills required to carry out qualitative research within the field of psychology. The theoretical underpinnings and research methodologies of qualitative psychology will be discussed and students will gain experience in how to collect, analyse and interpret data using different approaches. Students will investigate the same research question as focused on in the ‘Quantitative Research Skills in Psychology’ module in T1, so that they obtain both a quantitative and a qualitative understanding of both research methodologies.

The module will introduce students to the epistemological assumptions of qualitative research, and the development of qualitative research questions. It will cover data collection approaches using interviews, focus groups and texts, and the data analysis approaches of thematic analysis, discourse analysis and conversation analysis.

The module will also consider the ethical issues associated with qualitative research methodologies.

Students will acquire the following (UWS) key graduate attributes:

  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical
  • Inquiring
  • Knowledgeable
  • Autonomous
  • Innovative
  • Ethically-minded
  • Collaborative
  • Research-minded
  • Socially responsible

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 1


Term 2check markTerm 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 knowledge of the nature and structure of qualitative psychological research design.

L2. Show an understanding of different qualitative methods of data collection and demonstrate the ability to critique strengths and weakness of different approaches.

L3. Show an ability to process, interpret, evaluate and communicate the analysis of a set of qualitative data.

L4. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical issues involved in conducting psychological research.

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.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of qualitative research methodologies in relation to their theoretical principles.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

Using acquired theoretical knowledge to carry out a thematic analysis of an interview extract.

Using acquired knowledge to consider the ethical issues in designing psychological research.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

The communication of complex ideas and issues both in written and verbal form.

The ability to identify and analyse aspects of qualitative methodological issues.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Communicate the themes of the thematic analysis of an interview extract in written form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Take responsibility for the completion of their own continuous assessment, meeting rolling deadlines.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Introduction to Psychology (B)
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered using a hybrid approach in which students are encouraged to engage with the module through three learning activities, presented both synchronously and asynchronously. Students will be encouraged to engage asynchronously with pre-recorded lecture content designed to provide students with an overview of the topic area. Pre-recorded lecture material will be complimented with a series of asynchronous and synchronous activities to be undertaken in the student's own time or by the students/instructor simultaneously as appropriate.

Teaching activities are centred on a student-focused approach. It will include lectures, workshops and small group supervision as well as practical instruction and flexible self-paced learning.

The lectures and workshops are used to deliver and embed the theoretical principles and methodological issues including design issues and ethical issues.

Workshops are structured to support the stages involved in the research process for qualitative approaches and prepare students for the assessments. Students will work in small groups during the workshops and the activities will take them through the process of producing a research question, designing an appropriate study, data collection and analysis. The groups will use an online discussion forum to summarise their progress and will receive some formative feedback on their activities. Many of the workshops will use a flexible approach to teaching and learning whereby the structure of the workshop will be guided by the relevant asynchronous learning activities and what students have read and learned about in the time allocated between workshops.

Students will also be introduced to the BPS ethical guidelines and will be given the opportunity to reflect on the ethical concerns of psychological research in the workshops.
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 Activity24
Asynchronous Class Activity60
Independent Study104
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:

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London: Sage.

Smith, J.A. (2015). Qualitative Psychology: A practical guide to research methods. London: Sage.

Sullivan, C., Gibson, S., & Riley., S. (2010). Doing your qualitative psychology project. London, Sage.

(**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:
In line with the Academic Engagement and Attendance 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 Moodle, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement and attendance procedure
For the purposes of this module, academic engagement equates to the following:
All full-time 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 BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG/PG Psychology
ModeratorL Boyle
External ExaminerS Langton
Accreditation DetailsBPS
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Students will complete a multiple choice test to assess their knowledge and understanding of the key theoretical concepts, methods, and methodologies covered in the module. This piece of coursework is worth 30% of the total grade.
Students will also complete a written qualitative portfolio consisting of a written qualitative report focusing on the principles of interviewing, thematic analysis and identifying discursive devices and basic structures of conversation analysis. The qualitative portfolio is worth 70% of the total grade.
(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
Class test (written)check mark  check mark300

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written work check markcheck mark 700
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 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

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.