Study abroad in Edinburgh

Course finder

Semester 1

Qualitative Research: Principles and Practicalities for Social Policy (SCPL10040)


Social Policy





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Visiting students should have passed at least 3 Social Policy or closely related courses at grade B or above, INCLUDING a course equivalent to Research Skills for Social Policy (SCPL08015). We will only consider University/College level courses. This course cannot be taken alongside Research Skills for Social Policy (SCPL08015).

Course Summary

'Qualitative Research: Principles and Practicalities for Social Policy' will equip students with the qualitative research skills necessary to appreciate, critically assess, and undertake qualitative research relevant to their social policy degree. The course has two main purposes: first to enable students to develop as ethical and research-minded scholars familiar with adopting a reflexive and inquiring stance towards social policy problems; and second to enable students to develop their knowledge and skills of key qualitative methods suitable for social policy analysis.

Course Description

Understanding and effectively utilising appropriate qualitative methods is an essential skill for undertaking social policy analysis. Building on the broad year two 'Research Skills for Social Policy' (which introduces students to research design, quantitative and qualitative approaches, data collection, analysis, and reporting processes), 'Qualitative Research: Principles and Practicalities for Social Policy' in year three focuses specifically on advancing knowledge and skills for the use of various qualitative research methods for social policy analysis. Through participation on this course students will also develop core research competencies such as reflexive and ethical practice, alongside technical research skills required for qualitative data collection and analysis, in order to examine social policy problems and potential solutions. Through a blended research approach, the course combines a one hour lecture with one hour 'research in practice' session each week. The research in practice sessions may include live in-person presentations or live or pre-recorded on-line talks. Each week members of academic staff or external research collaborators contribute examples from their own research experience to provide insights into the qualitative research method discussed that week, reflecting on methodological choices, ethical processes, skills, and practicalities. Through this approach the course introduces students to the research being carried out in the social policy subject area and to contemporary approaches to social policy research in Scotland. Complimenting these teaching methods, weekly 'research labs' provide the space and support for practice sessions where students work independently and in groups to develop their experience undertaking qualitative research skills, such as designing interviews, coding in documentary analysis, and examining participatory research plans.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course


All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer