Module code: SOCM006

Module provider


Module Leader

ROBERTS TM Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 130

Lecture Hours: 9

Seminar Hours: 11

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

The module aims to provide students with a systematic methodological basis for conducting various forms of qualitative analysis. The main techniques covered include observation and interviewing, although the module also references related documentary and visual sources towards participatory and ethnographic methods. Observational fieldnotes, interview transcripts, and visual images are collected, analysed and reported throughout the course of the module.


Module aims

Discuss the philosophy and overall conduct of qualitative social science research

Communicate the skills and techniques involved in observational data collection

Address techniques in the analysis of observational data

Discuss interviewing skills and techniques

Address the skills and techniques required in the qualitative analysis of action, narrative and interaction

Cultivate reflexivity in approaches to qualitative research

Communicate an appreciation of the role of documents, images and objects in qualitative analysis

Discuss methodological issues in bias, reliability, validity and ethics in qualitative social science research

Review the role of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate a critical and comprehensive understanding of the principal forms of qualitative data collection (C) C
2 Demonstrate an understanding of key methodological issues and debates in qualitative social science research (K) K
3 Have direct independent practical experience of two principal forms of qualitative data collection, and have reported on them (P,T) PT
4 Demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of qualitative data analysis (C,K) KC
5 Demonstrate an understanding of systematic analytic procedures and relevant related computer software. (C,P,T) CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Research Questions and Philosophy of Social Science
Qualitative Research Design
Observational Techniques
Observational Analysis
Interviewing Techniques
Interview Analysis
Documents, visual materials, objects
Methodological Issues and debates in qualitative social research
Computer-assisted management of data

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Give students a thorough grounding in the background to and relevant techniques of qualitative social science research. The learning strategy is designed to uncover and address the most common qualitative research techniques, provide opportunities for practical skills learning, and provide resources on which to base an understanding of the methodological debates and issues in such research. This module on qualitative methods is one in a suite of modules across the programme deigned to give students knowledge-based and practical learning in research methods skills more widely, towards research professionalisation.

The learning and teaching methods include:

1 hour lecture x 9 weeks
1 hour practical exercise and/or discussion x 7 weeks
1 2 hour CAQDAS seminar
1 2 hour film screening
2 1 hour assessment clinics
Surreylearn resources and discussion

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge-based, analytic and professional skills through the design and conduct of two practical fieldwork exercises, and reporting of them. Each exercise is worth 50% of the assignment weighting. The first exercise concerns the design, conduct and reporting of a small-scale observational project. The second concerns the conduct and analysis of a research interview.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Fieldwork Exercise 1 – Observation – 2000 words – Week 11 Semester 1 deadline
Fieldwork Exercise 2 – Interviewing – 2000 words – Week 12 Semester 1 deadline

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive formative feedback via:

Verbal discussion during class contact time
Responses to verbal or email questions
A one hour assessment and feedback clinic for each exercise
Group-level written formative feedback via class-based practical exercises
Group-level written formative feedback on film screening exercise

Reading list

Reading list for FIELD METHODS :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Research Methods MSc 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module
Criminology and Social Research (Corporate Crime and Corporate Responsibility) MSc 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module
Criminology and Social Research (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) MSc 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module
Criminology and Social Research MSc 1 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% 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 2017/8 academic year.