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Mon 6 Feb, Mon 13 Feb, Mon 20 Feb 2023
14:00 - 16:00

Venue: Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Programme


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Qualitative Interviews with Vulnerable Groups

Mon 6 Feb, Mon 13 Feb, Mon 20 Feb 2023


Qualitative research methods are often used in the social sciences to learn more about the world and are often considered to be particularly appropriate for people who might be considered vulnerable. The goal of this course is to encourage students to think critically about the concept of 'vulnerability'; to offer a practical guide to conducting qualitative research that responds to the vulnerabilities of participants and researchers; and to explore ways of challenging and resisting research practices that could be extractive or harmful. It will be highly discursive and will draw throughout on ‘real life’ research examples. The course will be of interest to students who are conducting, or planning to conduct, research with a group considered vulnerable, and will also be of interest to students who want to critically engage with such research in their field.

For a more detailed outline of each session please see the 'Learning Outcomes' section below.

Content warning: Throughout, the course will cover the experience and effects of different forms of trauma. The first session will touch on the lecturer's research with people affected by criminal exploitation.

Content warnings for other sessions will be raised at the end of the preceding session and emailed, where necessary. If you have any concerns you would like to raise with me regarding these matters, please do email the lecturer.

Target audience
  • University Students from Tier 1 Departments
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here

Number of sessions: 3

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Mon 6 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre map Dr Hannah Marshall
2 Mon 13 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre map Dr Hannah Marshall
3 Mon 20 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre map Dr Hannah Marshall
Topics covered

Session One: Critical approaches to 'vulnerability'

To critically evaluate the utility of ‘vulnerability’ as a concept in qualitative research; to think about the ways in which certain forms of research can produce or exploit vulnerability.

Session Two: Doing research with people who are considered 'vulnerable'

To discuss practical considerations in relation to qualitative research with people who are considered 'vulnerable'; to experiment with different approaches to research design and practice in a safe and supportive environment; to develop and appraise your practical interview skills.

Session Three: Vulnerability and representation

To think about how questions of vulnerability play out in the process of analysing and writing, and to think about how who the audience is shapes how we write ethically and rigorously

Throughout all three sessions: to develop criteria for high quality research that addresses issues of ‘vulnerability’

Reading List

There is no mandatory reading for the class, but a short reading list will be added to Moodle before the beginning of Lent 2023.

How to book

Click the "Booking" button panel on the left-hand sidebar (on a phone, this will be via a link called Booking/Availability near the top of the page).


Moodle is the 'Virtual Learning Environment' (VLE) that the SSRMP uses to deliver online courses.

SSRMP lecturers use Moodle to make teaching resources available before, during, and/or after classes, and to make announcements and answer questions.

For this reason, it is vital that all SSRMP students enrol onto and explore their course Moodle pages once booking their SSRMP modules via the UTBS, and that they do so before their module begins. Moodle pages for modules should go live around a week before the module commences, but some may be made visible to students, earlier.

For more information, and links to specific Moodle module pages, please visit our website

Qualitative Methods

Booking / availability