Qualitative research in social organization

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The module provides students with the theoretical and methodological competencies necessary to analyse social organisations with the main qualitative research methods.
One of the main objectives of the module is to understand the challenges and complexities associated with qualitative research, and to offer students the opportunity to learn an appropriate use of qualitative research methods in order to analyse, with a cultural approach, both organisations and social phenomena. In particular, through the construction in the classroom of an interview guide, and the discussion about a qualitative research design, the module aims to train students to conduct a face-to-face interview with a professional in the world of communication, and to be able to present in the classroom the collected empirical material.
More generally, the module aims to develop the skills that allow students to define research objectives, to autonomously identify research questions, and to choose consistent methodological approaches and techniques for the analysis of specific organisational and social processes. For this purpose, the main methods of data collection - interviews, participant observation, focus groups - and the main ethical issues in carrying out qualitative research will be illustrated. These are further developed through lectures supported by slides, team work and the projection of audiovisual materials to be discussed in the classroom.
Consistently with the general objectives of the Degree in which it is included, the course of Qualitative research in social organisations aims to provide students with theoretical and methodological competences for analysing organisational and social contexts in contemporary society.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the module Qualitative research in social organisations, students are expected to have acquired competences and skills related to: (i) the main theoretical perspectives underlying qualitative research; (ii) the main phases of an empirical research in social organisations; (iii) the choice and use of a methodological approach and of research techniques to study organisational and social contexts. The expected learning outcomes also include the acquisition of adequate communication skills, particularly regarding the use of the specific language relating to the theoretical and methodological aspects of a cultural approach to the study of organisations. These skills will also be developed through the independent work of students and the moments of collective discussion in the classroom, where students' argumentative skills will be tested, both with respect to the interpretation of the organisational and social phenomena discussed during the lectures, and regarding the construction of research tools. The final assessment aims to verify the expected learning outcomes in relation to the process of knowledge transfer and the ability to critically discuss concepts, theoretical and methodological perspectives regarding the topic of qualitative research in social organisations as illustrated during the module.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Course syllabus
The module provides students with the theoretical and methodological competencies necessary to analyse social organisations with the main qualitative research methods. The lectures are organised in two parts. The first part addresses the growing relevance of the narrative approach in understanding social processes, and proposes some possible directions of inquiry, including the discussion of empirical research conducted in different organisational and social contexts. The second focuses on the ethnographic approach to the study of organisations and on the cultural and symbolic aspects of organisational life.
For students attending the course, an exercise is also planned, with the aim of understanding the main phases of a research: the design of the study, the construction of the research tools, the field work and the analysis of the collected material.
Prerequisites for admission
There are no requirements for prior knowledge and skills.
Teaching methods
The lectures combine the use of slides (then uploaded on the dedicated Ariel site) together with audio-visual aids. Questions and collective discussion are strongly encouraged. Team/group discussions are also planned, under the supervision of the teacher.
Teaching Resources
- Poggio, B. (2004). Mi racconti una storia?: il metodo narrativo nelle scienze sociali. Carocci.
- Colombo E. (2001). Etnografia dei mondi contemporanei. Limiti e potenzialità del metodo etnografico nell'analisi della complessità. Rassegna italiana di sociologia, 42(2) 205-230.
- Gherardi S., Nicolini D. (2001). Il pensiero pratico. Un'etnografia dell'apprendimento. Rassegna italiana di sociologia, 42(2) 231-256.
- Gandini, A. (2015). Il lavoro freelance: reputazione e capitale sociale nell'era del "lavoro digitale". Quaderni di Sociologia, 69, 87-106.
- Zambelli, L., Teli, M., & Murgia, A. (2013). L'auto-rappresentanza del precariato nei media digitali: un contributo metodologico dal caso della rete dei redattori precari. Sociologia della comunicazione, 46, 113-130.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Achievement for the module will be assessed by a variety of methods in accordance with the learning outcomes and will involve the achievement of the students in:
- Evidencing the ability and understanding needed to illustrate the theoretical and methodological approaches discussed in the module;
- Demonstrating the ability to critically engage with different approaches to conduct qualitative research in social organisations.
The final assessment is written with open-ended questions, and it takes place immediately after the end of the module. Students attending the module will be also assessed by a variety of methods including participation, developing an interview guide, conducting independent in-depth enquiry using techniques of social research, discussing the main results.
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Murgia Annalisa
Wednesday 11.00-14.00
Please, get in touch via email to schedule a meeting