Introduction to Qualitative Methods A
Course Code: PUBLG004A
Course Tutor: Dr Alexandra Hartman (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 3,000 word research design paper
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course (or the Advanced Qualitative Methods module) is required of all students pursuing an MSc from the School of Public Policy, including degrees in Democracy and Comparative Politics, European Public Policy, Global Governance and Ethics, International Public Policy, Public Policy, and Security Studies. The course is designed with the goal of introducing students to different qualitative methodologies that are used by social, political and policy researchers. By the end of the course, students should be well-equipped to understand the methodologies employed in political and social research; collect, analyse and interpret qualitative data; evaluate these methods and their use in social research; and to use these methodologies (if appropriate) in their dissertation research and in subsequent careers. As an alternative to this course, students may opt to take Advanced Qualitative Methods (PUBLG105) should they prefer.
Why is ethnic identity immensely important in some contexts and not significant in others? Why are some countries rich in natural resources prone to conflict while others are not? How does the media affect our behaviour? What are the effects of surveillance and policing in poor neighbourhoods beyond possible changes to crime statistics? This course won’t give you the answers to these questions. But it will give you the tools to design research that could help you answer them yourself – and all sorts of other important questions of interest to policy-makers, politicians and academics alike. All of these questions are, like many of the questions facing policy-makers, quite difficult to answer using only numbers and statistical techniques. Like many political questions, they require us to deal with meanings, values, language, processes and experiences. Research about these important areas of human political life is what we will how learn to do on this course.
*Please note that this module is only available to SPP students. Students taking this course are not permitted to take PUBLG105 Advanced Qualitative Methods.