FASS510 Qualitative Research Methods

Module description

This module comprises a series of sessions introducing you to a range of themes, concepts and issues associated with qualitative research in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The two opening sessions are introductory in nature and lay the groundwork for the particular methods that follow. Although this module is designed as a coherent whole, you are able to treat the different parts of this module as otherwise standalone sections (noting that the two interview sessions should be treated as a single section). However, and irrespective of what else you attend, you are expected to attend both introductory sessions and the concluding workshop. Masters students are, though, expected to attend every session, while PhD students must attend five sessions or more to have this module recorded on their academic transcript.

Aims and objectives

This module is aimed at MA and PhD students who are planning to use or wish to learn more about qualitative research methodologies, along with the themes, concepts and issues associated with their employment. To this end, the sessions aim to provide an introduction to and overview of the range of approaches and attendant epistemological issues associated with the use of qualitative research methods in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Indicative Syllabus

  • Introduction to qualitative research
  • Qualitative Research: Design and Process
  • Literature review and sampling in Qualitative Research
  • Generating data: Fieldwork and participant observation
  • Generating data: Focus Group Research
  • Engaging data: the use of ‘documents’
  • Data analysis + Introduction to Using Computer Software for Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Interviewing in Qualitative Research – I [Part One of FASS637]*
  • Interviewing in Qualitative Research – II [Part Two of FASS637]*
  • Content and corpus analysis in humanities and social sciences

*These sessions are delivered again in Summer Term as FASS637: Qualitative Research Interviews. Students attending these sessions as part of FASS510 should not enrol on FASS637.

Learning Outcomes

The aim is that on successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with key methodological issues and challenges concerning qualitative research in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • critically appreciate the strengths and limitations of a range of different qualitative research methods in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • understand how broader research questions, theories and debates relate to qualitative research methods in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • articulate in writing and orally the character, implications and rationale of the methods they use in their own research

Indicative Bibliography

Bryman, A. 2015. Social Research Methods. 5th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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

Fetterman, D.M. 2010. Ethnography: Step-By-Step.3rd Ed. Los Angeles: Sage.

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

King, N. and Horrocks, C. 2010. Interviewing in Qualitative Research. Los Angeles: Sage.

Paulus, T.M., Lester, J.N. and Dempster, P.G. 2014. Digital Tools for Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Robson, C. 2015. Real World Research.4th Ed. John Wiley & Sons.

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

Tracy, S.J. 2013. Qualitative Research Methods. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Timing and Location




9, 16, 23, 30 October; 6, 13, 20, 27 November; 4, 11 December

Number of sessions:

10 x 2 hour sessions

Timing and Location:


Weeks 1, 3, 6-10: 11.00-1.00, Welcome Centre Lecture Theatre 1 A34

Week 2: 11.00-1.00,Cavendish Colloquium

Weeks 4-5: 1.00-3.00, Management School Lecture Theatre 07

Additional information

Minimum quota: 6

Maximum quota: 60

Places on the sessions are limited to 60. We will allocate places in the following order of priority: Masters students taking all sessions as an assessed element of their degree; FASS students; students who need to take specific sessions this year (for example because they will not be at Lancaster next year); first-year students; order of date of receipt of application. We will also consider your attendance record at previous RTP modules. If you are unsuccessful in getting on the sessions this year we will, however, give you priority for next year.

Places on this module are limited and in high demand. You MUST inform the RTP Administrator as soon as possible if you no longer wish to take this module so that your place can be offered to another student.

Coursework and Assessment

Coursework requirements

5,000 word essay on any aspect of the module - only for MA students who are taking the module for credit.

Coursework due dates

to be announced