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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4T015: Qualitative Methods for Doctoral Research

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to the foundations of qualitative research and the key principles and characteristics that distinguish qualitative research methods.
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of different theoretical traditions informing qualitative methodologies.
  • To recognise the place of qualitative methodology in the process of research design.
  • To facilitate students’ in-depth engagement with a range of contemporary qualitative approaches in Management and Marketing research.
  • To explore methods of data collection and analysis and provide students with the opportunity to apply such qualitative research knowledge to specific topics.
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of ethical implications throughout the qualitative research process.
  • To develop students’ doctoral-level research skills in relation to developing innovative, rigorous, and relevant qualitative research design and delivery.
  • To facilitate students’ doctoral-level writing and presentation skills for qualitative research.


  • Traditions of qualitative research
  • Qualitative research design and process
  • Methods of qualitative data generation and collection (including interviewing, ethnographic methods, case studies, archival research and action research)
  • Methods of qualitative data analysis (including thematic and template analysis, discursive approaches, visual approaches, etc)
  • Interpreting qualitative research findings
  • Writing up and presenting qualitative research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of different qualitative research strategies and approaches
  • Critical understanding of qualitative data collection techniques
  • Critical understanding of qualitative data analysis techniques
  • Critical understanding of ethical and open science practice in qualitative research
  • Critical understanding of key steps and decision points in qualitative research projects
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to critically evaluate qualitative research approaches
  • Ability to develop doctoral-level research design and clear research aims and questions for qualitative methods
  • Ability to evaluate strengths and opportunities of qualitative research designs
  • Ability to communicate qualitative research results, verbally and in writing
Key Skills:
  • Ability to undertake advanced academic reading and writing, especially of qualitative research
  • Ability to design an appropriate research strategy and set of techniques for qualitative research approaches
  • Ability to critically evaluate and develop qualitative research designs
  • Ability to implement data collection and analysis
  • Reflexivity and evaluation in qualitative research methods
  • Ability to communicate, receive and implement academic feedback
  • Ability to manage individual and collaborative projects, including self-management and time management skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be delivered in a blended format, including lecture-type delivery, but with a stronger focus on guided work in small groups, and on individual and group work that helps students develop a deeper understanding of doctoral-level research.
  • The group-based formative assessment is designed for students to learn from each other, strengthen the building of a doctoral community, and develop their teamwork skills for collaborative research.
  • The assessment of the module is by (i) a 2,000 word written assignment based on a comparison of qualitative methods relevant to the students’ subject areas and making comprehensive arguments of the pros and cons for their choice of methods used in a piece of research; and (ii) a 2,000 word written learning log to discuss students’ learning on relevant aspects of the module (4 entries or 500 words each).
  • Comprehensive reading and self-study materials will be provided online.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (classroom) 4 Over 4 days 5 hours 20
Tutor supported small group work (online) 5 As required 4 hours 50
Preparation and Reading 110
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report (Individual) 2000 words 100% Same
Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Learning Log (Individual) 4 entries, 500 words each 2000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Presentation of small group work with a focus on qualitative data analysis.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University