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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Working with Self and Others in Qualitative Research: Theory and Practice (PGSP11429)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn ability to work with self and others is a vital prerequisite for all qualitative research, whether we are using interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, documents or observation methods. This course, organised around five workshops, will give students both theoretical and practical tools for conducting and analysing research encounters.
Course description Building on a prior foundation in qualitative methods in social science, this course will provide students with an in-depth, applied understanding of the principles and practices of working with self and others in research. It is relevant to students whose research involves direct or indirect interaction with people's lives, including via documentary sources and internet methodologies as well as via interviews, focus groups and participant observation. The course will emphasise the value of careful and critical reflection on researchers' own experiences in their interactions with the lives of others.

Outline Content

The course will be delivered through five in the second half of second semester, each of which follows the same format: discussion of theory/ideas; practical application (students work in triads and record their interaction); and reflection/discussion on practice. The workshops are as follows:

1) Working at the interface between self and others

2) Ethics, power, culture and intersectionality

3) Insider research: emotions, embodiment and reflexivity

4) Reflexivity in data analysis

5) Reflecting on use of self and others

The course is delivered through five weekly half-day (four hour) workshops. The workshops provide structured opportunities for students to practice and review interactive, reflective and analytical skills. Structured group formats, as outlined below, are used to facilitate this learning. For part of each workshop the whole class also meets together to discuss set readings. As this course only meets five times, It is very important that students arrive at each session (including the first one!) having read the set readings and ready to work collaboratively with their peers.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (PGSP11016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical appreciation of a range of theoretical concepts relevant to working with self and others in qualitative research focusing on reflexivity and intersectionality
  2. Understand and analyse the dynamic interplay between self and other in fieldwork encounters, including exploring issues of insider research
  3. Understand, and have strategies for working with, the power dynamics, ethics, cross-cultural aspects, embodied and emotional dimensions of research encounters and of qualitative research
  4. Understand and develop reflexive strategies for analysing research evidence
  5. Have an appreciation of key moments in qualitative research encounters including introductions, transitions and crises, and endings
Reading List
Finlay, Linda and Brendan Gough (eds) (2003) Reflexivity. A Practical Guide for Researchers in Health and Social Sciences Oxford: Blackwell
Hertz, Rosanna (ed.) (1997) Reflexivity and Voice London: Sage
Birch, Maxine and Tina Miller (2000) Inviting intimacy: the interview as therapeutic opportunity International Journal of Social Research Methodology 3, 189-202
Plummer, Ken (2001) The moral and human face of life stories: reflexivity, power and ethics, in his Documents of Life, 2 London: Sage, 204-230
Mauthner, Natasha and Andrea Doucet (2003) Reflexive accounts and accounts of reflexivity in qualitative data analysis Sociology 37, 413-431
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Viviene Cree
Tel: (0131 6)50 3927
Course secretaryMs Cath Thompson
Tel: (0131 6)51 3892
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