Lancaster UniversityGraduate School
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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FASS510d Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences (DL)


Module description

This distance module, which is delivered via an online module website, is designed for students who study away from the University or who are part-time and cannot attend regular face-to-face sessions. The module provides an overview of qualitative research methods including ethnography, interviews, focus groups and textual and visual analysis. Learning resources and online exercises are provided which allow students to learn about different qualitative methods and their advantages and disadvantages. Students are invited to use the online activities, including asynchronous discussion forums, to acquaint themselves with a range of methods and to discuss these in relation to their own studies and the methods they intend to use.

When students have signed up for the module, they will be given access to the module website. All the resources and activities that will be used on this module have been uploaded to this site. The module follows a weekly structure, each week being devoted to a specific topic. Some topics, for example the use of interviews, are discussed over two weeks. In each week, students are offered a number of resources, including videos of the lecturer introducing the topic of the week, background readings and exercises. This is not a self-study module but requires students to contribute actively to discussion tasks and online exercises.


Aims and objectives

At the end of the module, students should:

be familiar with different qualitative research methods

be able to identify the advantages and challenges of different methods

have an idea about how research questions and topic relate to research methods

be able to describe in writing the methods they use in their own research and to discuss their strengths and weaknesses


Reading list

Davies, C. A. (2008), Reflexive Ethnography, 2nd Ed. London, Routledge.

Fetterman, D.M. (2010), Ethnography: Step-By-Step, 3rd Ed. Los Angeles, Sage.Flick, U. (2007). Designing qualitative research. London: Sage.

Hennink, M., Bailey, A. & Hutter, I. (2010), Qualitative Research Methods, London, Sage.

King, N. & Horrocks, C. (2010), Interviewing in Qualitative Research, Los Angeles, California, Sage.

Kvale, S. (2007), Doing Interviews, London, Sage.

Saldana, J. (2011), Fundamentals of Qualitative Research, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Tracy, S.J. (2013) Qualitative research methods. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.


Timing and Location




13/01/2014 - 21/03/2014

Number of sessions:

10 x 2 hours

Timing and Location:

online distance learning


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6

Maximum quota: 15

Charge to non-FASS departments: £433



Coursework and Assessment

Coursework requirements

5,000 word essay on any aspect of the module.

Coursework due dates

to be announced

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