Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM140: Qualitative Methods in Social Research

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module will run during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Tom Vaughan ()




This module is only open to students enrolled on the MRes programmes for which this module is compulsory and to PGRs in the Politics department-led programmes.

Available via distance learning


This module engages with core issues in conducting qualitative research in social sciences and addresses the opportunities, challenges and prospects for designing sound qualitative research design. We engage with the logics of inquiry in qualitative research and their implications for validity and generalisability; we discuss what constitutes a case and what the role of context is; we identify the main types of data and what opportunities and limitations are for mixing methods and/or data: we address the core expectations regarding ethics, transparency and reproducibility and assess the opportunities and challenges in publishing qualitative research in social sciences. This module is designed for students who are engaging with empirical research in social sciences. You are expected to have familiarity with research methods in social sciences and to engage, over the course of this module, with one or several specific method(s) for qualitative research.

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