Department of Political Science


Advanced Qualitative Methods

Course Code


Course Tutors

TBC (Department of Political Science)


One 3,000 word assignment

Credit Value


About this course

This course is designed for students who want to deepen their engagement with methodological debates and expand their practical skill-set. It is intended for those students with some knowledge and experience of qualitative research (i.e. have already taken a course in qualitative social science research methods and/or have undertaken a project that was independently designed and executed by the student). 

The course covers three broad areas. 

1. The course explores the classic and ongoing debates about the ontological and epistemological foundations of social science research and considers the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methods. 

2. It addresses the fundamentals of small-n and intermediate-n research design including ethnographic, case study and comparative research. It also looks at issues of ethics, access and risk.

3. The course introduces specific research techniques including ethnography, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, text analysis and process-tracing. 

In addition to rigorous engagement with the assigned texts and practical application of qualitative research skills, students will be encouraged to present and to evaluate research projects in light of course readings and discussions. 

This course will also provide students with practical skills that will help in gaining employment in relevant research positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors.   

Should I take Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods?

For students deciding between the Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (PUBL0010 / PUBL0085) and Advanced Qualitative Methods (PUBL0058) please consider the following.

  1. Previous training in research methods: Students taking the Advanced Qualitative Methods course should have taken at least one social science research methods course that covers topics in philosophy of social science, research design and qualitative methods.
  2. Previous independent research: Students taking the Advanced Qualitative Methods course should have undertaken an independent research project including planning the project and undertaking and writing up the research.
  3. Quiz: There will be a quiz available to help students see if they have the basic knowledge and understanding needed to take the Advanced course.

*Please note that this module is only available to SPP students. Students taking this module are not permitted to take PUBL0010 / PUBL0085 Introduction to Qualitative Methods.