Qualitative Approaches to the Study of Political Violence (DL) HIST5191

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This PGT module can be taken as part of any of the History PGT programmes, as PhD training, or as an independent study module by museum curators, archivists, teachers and other community-based practitioners. It focuses on qualitative approaches to the study of political violence-a broad term that encapsulates violations ranging from 'subtle' structural inequalities to more overt conflicts, such as war and related mass atrocities. It will focus on building a theoretical framework for understanding political violence, introduce and discuss different qualitative methodologies and involve practical experience of designing and implementing a mini qualitative research project directly related to students' individual postgraduate dissertation projects, or museum, archive, or community work on political violence.


Two hours per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Research design and ethics application (40%) - 2,000 words

Reflective essay (60%) - 2,500 words

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ develop the intellectual interests and analytical skills acquired by students during their first two years.

■ introduce students to previously unfamiliar methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options.

■ offer the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing.

■ nurture familiarity with complex historical debates and interpretations.

■ develop skills in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from the lecturers' current research

■ develop transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving teamwork.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Gain a wide knowledge of qualitative methodologies and their strengths and limitations for studying political violence;

■ Develop skills in the critical analysis of historical, oral historical, and ethnographic sources;

■ Acquire first-hand experience in producing their own source material by conducting an interview or participant observation within a community;

■ Develop skills related to evaluating oral, archival, and ethnographic sources in light of existing historiography on a topic; 

■ Explore the potential of oral history, archival research, and ethnography for educating and engaging the public;

■ Improve their written and analytical skills via class discussion and submission of formal assessed work.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.