Qualitative Research Methods: Foundations and Practices
Full course description
This course introduces you to qualitative research methods using a combination of problem-based, interactive, and applied techniques. You will gain skills and knowledge in a range of qualitative research methodologies, including ethnographic methods, such as observation and interview, case studies, discourse analysis, and focus groups, while delving into digital approaches for researching and analysing how digital technologies are used, created, and influence our daily lives. This course prepares you for independent qualitative research in the third year of your studies.
Qualitative research methodologies are interpretative and naturalistic. This means that researchers study people, events, and things in their everyday contexts, trying to interpret these in relation to the meanings assigned to them by their social, cultural, and temporal circumstances.
We go beyond the practicalities of doing interviews, observing people, organising focus groups or conducting discourse analysis on historical documents. Each method comes with its own assumptions about the objects in the world (ontology), and how people can know about what is in the world (epistemology). In addition to these philosophical questions, we also pay attention to the normative and ethical issues associated with qualitative research.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Select and apply appropriate qualitative methods for different areas of research relating to digital societies;
- Motivate and critically evaluate qualitative methods to respond to different types of research questions;
- Implement a range of qualitative data collection methods, including interviews, observations, case studies, digital ethnography, and discourse analysis;
- Analyse, interpret, and present your findings;
- Problematise and reflect on the ethical dilemmas in qualitative research.
To be confirmed, but look again at Booth from Year 1, ‘What is research?’