Coursework Brief

Coursework 1 is a 2000 word qualitative report.

Given qualitative data collection is very time consuming, and that ethical approval would need to be obtained, the data will be provided to you.

The interview data has been taken from the Higher Education Academy (HEA) website. There are five interviews in total1. For your actual coursework, you need to analyse only one from:

  1. Alexander
  2. Trevor
  3. Deborah

You should choose only one of the following methods to base your report on:

  1. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), or
  2. Discourse Analysis (DA)

1We shall use the other two interviews (Shazia and Louise) to demonstrate the concepts of analysis (e.g., IPA/DA) in the workshops. Although the methods you learn on the data used in the workshops maybe applicable to your chosen interview data for your actual report, the results will likely be different. Therefore, it is important that when reading and analysing your chosen interview you keep in mind that your own personal research question as this will guide your own analysis and interpretation of the data (i.e., in other words, you should not let yourself be influenced by exposure to the examples of analysis in the workshops; they do not transfer across all interview data).

Marking Criteria

The report will be assessed using an adapted version of the Psychology School marking criteria for qualitative reports. To structure your report, you are advised to incorporate the following sections2.

  • Title
    • Create an appropriate title for your report.
  • Abstract:
    • Overview of your research question, data collection method, method of analysis, your findings (i.e., key themes) and a brief summary of the main strengths and weaknesses of the method employed.
  • Research question:
    • A clear statement outlining your research question. This should reflect the nature of the data (i.e., friendship) you have been given, and should consider the approach you are taking (IPA/DA). There is no introduction/literature review required for this report.3
  • Data collection method:
    • State the method used to collect the data, and why.
    • In this section you should provide details of how the raw data was obtained (i.e., background participant information, and the particular interview technique used).
  • Method of analysis:
    • State what method you have used and why, describe this approach to analysis and why you have chosen to use it (i.e., theoretical justification).
    • Describe the process of analysis. That is, explain the different stages used in analysing the data (e.g., a step-by-step guide of what you did)
    • Cite relevant methodological theory/literature that underpinned your approach to analysing the data.
  • Results/findings:
    • This refers to the write up of the analysis.
    • Present the analysis by theme headings, using illustrative data extracts from the transcript and provide interpretative commentary.
    • Refer to published examples of research using your chosen method of analysis (IPA/DA) for examples of the format this should follow.
  • Discussion:
    • A brief summary of the findings.
    • This should be followed by a discussion of the benefits and limitations of using the method chosen in comparison with the other (e.g., if you used IPA, make a comparison to DA, and vice versa).
  • References:
    • Provide a full reference list, in CU Harvard format, that matches the sources cited in the body of your report.
  • Appendices
    • Although optional, it is encouraged that you append a 2 page extract of your annotated interview transcript (i.e, coding) so your analysis can be verified.
    • This can be done by using the ‘comments’ function of word or by hand
    • Transcripts annotated by hand can be scanned to the hardcopy version

Further criteria for the reports include:

  • The inclusion of an appropriate title (this should not be the same as your statement of the research question); appropriate sections and headings; English spelling and grammar (persistent errors rather than a few); application of CU Harvard referencing; writing clearly and concisely (the appendices and data extracts are not included in this word count).
  • If you are repeating the module, you are permitted to use the same type of analysis again (e.g., IPA), but using a different data set (e.g., if you analysed Trevor’s interview previously you must choose a different one this time around). Failure to comply with these rules will result in a mark of 0, and may put you at risk of being penalised for self-plagiarism.

2 You are advised to read qualitative journal articles to gain an idea on structuring your work. Although bear in mind, in the case of this report an introduction is not required.

3 The aim of this report is to assess your understanding of qualitative research methods. As such, no specialist knowledge of the subject matter (i.e., friendship) is expected here meaning you do not need to write an introduction. Typically, in the event of conducting an actual qualitative study (e.g., your final year dissertation), the report would include a review of literature to show how the research question had been developed.

Formatting Guidelines

Submitted written coursework must be typed using:

  • UK English language and spelling
  • Double-spaced lines
  • Size 12 font, using an appropriate type (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial)
  • CU Harvard referencing style (a guide is available at the top of this webpage).

Recommended Reading

  • Crowley, C. (2010). Writing up the qualitative methods research report. In M. Forrester (Ed.) Doing Qualitative Research in Psychology: A practical guide. London: Sage.
  • Frost, N. (Ed.) (2011). Qualitative research methods. In psychology combining core approaches. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
  • Smith, JA., Flowers, P. and Larkin M. (2009)Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. London: Sage.
  • Willig, C. (2008). Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and method. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.

The above reading is recommended to help you get started on your coursework. You might also be directed to further background reading in your lectures or links maybe posted on this webpage. Beyond the help provided, you are advised to use further resources (e.g., library catalogue, Locate) to support your coursework. This should include a range of evidence (e.g., book chapters, journal articles).