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ET214: Qualitative Research


In this module, you will develop your ability to conduct qualitative research on language, culture and communication related topics and issues. As well as content from engaging lectures and seminars, you will drive your own learning by designing, carrying out and writing up your own original qualitative research project on a language, culture and communication issue or topic you are interested in. You will be guided every step of the way through constructive feedback and reflective tasks as you put your qualitative toolkit into practice to build your own theoretical ideas about language, culture and communication. Additionally, this module is designed to give you an opportunity to develop skills and attributes you need to be able to conduct research in the future including resilience, intellectual curiosity, confidence in making decisions, personal and project management and critical thinking. The ability to conduct research is a highly sought-after skill by employers as the world becomes increasingly reliant on research-informed insights and this module arms you with a toolkit to meet this need

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Develop and demonstrate your critical thinking skills with regards to qualitative research and issues at the interface between language, culture and communication.
  • Conceptualise social issues through a qualitative perspective on the world.
  • How to design, run and report on qualitative research so you can undertake your own studies in the future.
  • Identify and distinguish between different qualitative research approaches and their suitability to an identified research issue.
  • Adjust data collection methods to respond to particular settings and circumstances that arise in the course of conducting qualitative research.
  • Describe and apply relevant procedures for analysing data qualitatively.
  • Design, carry out and report on an issue while attending to the principles and practices of the qualitative paradigm.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.


Research Project

3000-word report (100%)

Preparatory Reading

  • Heigham, J., & Croker, R. A. (Eds.). (2009). Qualitative research in applied linguistics: A practical introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Exemplary student projects

  • How does flirting work? A detailed examination of direct and indirect language use in flirting strategies.
  • Drinking culture: What are the social experiences at university of students that don’t drink alcohol?
  • Are university campuses really integrated? Evidence from Chinese international students’ experiences fitting in on UK university campuses.
  • Dating in a foreign language: what challenges do intercultural daters face?
  • The role of sexuality in negotiating identity: an investigation into the social integration of homosexual students in a university setting.
  • Addressing the gender imbalance: what are the experiences of female academic staff in the male dominated computer science department?
  • Does communication become more hostile within an eSports team when it is losing?

Academic Staff

Kieran File