Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module BUSI4H615: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (Management and Marketing)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4H615: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (Management and Marketing)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to N2I101
Tied to N5I101


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To ensure that students are familiar with advanced issues pertaining to the design and execution of contemporary qualitative methods relevant to further and doctoral level study.
  • To develop students’ ability to identify suitable qualitative research methods and to answer their research questions.
  • To develop students’ ability to argue rigorously for the selection and use of particular qualitative research methods.
  • To develop students’ knowledge about the implications for research practice of different perspectives and approaches to carrying out qualitative research.
  • To develop students’ ability to write up qualitative research.


  • Why qualitative research? History, methods and philosophies
  • Matching competing designs and approaches with your research question(s)
  • Designing and “selling” qualitative research projects
  • Functionalist perspectives: implications for research practice
  • Interpretivist perspectives: implications for research practice
  • Critical perspectives: implications for research practice
  • Ethical issues in qualitative research
  • Writing up qualitative research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have advanced and up-to-date knowledge of relevant qualitative research methods, competing designs and matching approaches to research questions.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of organizing and carrying out qualitative research methods
  • Have advanced understanding of the challenges in carrying out qualitative research and means to overcome these challenges
  • Have advanced understanding of writing up qualitative research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to skilfully conduct qualitative research
  • Ability to critically assess existing qualitative research
  • Ability to apply state-of-the-art methods for qualitative research and qualitative data analysis
  • Ability to defend chosen approaches
  • Ability to write up qualitative research effectively
Key Skills:
  • Ability to organize qualitative research to answer a particular research question
  • Ability to design and execute qualitative data generation
  • Ability to design qualitative data coding, analysis and the presentations of qualitative work

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be delivered in a series of 10 lectures and 4 seminars over term two. Each week, students will be asked to read an academic paper in advance – a paper that exemplifies or illustrates the issues to be discussed in the class. Seminars will also explore aspects of conducting qualitative research and its analysis and presentation. The emphasis each week will be on the conceptual challenges that arise in the practical business of conducting qualitative research. By commenting on each other’s suggestions students will acquire both the capability and the attitude to critically evaluate and improve their research methods.
  • Learning will also occur through tutor-supported, as well as self-support learning groups thus enabling students to develop their own effective research methods strategies.
  • The assessment of the module is by a 2,500 word written assignment based on a comparison of qualitative methods relevant to subject areas and making comprehensive arguments of the pros and cons for their choice of methods used in a piece of research; and a 1,500 word written learning log to discuss their learning on relevant aspects of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 Weekly 1 hour 4
Self-supported learning groups (students are expected to form their own discussion groups to reflect on and share their learning about the issues raised in the module) 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Independent study, preparation and reading 116
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 65%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment 2,500 words 100% same
Component: Learning Log Component Weighting: 35%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written learning log 1,500 words 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students will be required to submit a 1,000 word planning document outlining aspects of advanced qualitative research methods and data analysis relevant to their research area.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University