PSYC13024 - Qualitative Research Methodology
Term 1 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for PSYC13024 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

In this unit you will develop a useful toolbox for undertaking qualitative research that is applicable to your chosen career. This unit covers how to design, conduct, analyse and write up qualitative research. It includes issues such as entering the field, ethical issues in qualitative research and dilemmas of reflexivity and voice. We will analyse some intriguing examples of qualitative research to think critically about current issues. We will develop self-awareness and reflexive skills, exploring our own social, economic and political positions and how these shape our views on the world. By producing a piece of qualitative empirical research, you will learn how to apply the knowledge acquired. Qualitative skills are highly sought after in many career paths. Ultimately this unit will equip you with skills that are of benefit to careers in research, business, government, community development and education.

Details

Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Residential Schools

This unit has a Compulsory Residential School for distance mode students and the details are:
Click here to see your Residential School Timetable.

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 1 - 2017
  • Mixed Mode

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 25%
2. Practical Assessment 30%
3. Written Assessment 45%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Evaluation

Term 1 - 2015: The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this unit was 3.9 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 67% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
The assessment instructions could be clearer Student feedback The assessments outline will be revised to include a clearer explanation of the requirements and purpose. Regular blackboard collaborate sessions will provide more time to ensure students understand the assessment requirements and how they will help them to develop their skills.
The Residential school was highly informative Student feedback Continue the provision of a residential school. Provide more opportunity for practical hands-on experience during the school.
The structured assessments were valuable learning tools Student feedback Ensure that the purpose of the assessments, to develop students' practical skills, are clearly communicated. Continue with the format of the assessments albeit fine-tuned as outlined above.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Explain the philosophies and principles behind qualitative research
  2. Critique qualitative research presented in existing literature
  3. Conduct focus groups, interviews and ethnographic observations
  4. Write a qualitative research report

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Written Assessment    
2 - Practical Assessment      
3 - Written Assessment    

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1. Communication  
2. Problem Solving      
3. Critical Thinking  
4. Information Literacy      
5. Team Work      
6. Information Technology Competence      
7. Cross Cultural Competence    
8. Ethical practice  

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Written Assessment        
2 - Practical Assessment      
3 - Written Assessment      

Prescribed Textbooks

Social Research Methods
Author/s: Alan Bryman Year: 2015
Edition: 5th Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country: UK
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
All submissions for this unit must use the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorJoshua Trigg (j.trigg@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

Module 1 - A day/project in the life of a qualitative research detective: Introduction to qualitative research

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 1 & 17.

Online consult hour

Week 2 13-03-2017

Module 2 - How to know what to ask: Reviewing the literature and composing a research question

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 5.

Online consult hour

Week 3 20-03-2017

Module 3 - The secret of the mysterious qualitative research project: Research design

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 3 & 4.

Online consult hour

Week 4 27-03-2017

Module 4 - Keeping the streets safe for researchers and participants: The depth, breadth and ethics of working with people

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 6.

Online consult hour

Assessment 1

Critical Literature Review Due Friday (31 Mar 17) 05:00 PM AEST
Week 5 03-04-2017

Residential School: Field work Module 5 - Conducting Interviews; Module 6 - Conducting focus groups; Module 7 - Ethnography and participant observation

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 19-21.

Residential school: Field work techniques

Vacation Week 10-04-2017

Vacation Week

No set readings this week

No scheduled classes or activities

Week 6 17-04-2017

Study week - Assessment 2

Online consult hour

Week 7 24-04-2017

Module 8 - Digital detective: Conducting qualitative research in online environments

Bryman, A. (2014). Social Research Methods (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 28. [PDF Provided]; Online research is also integrated into chapters of the 2015 edition of the textbook.

Online consult hour

Week 8 01-05-2017

Module 9 - Wait a minute, I have heard this idea somewhere before: The essentials of qualitative data analysis

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 24.

Online consult hour

Assessment 2

Transcription Process, Ethnographic Account, and Interviewing Reflection Due Friday (05 May 17) 05:00 PM AEST
Week 9 08-05-2017

Module 10 - Applying predominant qualitative data analysis techniques

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 22.

Online consult hour

Week 10 15-05-2017

Module 11 - Convince me! Describing evidence, telling the underlying story, and writing up qualitative research

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 28.

Online consult hour

Week 11 22-05-2017

Module 12 -Who is looking at who: Reflexivity, objectivity and voice

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 388 (Box: "What is reflexivity")

Additional materials to be advised.

Online consult hour

Week 12 29-05-2017

Study week - Assessment 3

Online consult hour

Assessment 3

Qualitative Research Report Due Friday (02 Jun 17) 05:00 PM AEST
Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017

This unit does not include an examination

No scheduled classes or activities

Exam Week 12-06-2017

This unit does not include an examination

No scheduled classes or activities

This unit involves a compulsory residential school. Work and materials from the residential school are needed to complete Assessments 2 and 3.

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Critical Literature Review
Task Description

Your task is to write a critical literature review of theories and research on how socio-cultural elements shape expectations of university study, and the role of these in university success and completion. You will be provided with 3 references to get you started, and you will need to source an additional 7 academic journal articles relevant to the topic. To complete this task you will need to be able to summarise and reflect on the sources, specify a number of research questions, and effectively outline how you will seek answers to your research questions. The minimum word limit is 1,500 words (maximum 1,800 words), not including the abstract, or reference list.

Assessment Due Date Week 4 Friday (31-Mar-2017) 05:00 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 6 Friday (21-Apr-2017)
Weighting 25%
Assessment Criteria

Assessment is based on the incorporation of the sources, level of critical discussion of the literature, the contextualisation of the research question, the clarity of writing and organisation of material, and the correct citation and referencing of the sources used.

Please see the marking matrix in Moodle for more details.

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Explain the philosophies and principles behind qualitative research

2. Critique qualitative research presented in existing literature

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy



2 Practical Assessment

Assessment Title Transcription Process, Ethnographic Account, and Interviewing Reflection
Task Description

Data analysis cannot occur unless you have data! Interview data must be easily accessible and in a format that will allow clear differentiation between the interviewees, and between the interviewees and interviewer. The focus groups and interviews you conducted during the residential school will be audio recorded and each student will transcribe their interview and part of their focus group.To complete this task you will need to:

1. Using a transcription template, listen to the audio and accurately transcribe from the audio;

2. Clearly differentiate between the speakers;

3. Pay special attention to their vernacular and making it clear when they are paraphrasing others;

4. Include a summarising paragraph for each transcript (200-250 words);

5. Conduct field observations based on the topic of the interview and focus group. Write an ethnographic account which includes descriptive, reflexive notes of context, what you notice (and what you do not observe), and any preliminary connections that can be made between this piece of ethnography and the information garnered from the transcripts (2000-2500 words).

6. Lastly, write a critical reflection of your approach to both the one-on-one interview and the focus group, including: a) how you designed and delivered the interview and focus group guides; and b) a reflection on what you felt worked well, and what you would do differently next time for both the interview and focus group, including a comparison of the two formats (450-500 words).

Assessment Due Date Week 8 Friday (05-May-2017) 05:00 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Week 10 Friday (19-May-2017)
Weighting 30%
Assessment Criteria

Assessment is based on:

1) The layout of the transcription, its quality and organisation of sequences;

2) Written expression, ethnographic writing, and preliminary fieldwork analysis;

3) The interviewing reflection summary description and justification of effective interviewing and focus group techniques that were used, as well as critical description of limitations in the process, and suggestions of how these may be overcome in future interviews and focus groups.

Please see the marking matrix in Moodle for more details.

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

3. Conduct focus groups, interviews and ethnographic observations

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

5. Team Work

6. Information Technology Competence

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice



3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Qualitative Research Report
Task Description

Your task is to write a research report based on field research, which you will conduct during the residential school. To complete this task you will need to:

1) Clearly articulate your research topic, present a brief critical discussion of the literature (based on Assessment 1) to show how your research topic is grounded in previous research, specify a research question and outline the research methodology.

2) Analyse two of the three forms of transcribed data elicited at Residential School--your ethnographic, interview and focus group data (see Assessment 2)--and incorporate it into a research report.

The research report must include an Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Process of Data Analysis, Findings, and a Discussion. Your interview and observation notes and data sets must be included in the appendix. The minimum word count is 2,500 words (maximum 3,000), not including the abstract, reference list, or appendices

Assessment Due Date Week 12 Friday (02-Jun-2017) 05:00 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Exam Week Friday (16-Jun-2017)
Weighting 45%
Assessment Criteria

Assessment is based on the:

1) Quality of the research idea;

2) Review of the literature;

3) Level of critical discussion of the literature;

4) Quality of the specific research questions;

5) Quality of data analysis; and

6) Level of critical discussion of the findings.

Please see the marking matrix in Moodle for more details.

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Explain the philosophies and principles behind qualitative research

4. Write a qualitative research report

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice




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