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MA International Relations (Research) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Foundational and advanced perspectives on qualitative research

Unit code SOCY60231
Credit rating 10
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

The course is an introductory module for postgraduate students that take the QRM courses. It is intended to be compulsory for students with no background in qualitative research. The first two lectures are covered by SOCY60230, while the remaining 5 lectures are specific of this course.

Aims

The course aims to broadly introduce qualitative research by looking at the ontological and epistemological foundations from an historical perspective, and at the range of instruments available both for collecting and analysing data.

The first lecture (SOCY60230) introduces the course and overviews the structure of the QRM modules. It also engages with the historical roots of the so called paradigm war, and discusses some possible ways to overcome the incompatibility theory.

The second lecture (SOCY60230) discusses the key elements of doing qualitative research projects: thinking carefully about research questions, working through the advantages/disadvantages of different sampling strategies and attending to ethics from the outset.

The following lectures overview the various theoretical perspectives that have adopted qualitative methods in social science’s research, the methods for collecting and analysing qualitative data, and introduce some advances perspectives on mixed methods. These lectures are intended as introductory sessions to orientate the students in the selection of the 5 credit QRM units in the qualitative methods they're particularly interested in. In the conclusions, the module discusses the possibility for generalizing qualitative results and illustrates how to organize and write a qualitative research report.

Learning outcomes

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

•         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.

•         Recognize and understand the various methods for data collection and analysis that are available in qualitative research.

•         Familiarize with the recent advancement in the debate that pushes toward mixed methods approaches.

•         Understand the possibilities for generalizing qualitative results and present them in a coherent and robust way.

Teaching and learning methods

The first two lectures (SOCY60230) will be offered in a two 2 hours sessions with interaction exercises (especially for ethics), compulsory for all the students taking QRM modules.

 

The following 5 sections, from 3 to 7 (SOCY60231) will be organised as follow: main ideas will be presented in a 1 hour lecture, followed by a 1 hour group work focusing on selected readings. Group work will focus on the critical evaluation of studies that employ the data generation methods and analytical tools that are addressed in the lectures. Materials will be available on blackboard.

Assessment methods

Essay of 3000 words

Recommended reading

General readings

Bellotti E., 2014, Qualitative networks. Mixed methods in sociological research, Routledge, London. Chapter 2.

Bernard R., Ryan G. W., 2010. Analysing qualitative data. Systematic approaches. Sage, London.

Lecture/Workshop 1

Required readings

Bellotti E., 2014, Qualitative networks. Mixed methods in sociological research, Routledge, London. Chapter 2.

Lecture 2/Workshop 2

Required readings

Silverman D., 2005, Doing qualitative research (2nd edition), Sage, London. Chapter 6 and 7

Workshop 3

Required readings

Creswell J. W., 2007. Qualitative Inquiry and research design. Choosing among five approaches. Sage, London, chapter 2

Workshop 4

Required readings

Bernard R., Ryan G. W., Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches, 2009, Sage, London. Chapter 2.

Workshop 5

Required readings

Bernard R., Ryan G. W., Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches, 2009, Sage, London. Chapter 5 (and 10 to 15 for specifics on different analytical approaches).

Creswell J. W., 2007. Qualitative Inquiry and research design. Choosing among five approaches. Sage, London, chapter 8.

Workshop 6

Required readings

Bellotti E., 2014, Qualitative networks. Mixed methods in sociological research, Routledge, London. Chapter 2.

Bernard R., Ryan G. W., 2010. Analysing qualitative data. Systematic approaches. Sage, London, chapter 8 and 9.

Ragin C. C., Becker H. S., 1992. What is a case? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Introduction and chapter 2.

Workshop 7

Required readings

Ritchie J. and Lewis J., Qualitative Research Practice, Sage, London, ch. 10

Silverman D., Doing qualitative research, Sage, London, ch. 14.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 90

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elisa Bellotti Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Timetable

SOCY60230

Friday 28 September, 10-12, Simon Theatre D

Friday 5 October, 10-12, Simon Theatre D

 

SOCY60231

Friday 12 October, 10-12, Simon 5.04

Friday 19 October, 10-12, Simon 5.04

Friday 26 October, 10-12, Simon 5.04

Friday 9 November, 10-12, Simon 5.04

Friday 16 November, , 10-12, Simon 5.04

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