Module code: PSY2029

Module Overview

This level 5 module extends knowledge and skills acquired from the first year of the programme relating to research methods in Psychology.  Whilst modules in the first year of the programme focus primarily on quantitative approaches to collecting and analysing data, this module progresses the learning journey by introducing students to the principles and practices of qualitative research. It provides students with the requisite knowledge and skills to undertake a small qualitative research project. In turn, this will equip them to undertake a qualitative project for their dissertation (PSY3065) in the final year of their programme should they choose to do so. 

In particular, there is a focus on semi-structured interviewing as a technique of collecting qualitative data and reflexive thematic analysis as a specific procedure to analyse qualitative data. 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.

In the second half of the module students are introduced to the key ethical issues involved in conducting research and how to apply these in specific contexts. This will enable them to meet ethical requirements when conducting their dissertation (PSY3065) in the final year of their programme.

Module provider


Module Leader

WILLIAMS Emma (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 6

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Qualitative research Component

  • Introduction to principles of qualitative research and to the group project

  • Generating qualitative data: Constructing and Conducting individual semi-structured interviews

  • Reflexivity in qualitative research

  • Introducing Thematic Analysis (TA): a foundational method of qualitative analysis

  • Coding and identifying themes in TA 

  • Writing up and evaluating qualitative research 

  • Using qualitative research in the real world

Ethics and Open Research Component

  • Introduction to BPS ethical principles and guidelines

  • Introduction to principles and practices of open research


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Qualitative Coursework 70
Examination Online Online (Open Book) MCQ Exam within 4hr window (1 hour) 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

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

The research report is used to summarize the students’ ability to conduct and write-up the findings from a small qualitative research project. 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 will involve sharing their group analysis with other students by talking through a PowerPoint slide. They will obtain formative feedback on this from graduate teaching assistants experienced in qualitative research. This will feed forward to their writing up of their project.

The online MCQ exam will require resourcefulness in the application of the knowledge obtained form lectures and workshops to specific contexts, enhancing problem-solving skills.

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One research methods report (70%, 6 pages using formatted template)

  • One online MCQ examination with a 4-hour window - 1 hour exam duration (30%)

  Formative assessment

Students will be asked in their groups to produce a PowerPoint slide depicting a thematic map providing a visual representatation of their analysis.  Students will also receive:

Written Feedback on research methods report to feed forward to dissertation in final year

Dialogue between students and staff in lectures and workshops

Generic written feedback on examination


Module aims

  • Provide students with the foundational knowledge to understand the principles and practices underpinning qualitative research
  • 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
  • Provide students with knowledge about the ethical principles and guidelines underpinning the design and conduct of psychological research
  • Foster and encourage students¿ resourcefulness in applying BPS ethical principles and guidelines to specific research contexts
  • Provide students with knowledge of the principles and practices of Open Research

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the key principles and practices underlying qualitative research in psychology KC
002 Understand and reflect on the interpersonal skills required to conduct a good quality semi-structured interview KCPT
003 Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate qualitative research using appropriate evaluative criteria KCPT
004 Demonstrate an ability to design, run, analyse, and write up the findings from a small-scale qualitative research study, utilizing module knowledge. KCPT
005 Demontrate an ability to 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
006 Understand the key ethical issues around research including those relating to vulnerable populations, sensitive topics, deception, and data management KC
007 Understand the key principles underlying Open Research KP
008 Demonstrate enhanced transferable skills in teamworking and communication PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

  •  Lectures.  These will be used to cover key material relating to the principles and practices of qualitative research, and to introduce students to the principles underlying the BPS ethical guidelines and Open Research

  •  Workshops.  Students participate in six 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 Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA’s) experienced in qualitative research, who support all stages of doing their research project, including devising their research question, developing a semi-structured interview schedule, conducting their interviews, and in analysing interview transcripts.

  • 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. Captured content can take the form of:

    • recordings of live classroom teaching, i.e., Panopto lecture capture

    • recordings of content created in advance or after a teaching session e.g., mini-lectures, podcasts, vodcasts, screencasts, webcasts.

    • re-purposing recordings created by individuals or organisations beyond Surrey and made available through e.g., YouTube, TED Talks, Khan Academy, and other discipline specific collections.

The notion of captured content goes beyond traditional capture-all approaches to lecture capture and involves the purposeful choice of educational videos integrated into an overall educational strategy.

  • 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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY2029

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, problem-solving, 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 conducted in the final year of the programme (PSY3065). 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons)(CORE) 2 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.