MA Political Science - Political Theory Pathway (Research Route)

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Qualitative Research Methods

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY60230
Credit rating 0
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course comprises two introductory lectures to qualitative methods and the Qualitative Research Methods (QRM) programme.It is compulsory for all the students who wish to take a QRM module. No assessment is required, but participation will be recorded through attendance

The course offers an introduction to the foundational principles of qualitative research in the social sciences. Students are introduced to key terminology and the logic underpinning the design of qualitative research.


The aim of the two introductory sessions is to introduce you to qualitative methods in the social sciences. We examine the history and variety of qualitative traditions, as well as the elements of the qualitative research process. We discuss some of the central methodological concepts and principles that underpin qualitative methods, and examine the criteria for assessing the quality of qualitative research. The sessions also focus on the ethical issues surrounding qualitative research.

Learning outcomes

On completion of these units successful students will be able to:

  • Understand the organization of the QRM modules.
  • Be familiar with the foundational ontological and epistemological elements of qualitative research.
  • Critically engage with the debate over the incompatibilities between qualitative and quantitative methods by placing the paradigm war into its historical perspective.
  • Understand the ethical issues surrounding qualitative research, and the ethical requirements to conduct empirical studies.

Teaching and learning methods

Each week comprises a 1-hour lecture for the whole class and a 1-hour workshop in smaller groups. Your tasks for each week are specified in detail in the weekly folders on Blackboard. So, for each topic you should, at least:

  • Read the essential reading(s), plus one other recommended reading as listed on Reading Lists Online.
  • Carry out additional preparation for scheduled workshops s as specified on the Blackboard website.
  • Attend the lecture and participate in the workshop

Assessment methods

Attendance to the two lectures


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 4

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ivette Hernandez Santibanez Unit coordinator

Return to course details