SOCI 3014 - Qualitative Research Methods in Social Sciences

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

The aim of this course is to develop students? understanding of the various traditions, methodologies and methods that inform qualitative research. Qualitative research helps social researchers access deep aspects of lived experience and can help us address some of the elusive `why?? questions of social life. Qualitative research helps us appreciate the complexity and richness of social life, which is typically inaccessible to large scale social surveys. Students will encounter a wide range of qualitative research methods and perspectives, for example, feminist perspectives, symbolic interactionism, ethnography, discourse analysis, qualitative interviews, participatory action research. Students will have the opportunity to test out some of these methods and will also develop skills in question development and linking research methods to questions in a manner that facilitates robust research practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SOCI 3014
    Course Qualitative Research Methods in Social Sciences
    Coordinating Unit Gender Studies and Social Analysis
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
    Assumed Knowledge Broad understanding of Social Research Methods
    Course Description The aim of this course is to develop students? understanding of the various traditions, methodologies and methods that inform qualitative research. Qualitative research helps social researchers access deep aspects of lived experience and can help us address some of the elusive `why?? questions of social life. Qualitative research helps us appreciate the complexity and richness of social life, which is typically inaccessible to large scale social surveys. Students will encounter a wide range of qualitative research methods and perspectives, for example, feminist perspectives, symbolic interactionism, ethnography, discourse analysis, qualitative interviews, participatory action research. Students will have the opportunity to test out some of these methods and will also develop skills in question development and linking research methods to questions in a manner that facilitates robust research practice.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Dee Michell

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Describe the basic premise of why (and when) qualitative research methods are a useful research tool
    2. Understand the different methodological traditions that inform different research methods and outline the key strengths of various qualitative methods
    3. Conduct detailed observational fieldwork and write up field notes into a concise research report
    4. Design a research question suited to and answerable by qualitative inquiry
    5. Critically engage with the significance of aligning research questions with appropriate research methods/methodologies
    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)
    2, 5
    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
    1, 3, 4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 3
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1, 2, 3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no set textbook for this course. Required reading will be provided digitally through MyUni and other resources will be available through the library.
    Recommended Resources
    Referencing, avoiding plagiarism, essay writing and report writing guides from the Writing Centre will be included in the course material. Students with further needs will be directed to the Writing Centre and the ‘Writing and Speaking at Uni’ Canvas course.

    Library Pages - The course will have a library page for resources maintained by the Sociology, Criminology & Gender Studies librarian.

    Turnitin - Students will be required to upload assignments to Turnitin for plagiarism checking. This can be done before the due date so that they can fix any problems and upload again, encouraging students to take responsibility for their own practice.

    Web resources - Canvas will be used to provide students with useful web links to appropriate Human Rights organisations and campaigns for use in researching assignments.

    Echo 360 recording facilities will be required in lecture theatres to enable recording of lectures for external students.
    All of the above are standard resources already offered by the University and no extra resource or workload impact on the area is anticipated.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course in made up of 1x 1 hour weekly lecture and 1 x 2 hour seminar, which on ocassion will involve out of class activities.

    Lectures will provide students with an overview of each week’s material, providing background, clarifying concepts, locating set readings within a larger context, and providing links to further resources. The aim is to provide a map that will enable students to find their bearings within each topic before they commence more independent and collaborative learning.
    Seminars will provide the opportunity for more participatory learning. Each week’s seminar will discuss the set readings for the topic and explore their responses to course materials together.
    The course will be structured throughout to give students maximum opportunity to share information with their peers, receive feedback, and develop their knowledge through collaboration.

    The course will be designed so that the needs of those from non-traditional backgrounds are met in standard course delivery, rather than requiring separate attention; for example through the provision of information on essay writing and referencing in the course reader, digitisation of course readings (allowing use of text-recognition software), use of multimedia in lectures, clarification of concepts in seminars, and choice of assignment topics allowing students to play to their strengths.
    As with most SCGS Department courses, the explicit focus on issues of privilege and social justice can be expected to make students from non-traditional backgrounds feel more included and comfortable in participating, as well as encourage more ‘traditional’ students to reflexively consider their own modes of interacting. The international focus of the course content will also provide opportunities for international and migrant students to be ‘experts’ in some areas rather than outsiders, although care will be taken not to position them as ‘examples’ or require them to ‘speak for the other’. Hence in general the course will seek to centre diversity rather than position non-traditional students as ‘lacking’ or as ‘problems’.
    Nonetheless accommodations for special needs will be made as required, for example lecture recordings can be provided to international students, those without an English speaking background, or those with learning disabilities, to allow them to follow at their own pace.
    Workload

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

    WORKLOAD – STRUCTURED LEARNING TOTAL HOURS
    1 x 1 hour lectures per week 10 per semester
    1 x 2 hour seminar 20 per semester

    TOTAL = 30

    WORKLOAD – SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING TOTAL HOURS
    6 hours reading per week 60 per semester
    3 hours research per week 30 per semester
    3.6 hours assignment preparation per week 36 per semester

    TOTAL = 156


    Learning Activities Summary
    Indicative course structure:

    WEEKLY LECTURE TOPIC
    1 Introduction: what is method, methodology and theoretical perspective?
    2 Why do we need different methodologies?
    3 How do we analyse qualitative data?
    4 (critical) discourse analysis
    5 Research ethics
    6 Ethnomethodology and micro sociology
    7 Walking sociology and the production of social space
    8 Participatory action research
    9 Ethnography, auto-ethnography and ‘Meresearch’
    10 Conclusion: linking theory and research
  • 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
    There are 4 pieces of assessmet for this course:

    Quizzes (15%)
    1500 word essay (25%) 
    Active seminar participation (10%) 
    3000 word essay (50%) 

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation, modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.
    There is no longer ‘Active seminar participation’ worth 10% of the overall total, but ‘Weekly Discussion Board Participation' (5%) and ‘Weekly Questions'(5%).
    Assessment Detail
    Weekly reading-based online quizzes (15%)
    1,500 word essay - Observational fieldwork report (25%)
    Active seminar participation - leading, facilitating and promoting seminar discussion (10%)
    3,000 word essay - design a research question and discuss the qualitative methods best suited to addressing it (50%)
    Submission
    Most assignments will be completed/submitted electronicaly through MyUni. For essays, this also provides students with a chance to utilise Turnitin in helping them develop their referencing and writing skills. The group presentations will be undertaken in weekly seminars.
    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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.

    This is a new course for 2020 so no student feedback is yet available.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.