EDUC 7020 - Qualitative Approaches to Educational Research

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course provides students with an introduction to a range of qualitative research methods. In addition to considering the design of research tools, issues of data analysis and presentation are also touched upon. Additonally it provides a philosphical background whilst addressing issues such as validity, quality, sampling and ethics.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 7020
    Course Qualitative Approaches to Educational Research
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Corequisites EDUC 7001 Educational Inquiry
    Course Description This course provides students with an introduction to a range of qualitative research methods. In addition to considering the design of research tools, issues of data analysis and presentation are also touched upon. Additonally it provides a philosphical background whilst addressing issues such as validity, quality, sampling and ethics.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Andrew Hope

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.




    What is qualitative research?

    Overview of the course

    The nature of qualitative research

    Qualitative research and   commonsense knowledge.

    Objectivity / Subjectivity

    Key themes in social research   (Validity, reliability, generalisability) 

    ‘Schools Of Thought’ in   Qualitative Research

    Epistemology/ Ontology

    Realism / Idealism

    Positivism / Interpretivism 

    Social Theory and Social Research

    The purpose of the literature   review. Induction / Deduction, Falsification, Paradigms, Critical Theory,. 

    Types of Qualitative Interviews

    Semi-structured Interviews

    Unstructured Interviews

    Oral Histories

    Focus Groups 

    Undertaking Qualitative   Interviews

    Interview Schedules

    Asking Questions

    Piloting and probing

    Rapport and engagement 

    Observational Techniques

    Different types of qualitative   observation (Overt / covert, participant / non-participant).

    Spradley’s Dimensions of   Descriptive data 

    Ethnography and   Ethics

    Ethnography, ethnographic   authority

    Ethics and qualitative research, informed   consent. 

    Qualitative Content Analysis

    Analyzing words and   images, Understanding cultural context. 

    Discourse Analysis 

    Discourse analysis, Personal   Documents

    Data Analysis  

    Techniques for Generating Meaning

    Data Presentation 

    Using data. Voice and Authority:   The Case of Autoethnography

    Evaluating Qualitative Research 

    Framework for Evaluation 

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this module, students will have:
    1) An understanding of the links between qualitative social research, philosophy, methodology and theory.

    2) Knowledge and understanding of qualitative research methods.

    3) Understanding of the process of qualitative social inquiry including issues such as validity, quality, sampling and ethics.

    4) Developed a critical understanding of qualitative research design together with an appreciation of the challenges facing those undertaking such social research.
    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Bogdan, R. & Bilken, S. (2003) Qualitative Research For Education, An Introduction to Theories and Methods. Boston/Sydney: Allyn & Bacon.

    Burns, R. (2000) Introduction to Research Methods. Melbourne: Longman.

    Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge.

    Clifford, J. and Marcus, G. (1987) Writing Culture. Berkeley, University of California Press.

    Burke Johnson, R. and Christensen, L. (2011) Educational Research. Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Approaches. Boston: Pearson.

    Burton, D. (Ed.) Research training For Social Scientists. London: Sage.

    Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K., (2011) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge.

    Creswell, J. W., (2008) Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Crotty, M., (1998) The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process. London: SAGE Publications.

    Denzin N. & Lincoln Y. (Eds.) (2012) Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publication Inc.

    Glesne, C., (2010) Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction. Boston: Pearson.

    Grbich, C. (2007) Qualitative Data Analysis. London: sage.

    Hammersley, M (1997) Reading Ethnographic Research. London: Longman.

    Hammersley, M and Atkinson, P. (2009) Ethnography: Principles and Practice. London: Routledge.

    Kvale, S. And Brinkmann, S. (2009) Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. London: Sage.

    May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Processes. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

    Patton, M, (2002) Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Payne, G and Payne, J. (2004) Key Concepts in Social Research. London: Sage.

    Rose, G. (2012) Visual Methodologies. London: Sage.

    Shank, G., (2005) Qualitative Research: A Personal Skills Approach. Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

    Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

    Weinberg, D. (ed) (2002) Qualitative Research Methods. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Online Learning
    In addition there are various journals dedicated to qualitative research, which can be accessed via the university website. Most notably these include:


    Qualitative Research

    Qualitative Inquiry
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    There is a weekly, two-hour seminar. Students are expected to attend all seminars, and you must notify the course coordinator if you are going to be absent.

    In addition there is one hour of online activity each week.  

    The course is constructed as a graduate-level seminar program. That is, all members of the class are expected to make a substantial contribution to class discussion, and everyone is expected to prepare properly for class by undertaking appropriate reading, reflection, research etc. activity. 

    In addition, all class members are strongly encouraged to utilise the collaborative facilities available through MyUni (such as discussion boards, wikis etc.) to assist each other in exploring this important and interesting subject.

    The collaborative and communication skills developed through regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered by the School to be most important, and are essential skills in educational research and professional practice.
    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assignment 1 2000 word essay worth 40% of the total mraks.

    Assignment 2 3500 reflexive piece worth 60% of the total marks.
    Assessment Detail

    Critically discuss the links between social theory and qualitative social research.

    Length: 2,000 words

    Weighting: 40%

    Graduate attributes: 1, 2

    Submission method: Via hardcopy to Professions Postgraduate Hub. 


    You must formulate a working research question and discuss how you would go about conducting a piece of qualitative research on this topic if you had 12 weeks to do it in. You are not expected to do the actual fieldwork, but to discuss the key issues that you would have to consider if you were doing this work ie. theoretical underpinnings, ethics, access issues, pros and cons of the methods used, time management and planning as well as how you would record and analyse the data. 

    The topic you choose should be approved by the course coordinator and relate to some aspect of education or learning.

    Length: 3,500 words

    Weighting: 60%

    Graduate attributes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Submission method: Via hardcopy to Professions Postgraduate Hub.

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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