QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS - 2024/5

Module code: PSYM064

Module Overview

This level 7 module introduces students to the principles and practices of qualitative research. It provides students with the requisite knowledge and skills to undertake, critically evaluate, and write up a small qualitative research project. Students will be introduced to a range of methods of qualitative data collection and analytic procedures and gain insight into the application of qualitative methods through practical group work. Students will be encouraged to participate actively and think critically about the principles, methods and procedures that we will discuss. In terms of the students’ learning journey, the module will equip them to undertake a qualitative project for their dissertation should they choose to do so. The module is designed to introduce students who have little or no experience of qualitative research to the principles and practices of this approach.  It also meets the needs of those who already have some experience in this area, by enabling these students to build on, refine, and extend their existing knowledge through the provision of advanced material on Surrey Learn in the form of captured content relating to additional methods of analysing qualitative data.  These students will also be encouraged to extend their practical knowledge and experience by selecting an analytic procedure that they have not previously used to analyse the data for their group project.

Through conducting a small group project students will be given the opportunity to gain experience in conducting qualitative research and in applying the principles and practices covered in the lectures. The module provides students with an opportunity to learn about the interpersonal skills required to conduct a good research interview and those needed to successfully conduct and manage a group project. Students are also encouraged to develop their personal reflective skills to enhance their understanding of how their own cultural background, social identity, gender, previous experiences, and prior knowledge can shape data collection and analysis, as well as individual sense-making.

Module provider

Psychology

Module Leader

WILLIAMS Emma (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Principles and practices of qualitative research

  • How to construct and conduct a semi-structured interview

  • Use of focus groups to collect qualitative data

  • Reflexivity in qualitative research

  • Analysis of qualitative data using Reflexive Thematic Analysis (TA)

  • Analysis of qualitative data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

  • Evaluating qualitative research

  • Writing up a qualitative research project



The design, execution, analysis, and writing up of a small-scale group qualitative research study will enable students to apply what they have learned about the principles and practices of qualitative research and methods. This will include multiple opportunities to develop skills in personal reflexivity and in critical evaluation and interpretation.  It will also develop interpersonal skills through working with other students from different backgrounds and conducting an individual interview.

 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework RESEARCH REPORT 2,500 WORDS 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A  

Assessment Strategy

Key employability skills, specifically students’ ability to present clear, coherent, and concise arguments in both written and verbal form, as well as skills in critical reflection.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

•             One research methods report (100%, 2,500 words). This will meet learning outcomes 1-7.

The research report is used to summarize the students’ ability to conduct and write-up a small qualitative research project. Students are also asked to provide a critical reflection on what they brought to the research project that may have impacted on how they approached it, and what they did to ensure this did not inappropriately shape their data analysis.  Whilst the research report is written up independently, it is expected that students will work with peers on the development of their interview schedules and qualitative analysis, developing strong interpersonal skills that supplement their learning. 

The formative assessment for this module consists of:


  •  

  •  Each group presenting to peers an overview of their project using Power Point slides



Students will be asked in their groups to produce and present to their peers several PowerPoint slides outlining key aspects of their project, including a thematic map providing a visual representation of their analysis.  They will obtain written and verbal formative feedback on this from the module convenor and the graduate teaching assistants experienced in qualitative research. This will feed forward to their writing up of their project. Students will also receive:


  •  

  • Written Feedback on research methods report to feed forward to dissertation should they choose to take a qualitative approach.

  • Dialogue between students and staff in lectures and workshops



 

Module aims

  • Provide students with the foundational knowledge to understand the principles and practices underpinning qualitative research
  • Give students the digital literacy skills to conduct a group project and analyse qualitative data.
  • Increase students¿ ability to appreciate and reflect on how their own cultural background, social identity, gender, previous experiences, and prior knowledge can shape data collection and analysis, as well as individual sense-making.
  • Foster and encourage students¿ resourcefulness in applying knowledge learned about the practices and principles of qualitative research to designing and conducting their own qualitative research project with a small group of other students.
  • Foster team-working skills required to conduct a group research project, including the successful management of group dynamics and the organization and negotiation of individual contributions.
  • Enable students to develop, demonstrate and apply research skills by engaging with key aspects of the research process such as recruitment; data collection, analysis and report writing.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the key principles and practices underlying qualitative research in psychology KC
002 Understand and demonstrate the interpersonal skills required to conduct a good quality semi-structured interview KCPT
003 Be able to write up a qualitative research project KCP
004 Critically evaluate qualitative research using appropriate evaluative criteria CPT
005 Design, run, and analyse a small-scale qualitative research study, utilizing module knowledge CPT
006 Evaluate and reflect on own and peer qualitative analyses CT
007 Reflect critically on how their own cultural background, social identity, gender, previous experiences, and prior knowledge can shape data collection and analysis, as well as individual sense-making KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • Provide students with the foundational knowledge to understand the principles and practices underpinning qualitative research

  • Give students the digital literacy skills to conduct a group project and analyse qualitative data.

  • Increase students’ ability to appreciate and reflect on how their own cultural background, social identity, gender, previous experiences, and prior knowledge can shape data collection and analysis, as well as individual sense-making.

  • Foster and encourage students’ resourcefulness in applying knowledge learned about the practices and principles of qualitative research to designing and conducting their own qualitative research project with a small group of other students.

  • Foster team-working skills required to conduct a group research project, including the successful management of group dynamics and the organization and negotiation of individual contributions.

  • Enable students to develop, demonstrate and apply research skills by engaging with key aspects of the research process such as recruitment; data collection, analysis and report writing.



The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures over a duration of 11 weeks.  Lectures will be used to cover key material relating to the principles and practices of qualitative research.

Workshops.  Students participate in practical workshops designed to support and guide them in designing and conducting their small qualitative research project. Students work with a small number of other students, under the guidance of the module leader and graduate teaching assistants (GTA’s) experienced in qualitative research, who will support students in all stages of carrying out the research project, including devising their research question, developing a semi-structured interview schedule, conducting their interviews, and in analysing interview transcripts.

Captured content. Captured content refers to educational video recordings used to supplement teaching. Captured content, made available on SurreyLearn, is designed to support students’ learning in relation to the topics covered in the lectures and workshops. It will be used to introduce basic ideas and concepts which will then be further developed in the in-person lecture.  It will also sometimes be used to provide follow-up material which builds on what has been covered in the lecture, especially where the topic is content heavy. This allows room in the actual lecture for students to ask questions and/or for some more interactive activities.

Guided Participation. Taking a flipped classroom approach, every week students will be asked to do an activity prior to their lecture, such .as watching a particular video, reading a specific journal article/chapter, or answering some questions.  These activities will be directly related to the content covered in the weekly lecture. Advice will be provided about how these should be approached. It is hoped that completing these weekly activities will help deepen your students understanding of the material covered in the lecture. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM064

Other information

The School of Psychological Sciences is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience.

This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

 

Employability: The learning aims and assessments are designed to develop students’ employability skills, in particular abilities in the areas of personal reflexivity, critical evaluation, communication and team-working. It is expected that students will work with peers on the development of their interview schedules and qualitative analysis, developing strong interpersonal skills that supplement their learning, in support of their own independent research. The research report also includes the task of conducting an interview, which will also help develop interpersonal skills, in particular the ability to listen empathically, to understand other people’s perspectives, the importance of non-verbal communication and how to ask open and sensitive questions.  Students will also be helped to further develop skills associated with personal reflexivity, including attentiveness, empathy, carefulness, sensitivity, respect, honesty, reflection, conscientiousness, engagement, awareness, and openness.  Enhancing skills of personal reflexivity will enable students to reflect on their own strengths and difficulties, as well as to learn from their experiences to promote their own self-development.

 

Digital Capabilities: As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online material and resources via SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms. Following a flipped classroom approach, students will be asked to view digital learning material (guided participation) in advance of lectures and workshops. Students are encouraged to communicate with one another and work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools (WhatsApp, google docs, Microsoft Teams, Zoom). This will be especially important in analysing interview data collected by group members and in devising a collective thematic map representing this analysis. Students will create excel spreadsheets to help with coding of data from the interview transcripts and present these visually in the form of a thematic map using a PowerPoint slide.

 

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Working together in groups to develop an interview schedule and to analyse the data collected during workshop sessions will provide students with an opportunity to interact, communicate and build relationships with people from different backgrounds. They will also be involved in interpreting the sense-making of participants who will be impacted by their own cultural backgrounds, gender, sexuality, social identity, and experiences.  As reflexivity is a key skill for qualitative researchers, students will be encouraged to share experiences and knowledge from their own culture and background which may impact on how they interpret the sense-making of their participants. 

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The learning, teaching and assessment strategy for this module has been designed to encourage active participation, peer support and reflective engagement. In practical sessions students will work in small groups to strengthen the student / demonstrator relationship and build trust. Students will draw upon individual and collective resourcefulness. They will be required to take their initial learning on the module and apply it to design and conduct their own group project.

Students will be encouraged to self-evaluate and reflect on their own analysis (presented via their thematic map) and that of their peers. Formative assessments and feedback practices provide an opportunity for students to learn from this experience, building confidence and self-efficacy. Formative and summative assessments are designed to ‘feed forward’ to the production of the final research report and to their dissertation if they choose to use a qualitative approach. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Environmental Psychology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Health Psychology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Psychology in Game Design and Digital Innovation MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Behaviour Change MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Social Psychology MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.