Module code: SOC2103

Module Overview

This module builds upon the research methods training which students receive in their first year in order to provide students with a more detailed understanding of qualitative methods. While recognising interplay between the different stages, this module is structured around the general stages of conducting qualitative research - planning, conducting, analysing and writing about qualitative research. Students will learn about new developments in qualitative research including creative and visual methods, different types of ethnographies and mobile methodologies. They will also enhance their skill set by learning different methods of analysing qualitative data including computer assisted qualitative data analysis.

Module provider


Module Leader

HEMMING Peter (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative topics include the following:


  • Qualitative research philosophies

  • Qualitative research design (e.g. research questions, sampling)

  • Different types of ethnography (e.g. multi-sited, digital, autoethnography)

  • Different types of interviewing (e.g. walking, object, narrative, oral history)

  • Creative and visual methods (e.g. arts, crafts, drama, multimedia)

  • Documents and written methods (e.g. policies, reports, diaries, qualitative surveys)

  • Visual media research (e.g. film/TV, images, advertisements, gaming)

  • News media research (e.g. news articles, magazines, websites, social media posts)

  • Research ethics, sensitive issues and vulnerable populations

  • Approaches to analysis (e.g. thematic, discourse, narrative, semiotic, CAQDAS)

  • Writing, representation and credibility

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Research Proposal 40
Coursework Qualitative Analysis 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of qualitative research methods and the process of designing research, finding/generating and analysing data, and writing about qualitative research. It will provide an opportunity to design a qualitative research project, thinking through key issues relating to the research background, questions, method, sample and ethics. It will also enable students to demonstrate their developing skills in qualitative data analysis techniques, drawing on relevant literature to contextualise and interpret their analysis.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Assessment 1:  Research proposal (coursework), 40% (addresses LO1, LO2 and LO4) - outline of a possible research project making use of qualitative methods taught on the module, including background, research questions, methods, sample and ethics, to be completed individually.


  • Assessment 2: Qualitative analysis (coursework), 60% (addresses LO1, LO2 and LO3) - write-up of an analysis of secondary or found qualitative data using analysis techniques taught on the module, drawing on relevant literature to contextualise and interpret, to be completed individually.



Formative assessment and feedback


Students will take part in group tasks in class throughout the module, on which they will receive formative feedback.

Detailed guidance on how to complete the summative assessments is given in class and on Surrey Learn, and students will be provided with opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback on their developing plans.

Written feedback is provided for all summative coursework tasks.

Module aims

  • Enable students to demonstrate awareness of advances in qualitative research (including creative and visual methods, mobile methodologies, and different types of ethnographies)
  • Develop students¿ skills in planning qualitative research, finding or generating data, and writing-up research
  • Enhance students¿ knowledge of and skills in qualitative data analysis (including CAQDAS)
  • Equip students to reflect upon the ethical issues involved in the research process and the complexities of conducting research on sensitive topics

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of different methodological approaches in qualitative research CK
002 Understand the challenges and complexities associated with qualitative research and recognise their importance when designing research, finding or generating data and writing about qualitative research KPT
003 Apply knowledge and skills in qualitative data analysis (including CAQDAS) KPT
004 Show a detailed understanding of ethical considerations in relation to qualitative research as well as (where applicable) conducting research on sensitive topics CK

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 an in-depth exploration of qualitative research methods, and a clear knowledge and understanding of the research design process, including qualitative philosophies, research questions, sampling techniques, ethical issues and approaches to analysis.

The weekly lectures will expose students to key research methods and analysis techniques, illustrated through contemporary research case studies and supported by required reading.

The weekly seminars provide the opportunity to explore and discuss these research methods and approaches to analysis in more depth, through independent and group tasks that encourage critical and independent thinking, hands-on experience of the research and analysis techniques covered in the lectures, as well as activities offering preparation and support for module assessments.

A range of learning activities will be employed in lectures and seminars to help students develop their thinking, such as paired and group discussion, video and audio clips, interactive polls and quizzes, research roleplay, analysis software workshops, and formative assessment support.

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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2103

Other information

The School of Sociology 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: Social science graduates are particularly valued amongst employers for their wide-ranging research skills and this module will help students to further enhance these. The module will also help students to develop a range of transferrable skills including verbal communication skills, project management, critical reading, writing and reflection skills, and analysis and evaluation skills.

Digital capabilities: Students will be introduced to some of the ways in which they can use digital technologies to conduct qualitative data analysis via Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) and will begin to develop their skills in using these tools through a dedicated workshop provided in one of the seminars.

Global and cultural capabilities: Students will learn about ethical issues pertaining to social research on sensitive topics and with vulnerable groups of participants, thus expanding their knowledge about the differences and needs of other social groups.

Sustainability: Students will be equipped with the research tools and techniques needed to investigate social issues and challenges competently and creatively, and to conduct data analysis to devise potential improvements and solutions. Case studies used throughout the sessions will provide examples of how these tools and techniques can be applied in real world contexts to research and enact positive change.

Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will be required (with guidance) to independently plan a (hypothetical) research project from scratch and to competently use qualitative data analysis techniques with secondary/found data they have independently sourced. This will involve the development of new skills and approaches and the building of confidence to successfully apply these in module assignments.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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.