Skip to main content

Qualitative Methods and Interview Skills

Module titleQualitative Methods and Interview Skills
Module codePSY2216
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Avril Mewse (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will enable you to focus on:

  • developing research based semi-structured interview skills, which are the preferred data collection technique for many qualitative studies and
  • developing your understanding of qualitative methods and of their role in research, gaining sufficient experience of one particular method, Grounded Theory, to allow you to use it in future research projects.

You will develop an understanding of the skills and techniques involved in conducting research interviews and critical insight into the benefits and problems of doing qualitative research. You will learn some specific skills of data analysis and will gain the ability to apply Grounded Theory techniques to textual data. You will also develop your skills in writing and producing a qualitative research report.

This module may be suitable for interdisciplinary students who have some background in research methods and who are interested in conducting a qualitative research project. PSY1206 Research Methods and Key Skills is a pre-requisite.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are:

  • to develop your understanding of the objectives of good interviewing and of the skills needed to conduct semi-structured research interviews:
  • to give you  an opportunity to view and experience interview situations with peers and acquire feedback;
  • to learn how to conduct a qualitative interview;
  • to expose you to some of the chief strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research methods;
  • to provide training in one technique of qualitative data analysis, namely Grounded Theory.

The skills of conducting semi-structured research interviews and being able to apply a qualitative method to the analysis of interview data are valued by many employers. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Conduct a qualitative research interview
  • 2. Evaluate the problems of doing qualitative research showing specific skills in data analysis by means of Grounded Theory
  • 3. Apply Grounded Theory techniques to textual data
  • 4. Produce a qualitative research report

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Illustrate detailed factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject and identify a variety of ideas, contexts and frameworks
  • 6. Review and critically evaluate published work and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at a well-developed level structure this literature to present logical and coherent arguments
  • 7. Solve complex problems systematically, think critically and creatively and appreciate the complexities of the issues at a well-developed level
  • 8. Apply essential principles in designing research and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques
  • 9. Discuss the wider ethical issues relating to the subject and its application at a well-developed level

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Interact effectively within a learning group, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate
  • 11. Manage learning using resources for the discipline
  • 12. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion and develop your own criteria and judgment, and seek and make use of feedback
  • 13. Manage and select information and data from a range of sources and develop appropriate information finding strategies
  • 14. Take responsibility for your own learning with minimum direction
  • 15. Communicate effectively in the manner appropriate to the discipline and in a variety of formats
  • 16. Identify key areas of problems and choose appropriate methods for their resolution in a considered manner
  • 17. Act with increasing autonomy, with reduced need for supervision and direction, within defined guidelines
  • 18. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing and Qualitative Methods; you will work in groups of 6 – 8  for the remainder of module.

Practical work on interviewing techniques; different types of interviews, skills and techniques involved in conducting interviews, developing and writing interview scripts, conducting interviews, putting interviewees at ease, ethical considerations, safety issues, interactive practice sessions in peer groups.

Grounded Theory analysis of interview transcripts; open coding; refining the index; definition writing; memo writing; development of higher-order concepts; constructing a form of data display; writing a qualitative research report.

Presentation of results from qualitative analysis of transcripts.

Workshop to provide formative feedback on draft results write-ups.

Troubleshooting session to assist with student requested issues and help with report writing.

During the workshops  you will learn how to analyse, present and write-up a qualitative research report associated with this module.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures and workshops (11 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study128Group work, private study, data analysis and reading. Researching and writing a report.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation of qualitative results (oral or poster)10 minutes per groupAllStudent-specific oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Qualitative practical report1004000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Qualitative practical reportQualitative practical reportAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

One assessment is required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the qualitative practical report you will be required to resubmit the report. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Qualitative Methods:

  • Corbin, J. and Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of Qualitative Research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory ( 3rd Ed.). London: Sage publications.
  • Berg, Bruce L. (2009). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences (7th Ed). Pearson Education.

Interview Skills:

  • Arksey, H. and Knight, P. (1999). Interviewing for Social Scientists. London: Sage Publications.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, qualitative, grounded theory, text, thematic analysis, concepts, themes, definitions, memos, interviews, semi-structured, phenomenology

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PSY1206 Research Methods and Key Skills in Psychology

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date