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Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Kvalitativ metod för samhällsvetenskaperna

This syllabus is valid: 2020-05-25 and until further notice

Course code: 2SO145

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Sociology: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Sociology

Revised by: Head of Department of Sociology, 2020-05-25


The course focuses on a range of different qualitative research methods commonly applied within and across the social sciences. The course begins with an introduction to the historical, epistemological and ontological basis of qualitative research methods. It then turns to common qualitative data collection methods, research designs and ethical planning strategies. Thereafter, participants receive training in specific methods of qualitative data analysis.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After this course the student is expected to be able to:
 - Explain the central principles and steps of qualitative research with respect to the data analysis methods covered during the course. 
 - Clarify the design and ethical implications of qualitative research.

Skills and Abilities
After this course the student is expected to be able to:
 - Grasp and perform the central steps of the qualitative methods covered during the course.
 - Present and discuss, in oral and/or written form, one's own and others application of the methods covered during the course.
 - Develop research designs involving qualitative methods.

Judgement and approach
After this course the student is expected to be able to:
  - Critically review and evaluate the application of qualitative methods
  - Appraise the design implications of qualitative research
  - Appraise the ethical implications of qualitative research

Required Knowledge

Univ: Courses of the amount of 90 ECTS credits in Social Sciences (Business Administration 90 ECTS, Economics 90 ECTS, Economic History 90 ECTS, Pedagogy 90 ECTS, Gender Studies 90 ECTS, Human Geography 90 ECTS, Informatics 90 ECTS, Peace and Conflict Studies 90 ECTS, Political Science 90 ECTS, Psychology 90 ECTS, Social Administration 90 ECTS, Social Care 90 ECTS, Social Policy 90 ECTS, Social Work 90 ECTS, Sociology 90 ECTS), or equivalent eligibility.
Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A/5.

Form of instruction

The course content is delivered through lectures, seminars, and individual work. All lectures and seminars are held in English.

Examination modes

The examination has two parts; 1) Participation in seminars and implementation of assigned tasks for the seminars (individual or group) and 2) a written exam. Only grades of Fail or Pass will be awarded for seminar participation. The written exam will be awarded the following grades: Fail, Pass or Pass with distinction. Overall grades for the course are: Fail, Pass or Pass with distinction. In order to be awarded Pass for the entire course, it is required that all of the examination parts must be Passed. To be awarded Pass with distinction, it is required that the written exam is awarded Pass with distinction. 

For each examining part of the course is a regular examination given with a second reexamination within two months after the regular examination. For examinations performed in May and June is the first reexamination offered within three months of the regular examination. In addition to this is a third reexamination given within a year after the end of the course. Examination based on the same course plan as the regular examination is guaranteed within two years after the earlier course plan has ceased to be valid or the course is no longer given (see rules for grades and examination on basic and advanced level, Dnr: FS 1.1.2-553-14). A student who has failed two tests for a course or a part of a course is entitled to have another examiner appointed after a written request to the head of department. 

Deviations from the form of examination in the course plan can be made for a student who has pedagogical support due to disabilities. Individual adjustment of the examination form shall be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adjusted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes of the course plan. After a request from the student shall the course coordinator, in consultation with the examiner, quickly decide on the adjusted form of examination. The decision is then to be reported to the student.  

Transfer of credits
In order to transfer credits to a corresponding course at Umeå University, students have the right to submit previous education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession for evaluation. Application for transfer of credits is submitted to the Student Centre / Examinations. More information on transfer of credits is available on Umeå University's student website,, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal for transfer of credits may be appealed against (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies whether the entire application or part of the application for transfer of credits is refused.


Valid from: 2020 week 22

Qualitative research practice : a guide for social science students and researchers
Ritchie Jane, Lewis Jane, McNaughton Nicholls Carol, Ormston Rachel
2. ed. : xxiv, 430 pages :
ISBN: 9781446209110 (hbk.) :
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Additional texts/articles will be added.