EDUC 7020 - Qualitative Approaches to Research

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

This course provides students with an introduction to a range of qualitative research methods and clarifies these in relation to qualitative methodologies, theoretical perspectives and philosophical debates. The course also addresses data analysis and complex questions of validity and reliability in qualitative approaches.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 7020
    Course Qualitative Approaches to Research
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites EDUC 7054
    Corequisites EDUC 7001
    Assessment Essay (40%), Seminar paper (60%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Julie Matthews

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this course students will have:
    1) Knowledge and understanding of qualitative approaches to research.

    2) An understanding of the relationship between qualitative research, methodology, methods, and theory.

    3) An understanding of qualitative research processes, including issues of of validity and reliablity.

    4) A critical understanding of the benefits and challenges of qualitative research.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    Atkin, L., & Wallace, S. (2012). Qualitative Research in Education. London: Sage.

    Atkinson, P., & Hammersley, M. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in Practice (3rd ed.). London and New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

    Berg, B. L., & Lune, H. (2012). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2007). Qualitative Research for Education: An Introduction to Theories and Methods (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Brinkmann, S., & Kvale, S. (2015). InterViews : Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

    Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education (7th ed.). Oxon and New York: Routledge.

    Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A. L. (2015). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

    Elliott, A. (2014). Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction (2nd ed.). Oxon and New York: Routledge.

    Flick, U. (Ed.). (2014). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Sage Publications.

    Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Grbich, C. (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Introduction (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

    Hammersley, M. (2013). What is Qualitative Research? London and New York: Bloomsburry.

    Hollis, M. (1994). The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Inglis, D., & Thorpe, C. (2012). An Invitation to Social Theory. Malden: Polity Press.

    Liamputtong, P. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods (4th ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    May, T. (2011). Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (4th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

    O'Donoghue, T. (2006). Planning Your Qualitative Research Project: An Introduction to Interpretivist Research in Education. Oxon and New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

    Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

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

    Punch, K. F. (2009). Introduction to Research Methods in Education. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

    Rose, G. (2012). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: Sage Publications.

    Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

    Walter, M. (Ed.). (2013). Social Research Methods (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
    Online Learning
    Beyond the list of references provided, useful resources about qualitative research are available in academic journals. There are various journals dedicated to qualitative research. Most journal articles are available directly via the university library search engine:

    Most notably these journals 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 and students are expected to attend all sessions.

    The course is constructed as a graduate-level seminar program. Students are expected to make a substantial contribution to class discussion, and everyone is expected to prepare for class by undertaking appropriate preliminary readings and other activities. 

    Students are strongly encouraged to utilise the collaborative facilities available through MyUni to assist each other to explore this important and interesting subject.

    The collaborative and communication skills developed through regular and active participation in discussions are essential skills in educational research and professional practice.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course involves lectures, small group activities, discussions and student presentations.

    Topics covered address:
    1. The foundations of qualitative research
    2. The nature and status of knowledge in qualitative research
    3. Schools of thought in qualitative research
    4. Critical theory and qualitative research
    5. Qualitative methods and methodology
    6. Qualitative interviews
    Document analysis
    Ethnography and ethics in qualitative research
    10 Data analysis, interpretation, and presentation
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    In small collaborative groups students will be required to investigate and present to the class an account of one research methodology which provides details in general terms of its advantages and disadvantages.
  • 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
    Seminar Paper Outcome 1-2,4: 3,000 words, worth 60% of the total marks.
    The seminar paper will be based on an in-class presentation of one qualitative method or methodology.
    The paper will examine the strengths and weakness of the method or methodology in relation to a educational research problem or issue.

    Essay Outcome 3: 2,000 words, worth 40% of the total marks.
    The essay will discuss the role of theory in qualitative research. 

    1) Knowledge and understanding of qualitative approaches to research.

    2) An understanding of the relationship between qualitative research, methodology, methods, and theory.

    3) An understanding of qualitative research processes, including issues of of validity and reliablity.

    4) A critical understanding of the benefits and challenges of qualitative research.
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.

    Assignment Submission will be via MyUni
    Assignment Submission dates will be made available via MyUni.
    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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