Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
07 January 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA M90012 Criminology,
MSC C80612 Research Methods in Psychology,
MA L30112 Sociological Research Methods,
MSC L31124 Migration Studies,
MPHDML9048 Criminology,
PHD ML9048 Criminology,
MPHDC80048 Psychology,
PHD C80048 Psychology,
MSOCM999 Criminology,
MSOCMX98 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
MSOCMX99 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC998 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods,
MSCICB98 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods (Including Placement Year),
MSCICB99 Psychology with Advanced Research Methods (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module gives students a practical grounding in the theory and methods of qualitative interviewing and analysis. Students are taken through the journey of collecting qualitative research data and beginning the process of analysis through a mixture of theoretical lecture videos and readings, practical seminars on zoom and guest lectures and live Q&A’s from experts in the field. The guest lectures will take place [Week 16, 17, 18 and 24] and are an opportunity to synthesis methodological theory with the ethnographers’ experience of the research process. You will be expected to watch the lectures, complete the readings and come to the live Q&A sessions with relevant and informed questions.

In addition, the module gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience in how to design and conduct qualitative interviews. Each student will conduct a qualitative interview with another student on the course. These will be digital interviews and will utilise either email, VoiP (Zoom, Skype), instant messaging, telephone or another medium of their choice. Students will transcribe the interview and conduct preliminary analysis choosing a suitable approach to the data collected.

In this module, there is a particular focus on developing a reflective practice while conducting qualitative research. Students will be asked to write reflectively about their positionality, and the ethical and methodological decisions made in the research process. Students will be asked to submit a reflective piece on their interviews and analysis.

Module aims

This module provides students with the opportunity to learn and apply qualitative interviewing and analysis, so they are equipped to conduct their own qualitative research project.

- To take students through the qualitative research process including choosing appropriate methods, interviewing and analysis.
- To experience the process of conducting and analysing qualitative interviews
- To give an overview of different approaches to qualitative data analysis.
- To develop reflective writing skills by reflecting on the process of learning and doing qualitative research.
- To equip students with the skills to tackle a qualitative study of their own in the future (either online or offline).

Module learning outcomes

- Synthesise theoretical knowledge about qualitative research methods and critically evaluate the application of those methods in practical examples

- Critically evaluate your own and others’ applications of qualitative research methods

- Demonstrate sensitivity and commitment to the principles and practice of good research ethics

- Demonstrate an appreciation and reflection of the complexities of carrying out qualitative research

- Learn from experienced ethnographers on challenges in the field and how they overcame them.

- Gain knowledge of digital qualitative research, the ethical debates and interviewing online.

Module information

Week 16 – Introduction: Approaches and context (HR)

This week will consist of two pre-recorded lectures. The first lecture will introduce the module and what is expected of the students. The lecture will give an overview to the different methodological approaches to interviewing that have developed in the context of shifting epistemological traditions in the social sciences. The lecture will consider why social researchers choose to collect qualitative interviews, and how the data collected can be made sense of and presented.

The second pre-recorded lecture will be delivered by Professor Colin Samson and Dr Jason Sumich and it titled ‘Context is Everything: Reflections on Radically Different Environments, Mozambique and SubArctic Canada’. The lecture will challenge universalist assumptions behind a lot of qualitative methodology. Professor Colin Samson’s research with indigenous migratory hunting communities in subarctic Canada and Dr Jason Sumich’s research with urban middle-class populations in Mozambique will be drawn on to illustrate the diametrically opposite techniques for undertaking qualitative research. The lecture will focus on the importance of understanding the context in qualitative research.

The zoom lesson will be a live Q&A session with Professor Colin Samson and Dr Jason Sumich. Students are encouraged to formulate a question based on the required readings and from the pre-recorded lectures.

Week 17 - Doing the right thing: Ethics, Positionality, Reflexivity (HR)

This week’s lecture will consider the importance of understanding the researchers’ positionality and how it may influence the research process. We will explore the difficulties, practicalities and methods of being reflexive in the production of knowledge.

The second pre-recorded lecture will be given by Dr Maitrayee Deka. The lecture will highlight different ways in which a gendered self is experienced in the field, the times when an ethical position is possible and other times when the performative aspect of gender takes center stage. It will discuss the pitfalls of being a woman researcher in a male-dominated space, the scathing reminder of doing research in a patriarchal set-up. The lecture will outline the many faces of a fieldworker, investigating instances of empowered interaction to questioning the self when one tactfully uses the gender card. It will reflect on the impact that gender has on data collection and on personal interactions. The lecture reviews the self in the field, the personal feuds, and the beauty of finding allies in the most unlikely situations.

In the class, students will be asked to write a positionality statement. This can be
included in the final reflexive essay.

Week 18 - Gaining access to research participants and relationships in the field (IC)

In the first pre-recorded lecture we explore different recruitment techniques and reflect on how strategies used to approach research participants shape relationships established in the field.

The second pre-recorded lecture is given by Dr Isabel Crowhurst. She will present her own research exploring how relationships with gatekeepers can dynamically impact the research question and interviews.

The class will be a chance to ask Dr Isabel Crowhurst questions on her experience.

Week 19 - Interviewing techniques

This week we will be exploring different approaches to qualitative interviewing. The first pre-recorded lecture will go over common approaches to qualitative interviewing – structured, semi-structured, unstructured, psychosocial and life story interviews. The second pre-recorded lecture will focus on feminist interviews. In this lecture we will think about power in the interview process and approaches used to overcome the power imbalance. We ask the question what do we mean by feminist interviews?

The zoom class will be a practical session. It will examine and analyse interview transcripts for interview style, techniques and approaches used by the researcher. The students will also have a chance to consider what interviewing style they will use for the interview they will carry out in reading week.

Week 20 - Preparing and conducting qualitative interviews online: Challenges and opportunities (HR)

The first pre-recorded lecture will focus on qualitative digital interviews; interviewing using technology to mediate the interaction. Such as, instant messaging, email, VoiP (skype, zoom) and telephone. The second pre-recorded lecture will consider what techniques work with different interviewing approaches. We will draw on real examples of challenges researchers have faced in the field and how they overcame them.

In the lesson, students will consider the advantages and limitations of using different technological mediums to conduct qualitative interviews. Students will prepare for the qualitative interview they will conduct during reading week.

Reading Week – Week 21

During reading week students are required to conduct an interview mediated by digital technology through a medium of their choice: Email, instant messenger, telephone, zoom etc. Students are asked to evaluate their own and a colleagues interview. You will be placed in groups of three – Interviewer, interviewee and observer. (See assessment section for more information).

Week 22 - Qualitative Analysis: Selecting the right analysis for your data (HR)

This week we will explore different approaches to qualitative analysis with a particular focus on thematic analysis, discourse analysis and visual analysis.

In the lesson, students will have a chance to analyse the data they have collected during reading week using a method of their choice. Students will be encouraged to reflect on what works well and what they found challenging.

Week 23 – Qualitative Analysis: Analysing qualitative data across data sources (HR)

Digital data provides a variety of topics for qualitative social analysis, however it is not always clear how to use digital data when applying qualitative methods. This lecture will explore ways to collect, analyse and store digital data, emphasising the importance of critical analysis and combining traditional qualitative research techniques with emergent digital technologies. The second pre-recorded lecture will consider how analysis of digital data can complement qualitative interview data.

Week 24 – Using Software in qualitative analysis

The first pre-recorded lecture will introduce the use of software for qualitative analysis. Over the last two decades, specific computer software to support qualitative data analysis has become a vital tool for many researchers, just as it has polarised opinion. Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) has been understood as both a mode of analysis, and as an approach that does not do the analysis, but rather organizes the analysis taking place.

The second pre-recorded lecture will detail the main issues and functions that should be thought through before analyzing datasets with the support of CAQDAS.

The third pre-recorded lecture will be delivered by Dr Ruth Weir. She will present her research and the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to identify neighbourhood level predictors of domestic abuse and their variation over space. Conventionally predictive models produce one sets of predictors for the whole geographical area, but the research that will be discussed today used a methodology that calculated values for every data point and found variation in the strength of the predictors over space. We discuss the potential this creates for more localised policy responses.

Week 25 ¬– Writing reflectively on the research process.

The pre-recorded lecture for this week will cover introspection, reflection and reflexivity, types of reflexivities and self-disclosure in the research process.

In the final class, students will work with colleagues to reflect on the process of qualitative interviewing and analysing and consider how this will inform their master’s dissertation. Students will be asked to take part in a class discussion on the possibilities and limitations of their chosen methods.

Learning and teaching methods

While restrictions related to COVID-19 are still in place, much of the teaching on all our modules will take place online. All lecture-type content will be available via Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities each week.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Digital interview  05/03/2021  15% 
Coursework   Final Essay  26/04/2021  85% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Helen Rand, email:
Helen Rand
Shauna Meyers, Student Administrator, Telephone 01206 873051, Email:



External examiner

Dr Umut Erel
Open University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 569 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
569 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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