MDD2QLA1-Introduction to Qualitative Techniques

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 15 [7.5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Claire Collins

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on advanced qualitative approaches to research and their related epistemological perspectives.  It examines the main research methodologies used by researchers in subjectivist business and management, including narrative data collection, action research, case study methodology, grounded theory and ethnographic approaches.  A wide range of research methods including interviews, focus groups, observation, textual and discourse techniques are explored, including techniques for analysing qualitative data in business and management. The quality of qualitative data collection and analysis is also explored.  Appropriate sampling and unit of analysis are explored, as they are key components of rigorous qualitative research design. The module teaches the researcher to make informed choices regarding the suitability of particular approaches to research in a specific research situation.


The module is designed to enable programme members to:

  • Understand the appropriate ontological and epistemological approaches which suggest that a qualitative approach to research is merited

  • Practise qualitative research with rigour and relevance to a level which will produce contributions to knowledge and practice worthy of publication

  • Understand sampling techniques and selection of units of analysis

  • Develop their understanding of some of the main methods and techniques of qualitative data collection and analysis and demonstrate a level of sophistication which shows comprehension of the need for quality in qualitative research

  • Develop competence in undertaking qualitative data collection and analysis

  • Develop practical skills in using software for qualitative data analysis

Assessable learning outcomes:

This module is assessed by the Qualitative Techniques assignment:


By the end of the module it is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Understand the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research and articulate their own world view from first principles

  • Construct appropriate research questions to address a gap in knowledge or in response to a p roblem

  • Select, with justification, appropriate research design, methodology and methods to collect relevant data

  • Select, with justification and appropriate participant sample and choose the best unit of analysis for the research chosen

  • Using appropriate techniques, evaluate and interpret results, recognising any limitations

  • Report findings in a clear, concise and well-structure manner

  • Show a clear understanding of th e need for contribution to knowledge and practice for their chosen research area

  • Design a qualitative research design which shows rigour and relevance and understands the quality required for robust outcomes

Where relevant, demonstrate competence in the use of appropriate software for qualitative data analysis

Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Communicate clearly and confidently about research issues in both oral and written forms

  • Work autonomously, as well as collaboratively, managing their process of study, prioritising appropriately and meeting agreed deadlines and targets

  • Manage the research process to gather required information and data with minimum of guidance

  • Reflect on their own understanding and ability to communicate with others in the subject area, including the skill of reflexivity.

Outline content:

The key topics include:

  • The skills of the qualitative researcher

  • Designing qualitative research and creating appropriate research questions

  • Selecting the appropriate research design, methodology and methods to carry out the research project

  • Selecting the appropriate sample and unit of analysis

  • Engage with specific approaches such as: Case study research, Grounded theory, narrative sources, ethnography and observation techniques

  • Engage with specific analysis techniques such as; thematic analysis, template analysis, framework analysis and others

  • Ensuring quality in qualitative research; rigour, relevance

  • Introduction to appropriate qualitative analysis software

Global context:

The context of the research may be global in nature, therefore, cultural issues will be highlighted to be taken into account when collecting, analysing and interpreting data.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module teaching is structured around 5 workshop days in the “Qualitative Techniques Workshop” held in July each year, which involves a combination of lectures, group and individual activities. In addition, programme members are expected to undertake independent self-study

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 40
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 75
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Essay preparation 10
    Reflection 5
Total hours by term 0 0 150
Total hours for module 150

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assignment:  3000-word assignment (+20%/-10%) submitted 6-8 week after workshop

Formative assessment methods:

A number of exercises will be set during the workshop to test understanding. 

Penalties for late submission:

Up to 30 days late (with no extension requested) – 10-mark reduction and only one re-submission permitted

More than 30 days late (with no extension requested) – 0 mark applied and only one re-submission permitted

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50-59% pass, 60-69% merit, >70% distinction

Reassessment arrangements:

The assignment may be resubmitted once (capped at 50%)

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Travel to, and attendance at a workshop (may require accommodation/subsistence)

Last updated: 23 June 2021


Things to do now