Qualitative Techniques of Sociological Research

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

It is recommended that the students have knowledge on Methodology of Research, but it is not mandatory.


Teaching Methods

Active methods are the most performed. The expository method is used just to explain concepts and convey guidelines for the implementation of activities, meanwhile the interrogative method is used to explore the experiences of students with the techniques in study and challenging them to think how to do research with each one of them. Classes are both theoretical and laboratorial, implying individual or group work in class, to build observation protocols. Learning requires participation in classes, making individual extra class independent work and also conducting fieldwork.

Learning Outcomes

Overall objectives-The main objective of this cu is to provide students with the know-how to use qualitative techniques of sociological observation.

Specific objectives-The specific objectives are that students might be able: to define the nature of the information produced by each one of the techniques of qualitative research; to recognize and to put into practice the best technique to use in each qualitative empirical research, depending of its objectives; to plan and implement the fieldwork; to treat qualitative data for analysis.

Competencies-The student shall after completing the cu show the following competencies:

Generic:  capacity to reflect on the research methods applied in published research in a theoretically and practically informed way, and reflexively plan the application of research methods in his/her own research

Specific: Capacity to define qualitative research questions and gather qualitative data through interviews, focus groups, observations, documentary analysis.

Work Placement(s)



I. Techniques of sociological research – Introduction

1. Theory, Method and Techniques of sociological research

2. Systematic and controlled observation

II – Qualitative Research – methodological and epistemological issues

3. Momentum of Qualitative Research

3.1 Theoretical perspectives

3.2 Validity and Reliability

III – Techniques of Sociological Observation: collecting data

4. Interviewing

4.1 Types of individual and collective interviews

4.2 Defining the situation of interviewing - the interactionist approach

4.3 Factors affecting interviews

4.4 Conducting interviews in different styles

4.5 Focused interview

5. Ethnographic techniques

5.1 Participant observation

5.2 Ethics and role of the observer

5.3 Techniques of registering and codifying

6. Life stories

6.1 Methodological issues of life stories

6.2 The "assemblage"

7. Documents

7.1 Types of documents

7.2 Criteria of selection

Head Lecturer(s)

Virgínia do Carmo Ferreira

Assessment Methods

Final Assessment
Exam: 100.0%

Continuous Assessment
2 written reports on fieldwork on interview and observation (60% = 7.5 + 4.5 p.) - 2 written tests (40%=2 x 4). : 100.0%


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• COUTINHO, Clara Pereira, Metodologia em ciências sociais e humanas, Coimbra, Almedina, 2011.
• FLICK, UWE, Uma introdução à pesquisa qualitativa (3.ª ed.), tradução de Joice Elias Costa, 2009.
• FODDY, William, Como perguntar: teoria e prática da construção de perguntas em entrevistas e questionários, Oeiras, Celta, 1996.
• GHIGLIONE, Rodolphe, Benjamin MATALON, O inquérito: teoria e prática, Oeiras, Celta Editora, 1992.
• METODOLOGIAS DA PESQUISA QUALITATIVA EM EDUCAÇÃO – Teoria e Prática, Wivian Weller & Nicole Pfaff (orgs.), Petrópollis, Editora Vozes, 2010.
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• POIRIER, Jean, S. Clapier-Valladon, Paul R., Histórias de vida: teoria e prática, Oeiras, Celta Editora, 1995.
• PRÁTICAS E MÉTODOS DE INVESTIGAÇÃO EM CIÊNCIAS SOCIAIS, Luc Albarello... et al., Lisboa, Gradiva, 1997.