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Online Lessons

Qualitative Research Methods (Online Lesson)


Last updated 17 Aug 2021

In this online lesson students are introduced to the strengths and limitations of a number of research methods that tend to produce qualitative data. Several key terms are covered (e.g. validity, verstehen, objectivity, subjectivity, interviewer effect, Hawthorne effect).

What you will study in this online lesson

  • Which research methods commonly produce qualitative data
  • Strengths and limitations of interviews
  • Strengths and limitations of observations
  • Strengths and limitations of personal and historical documents
  • An overview of other methods

How to use this lesson

Follow along in order of the activities shown below. Some are interactive game-based activities, designed to test your understanding, analysis and evaluation of research methods; others are based on short videos, that include activities for you to think about and try at home.

If you would like to download a simple PDF worksheet to accompany the video activities, you can download it here. You can print it off and annotate it for your own notes, or make your own notes on a separate piece of paper to add to your school/college file.

Activity 1: "Match Up" game

A quick check on learning from the last lesson (quantitative methods)

Activity 2: Introduction to Qualitative Methods

This video outlines the methods that will be considered in this lesson and some of the key concepts.

Introduction to Qualitative Methods

Activity 3: Interviews
This video explores the different kinds of interview and their strengths and limitations for sociological researchers.


Activity 4: Connection Wall game

Testing your knowledge and understanding of sociological interviews

Activity 5: Observations

In this video, you will investigate the different types of observations and evaluate their usefulness as a form of sociological research.


Activity 6: Clear the Decks game

An activity to check your learning and understanding of observations

Activity 7: Documents

In this video, you will investigate the use of documents in sociological research, including personal & historical documents. For the home research task you may wish to visit this website for a historic diary or this website for magazine covers


Activity 8: Multiple Choice Quiz

An activity to test your understanding of all the methods

Activity 9: Research activity

Research longitudinal studies and case studies. Identify two examples of each and evaluate them against the “QQRVRPET” headings.

Extension activities

  1. Write a short report detailing the various “mini research” projects you attempted across the lessons, identifying findings and what worked well and less well for each method you attempted.
  2. Explore the tutor2u Sociology topic videos for theory and methods for more detail on these methods and to consider broader issues of theory, in preparation for Year 13.

Additional Teacher Guidance

30 minutes in total of guided video

20 to 25 minutes (throughout the videos) of "thinking time" and short activities

4 interactive games - you could ask your students to submit their score to you for Activity 8

An written research task, which we would expect to take approximately 30 minutes, and which you could ask students to submit for assessment

Some extension activities

If students complete all the main tasks fully, this is around 2 hours work.

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