I want to...

Qualitative research methods

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Tuesday 10:30pm – 12:20pm

Lecture venue

Course description

This course provides an introduction to the technical, practical and philosophical issues that arise when employing qualitative research methods in studying social life. The main topics cover the major steps of a complete research process, from conceptualizing a research problem, formulating a question, to writing a research proposal and working with data.

Students will learn the foundations of qualitative research, the relationship between social theory and evidence, and go on to study a range of research approaches and data collection strategies, including ethnography, interviews, oral history and visual data collection. Classical studies in social sciences and ongoing studies by members of staff will be used as examples to illustrate some of the key issues and challenges involved in social research.

This course is delivered in a 3 hour lecture format (with breaks).

Course learning outcomes

  1. Formulate research questions and select appropriate research methods to answer them.
  2. Critically evaluate the assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research.
  3. Design a research project and write a well-organized research proposal.
  4. Apply ethical principles and a variety of qualitative research methods in conducting research.
  5. Master research and presentation skills applicable for a wide range of undertakings.


Research Proposal30%
Research Report50%
Project Presentation20%

Required reading

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C.H. (eds.) (2010), New Approaches to Qualitative Research: Wisdom and Uncertainty, London: Routledge (e-book).

O’Reilly, K. (2012 2nd edition), Ethnographic Methods, London: Routledge.

Harper, D. (2012), Visual sociology, New York: Routledge.

Course co-ordinator and teachers