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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Qualitative Methodologies in Psychological Research (PSYL11072)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course provides a conceptual and practical introduction to some core qualitative methodologies used in Psychology, including Discursive Psychology, thematic analysis and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. It presents the rationale for the various qualitative approaches and methodologies, including interviews and focus groups, provides students with the practical and analytic skills required for conducting their own qualitative research, and engages them in current debates regarding ethics, epistemology, and evaluation of qualitative research within Psychology.
Course description Topics covered will include:
- Epistemologies, the role of interpretation and language
- Data collection by asking researcher-generated questions or collecting naturally occurring data (including online data)
- Doing discursive psychological (DP) research, including design, analysis and presentation,
- Methods which identify themes: thematic analysis, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
- Comparison of analyses

The course will include a substantial hands-on component, with regular exercises to practice different aspects of qualitative methodologies, such as a critical understanding of attitude measurement, interviewing, producing written questions, collecting internet data, doing DP analysis, conducting and reporting a DP research project, coding for themes, and doing IPA.

The activities, homework tasks and submission dates will be described in the Qualitative lab booklet available on Learn. The homework exercises will be submitted electronically through Turnitin. General feedback on the homework tasks will be given.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Homework tasks 30%
Final report (1500 words) 70%
Feedback The course is part lecture, part practical tutorials, including data sessions and design exercises, all of which will provide feedback opportunities. Comments provided on submitted assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the rationale underlying qualitative methodologies, and appreciate the use of various means of collecting qualitative data, and related conceptual issues
  2. design and conduct their own qualitative research project and demonstrate awareness of relevant ethical and other practical considerations
  3. write a research proposal for a qualitative research project
  4. have a practical understanding of how to do discursive psychology
  5. understand the underlying rationale and process of thematic and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)
Reading List
Willig, C. (2013). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3rd edition, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Forrester, M.A. (Ed.) (2010). Doing Qualitative Research In Psychology: A Practical Guide. Sage: London, England.

Antaki, C., Billig, M. Edwards, D. & Potter, J. (2003). Discourse analysis means doing analysis: A critique of six analytical shortcomings, Discourse Analysis on-Line, 1(1).

Bowker, & Tuffin, K. (2004). Using the online medium for discursive research about people with disabilities. Social Science Computer Review, 22, 228-241.

Hutchby, I. & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation Analysis, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Potter, J. & Hepburn, A. (2005). Qualitative interviews in psychology: problems and possibilities, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 2, 281-307.

Willig, C. & Stainton-Rogers, W. (2008). The SAGE handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology. London: Sage. See chapters on conversation analysis (Wilkinson & Kitzinger), discursive psychology (Wiggins & Potter), ethics (Brinkmann & Kvale), Evans, Elford, and D. Wiggins (using the internet).

Langdridge, D (2007). Phenomenological Psychology: Theory, Research and Method. Pearson: Harlow.

Smith, J. A., Flowers, P. and Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research. Sage: London.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will gain significant research and analytic skills as well as an appreciation of qualitative research and methodologies.
Keywordsqualitative methodologies,discursive,thematic,analysis
Course organiserDr Sue Widdicombe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3411
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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