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HSS8004 : Qualitative Methodology in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Beattie
  • Lecturer: Professor Rachel Pain, Professor Katharine Rietig, Professor Paul Seedhouse, Professor Steve Walsh, Professor Areti Galani, Dr Pamela Woolner, Professor Janice McLaughlin, Professor Liz Todd, Dr James Cummings, Dr Adam Brandt, Dr Emma Clavering, Dr David Webb, Mrs Rosalind Beaumont, Professor Peter Hopkins, Dr Tom Schofield, Dr Laura Leonardo, Dr Spencer Hazel, Ms Karen Laing, Dr Dariusz Gafijczuk, Dr Jen Tarr, Professor Richard Clay, Professor Deborah Chambers, Professor Ian Biddle
  • Other Staff: Mrs Geraldine Hunwick, Dr Melanie Wood
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to:
-develop and advance students’ understanding of qualitative research;
-introduce contemporary qualitative research designs across a range of disciplines;
-develop awareness and understanding of the variety of epistemological perspectives which underpin qualitative approaches to social inquiry;
-examine the ethical principles, implications and dilemmas of qualitative research;
-develop understanding of the nature, methods and application of qualitative research;
-develop skills in qualitative methods of data collection and analysis;
-consider different approaches to qualitative report-writing;
-encourage students to cultivate a critical and reflexive approach to research practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module opens with several introductory sessions, which all students attend, exploring the relationship between epistemologies and the range of techniques that make up qualitative methods. Students will then choose from optional blocks of sessions that cover a wide range of approaches. The concluding lectures discuss issues of general concern including ethics, writing up and presenting qualitative research.

The modules is taught through a mix of online activities, lectures and workshops which provide both a formal introduction to the substantive issues raised by qualitative methodologies, and an opportunity to examine their application through interactive exercises and discussion.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00Some of these sessions will be offered as live synchronous webinars
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading501:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1101:00110:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is blended and comprises flipped classroom-style options, present-in person lectures and directed online reading & activities (via Canvas). The students are introduced to the epistemological, methodological and ethical principles of qualitative research in a formal way and all lectures and online reading & activities are informed by contributors' current research interests and refer to current and contemporary research work to illustrate and focus the issues raised.

In all modes of delivery, a variety of contents are accessible online for students ahead of /immediately after any in-person structured interactions: this is important, given the diversity of the student body in terms of disciplinary background and familiarity with terms & concepts. This appeals to those both new to or familiar with topics and provides students with a personalised learning experience to suit their needs and interests.

The workshops encourage students to critically apply these insights to the contingencies of research practice, and to consider a variety of strategies for overcoming fieldwork, analytical and organisational difficulties.

Allocated periods for independent and guided reading will allow students to develop and refine their academic understanding of qualitative research practice, and encourage them to embed their research skills in classic and contemporary epistemological and methodological literature.

At appropriate points in the module students will engage in online discussion. These discussions would occur over the course of a week, ie. asynchronously, allowing students/ staff to have flexible and meaningful engagement ahead of/ after in-person structured interactions.

This overall teaching & learning approach combines the advantage of accessible modes of knowledge delivery, which allow students to learn at their own pace, with opportunities for interdisciplinary and interpersonal communication.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1003000 word critical methodological review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The critical methodological review will encourage students to reflect on the nature of current research practice and assess and appraise its efficacy in terms of epistemological assumptions, ethical principles, values and politics of research practice, and methods of data collection. Through review, students will be able to develop skills in communicating and present arguments in relation to the adequacy of qualitative research practice at the level of analysis and interpretation, as well as policy impact and relevance.

Reading Lists