Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM140: Qualitative Methods in Social Research

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

 Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • Introduction
  • Ethics
  • Case selection and the comparative method
  • Process tracing
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
  • Historicism and Interpretivism
  • Discourse and content analysis
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Participatory research
  • Ethnography





Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211x 2 hour seminars (lectures and student presentations)
Guided independent study100Directed readings
Guided independent study42Preparation of presentation
Guided independent study136Coursework completion - conducting research, analysing data, writing the finished product

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).


More links:

Other Learning Resources

Politics Essay Writing Guide: 

You can find lots of advice relating to essay writing at:

You can also find other useful advice related to general study skills at: