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MODULE CODE AND NAME: 7YYDN040 (Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods)




% of final grade

Due Date:

Formative practical exercise

1,500 words

0 %




Summative final paper

1,500 words

100 %




*Please be advised that these assessment questions have been confirmed by External Examiners.

Formative Assignment (0%): Practical Exercises (1,500 words):

Students should choose a topic of their interest and conduct one of the following practical exercises: interview OR observation (see more below).

Upon completion of the exercise, students should submit a report of 1,500 words.

Reports must include an introduction to the chosen theme, a description of the rationale for their choice; a reflection on the process of implementing the chosen method; ethical  considerations; and a summary of main findings.

Themes and methods should be selected and posted on Keats by Wednesday 26 October 2022. This is just to facilitate discussions on seminars and office hours if needed.

Completed reports should be submitted by Monday 14 November 2022.

Option 1: Interview and report

Design and conduct 2-3 (semi-structured or unstructured) interviews, in person or remotely, on the topic of your choice.

You may record the interview (using a phone or other device) if and only if your interviewee consents. You may take notes during the interview — these will be especially relevant if your participant does not consent to being recorded.

Reports should summarise the content of the interviews and provide a summary of the main topics and themes. They should also include the interview outline/questions and describe the procedures for obtaining informed consent, which should be obtained prior to the interview. Basic information about your interviewees should also be included alongside the rationale behind the choice of participants. The report should not be reduced to transcription of your interviews,  although some quotes can be included.

The report should also reflect on your positionality and on your experience conducting the interviews. Could your interviewee understand your questions? Were there non-verbal cues that indicated they were excited, bored or uneasy  about the questions? Did you affect the answers from your interviewees and, if so, in what ways?

Option 2: Observation, fieldwork diary/notes and report

Conduct an ethnographic observation and take field notes. Spend at least two hours conducting your observation (could be conducted on different days). Write  detailed notes on what you observe. Pay attention to the details and what can be inferred from your descriptions. How do you extrapolate from what you see and   what you apprehend from the context?

Introduce your fieldnotes with a brief overview of the theme, method and ethical considerations. Fieldnotes should include a detailed description of where you were; when and for how long you were there, who and what you saw; and how you evaluated the interactions you observed. How do you know (or interpret) what you saw? Include reflections about your positionality, making sure you do  not write as ‘a voice from nowhere’ . Did your presence affect the settings and in what ways? Did people interact with you?

Final assignment (100%). Methodological Notes: Theme-Focussed OR

Methods-Focussed Paper (1,500 words). Criteria for assessment will be same as the department assessment criteria for research paper.

Essays should be submitted by Tuesday 16 January 2023.

Option 1: Theme-Focussed. Chose two or three articles on your core topic that employ a qualitative research methodology and compare their approach. Identify the methods that were used and look closely at their adequacy to how they were employed, the advantages and limitations of the method, and their adequacy to the topic. The aim is to ‘work backwards’, starting from a finished research product to reveal the fit between methodology and research questions. In conducting this exercise, you will need to critically engage with the articles’: 1) main argument; 2) sources employed in the literature review; 3) selection of cases and data collection processes; 4) qualitative analysis of data. For each   article, your paper should critically assess if the evidence provided was able to satisfactorily answer the research questions (and what these were).


Option 2: Methods-Focussed. Starting from a qualitative research method of your choice (the one you found the most interesting and/or you wish to employ in the future), write methodological note detailing: the reasons for your choice, how and with what purposes this method can be employed in international development research, and select research examples (papers, articles, books) to illustrate its use. In your methodological note, critically reflect about the potentials and limitations of this method and the type of questions that it can address, based on your assessment of the selected material.

Here is a list of qualitative research methods you can explore: oral history, participatory (action) research, arts-based methods, policy analysis, archival research, focus groups and interviews, (virtual) ethnography, creative mapping,   photo voice, and diaries. You are also encouraged to look at qualitative research methods handbooks and readers to find other methods that you might be curious to learn more about and/or use in your research.