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University of Exeter Business School

Qualitative Research Methods

Module titleQualitative Research Methods
Module codeBEMM066
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Greg Molecke (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module prepares students for conducting independent research using qualitative methods. It aims to introduce students to qualitative research methods and provide them with an understanding of the underlying theoretical frameworks and the use of qualitative methods. Students will have the opportunity to develop a qualitative research project that includes design, data collection, analysis, and report writing. This module is accessible to all students with an interest in conducting their own primary empirical research in management studies and it is a requirement for students on the MRes programmes. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • Prepare students for independent research informed by social science qualitative methods.
  • Equip students to design, with minimal supervision and guidance, programmes of primary empirical research, taking into consideration issues of research ethics, data generation, data analysis and reporting of findings.
  • Challenge students to critically evaluate the philosophical assumptions associated with different research paradigms, as they relate to the selection of approaches and the production of knowledge.
  • Enable students in their future careers to have confidence in their abilities to analyse data including the use of computer aided qualitative data analysis software, commission research, or conduct research in the work place and wider operating environment.
  • Equip students with report writing skills in order to present and interpret data in easily accessible ways.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the potential role and value of qualitative research methods to social science research
  • 2. Critically evaluate a wide range of alternative techniques, methods and data sources and types in the investigation of specialized research goals.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Evaluate the circumstances under which particular qualitative methods might be used and select the most appropriate qualitative format for addressing a specific research question
  • 4. Apply an appropriate range of advanced qualitative methods in the social sciences accurately and independently

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Use computer programmes to select, analyse, present and communicate information independently and effectively
  • 6. Synthesise a range of arguments clearly and systematically

Syllabus plan

  • Nature of qualitative research
  • Qualitative-research in Social Sciences
  • Ethical issues in qualitative research
  • Qualitative research design
  • Interviews and focus groups
  • Observation and ethnography
  • qualitative online research
  • Analysing qualitative data
  • Reporting qualitative research findings

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 22 (11 x 2 hours)Seminars
Guided Independent Study 128Reading and preparation for seminars Reading, analysis and drafting of assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project Proposal Presentation15 minutes1-6Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Qualitative Research Project1003000 words1-6Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Qualitative research project (3000 words)Qualitative research project (3000 words)1-6July/August

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

This class reads and discusses a series of approximately 35 foundational articles/book chapters covering the key aspects of qualitative methodologies.

Key words search

Philosophy, Methodology, Research Methods, Qualitative Research, Research Design

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

BEMM158, BEM065, SOCM002A, BEMM067

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date