Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Evening)
Coordinator(s)Dr Sian Supski


Previously coded SYM4005


This unit provides students with a broad introduction to the history, philosophy and practice of qualitative social research. It is designed to familiarise students with a variety of qualitative research methods used in disciplines including sociology. These include participant observation, in-depth interviewing and qualitative content analysis. We will also examine a range of theoretical and methodological issues involved in conducting qualitative research and consider some of the critiques and limitations of qualitative techniques. The meaning and significance of both ethics and reflexivity in research practice are also explored. Students completing the unit will also develop practical skills in conducting qualitative social research.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will have:

  1. An appreciation of the history, philosophy and practice of qualitative social research;
  2. An understanding of a range of methods used in qualitative social research;
  3. An awareness of some of the key issues, debates and controversies associated with conducting qualitative research, and an appreciation of the complexity of conducting such research;
  4. An appreciation of the meaning and role of both ethics and reflexivity in qualitative social research;
  5. andThe ability to practically undertake some kinds of qualitative social research.


Assignment 1 (4000 words) : 40%
Assignment 2 (5000 words): 60%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Sian Supski

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week