This course aims to equip students with tools in qualitative research that will contribute to the development of their own future research projects. The course will address the different stages of research, from practical guidance on preliminary research design and literature reviews, through an introduction to key qualitative methods such as interviewing and participant observation to a discussion of data analysis and the dissemination of findings. It will cover research ethics, the position of researcher in relation to participants and other challenges in the field. It will also critically discuss the opportunities posed by new media and internet-based research. Through an emphasis on participatory learning, students will have the opportunity to acquire practical hands-on experience in the use of different methods and to develop skills in evaluating the impact and quality of research.
By the end of the course, students will have acquired a solid understanding of the different elements of the social research process, including core methods of qualitative data collection and analysis. They will have gained practical experience in using qualitative methods, and will have developed critical skills in interpreting and evaluating qualitative research. In addition, they will be in a position to recognize and discuss the ethical dimensions of research and to adopt a reflexive approach to their relationship with research subjects.
Criteria for admission are the same as those for the MIM study programme. A good knowledge of English is essential.
Topics covered during the course include:
1. Introduction to research, including distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research and between primary and secondary sources;
2. Qualitative research design and formulating research questions;
3. Literature reviews;
4. Ethnography and participant observation;
5. Interviewing and focus groups;
6. Digital media and internet research;
7. Analysing data;
8. Discourse analysis;
9. Research ethics and reflexive research;
10. Writing up and disseminating research.
A detailed bibliography and key texts will be provided by the teacher during the course.
Students will be assessed on classroom participation, an oral presentation, a written assignment on a selected topic and a final exam (to be confirmed whether oral or written). The details and weighting of each assessment will be specified in the course.
The course will be structured around in-class interactive lectures and film presentations, with some online activities. The teaching approach will encourage students’ active participation in classroom activities through group discussions and student-led presentations on topics introduced by the teacher in class. In addition, students will have the opportunity under the guidance of the teacher to develop practical skills in interviewing and observation techniques.