Advanced Qualitative Methods

Key information

Start date:
24 May 2023
Attendance dates:

24 May 2023

Time commitment:
1 day
Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
Contact details:


This course moves beyond the basics of qualitative methodology, to consider a number of advanced methods for collecting data – namely object, elite and mobile interviewing. The training will focus on the importance of methods design and fit; ethical considerations; implementation skills; overcoming challenges; and implications of the method for analysis and presenting results. Three main advance methods will be focused on, but others considered. The first is object interviewing, where a physical prompt can either be provided by the researcher or brought in by participants as a focus for the interview schedule. The second is elite interviewing, where power dynamics between the researcher and participant can demand specific techniques, as well as important practical considerations. Finally, mobile interviewing will be explored, where data is collected ‘on the move’ such as during a walk, journey or shared activity.

The course is primarily designed for researchers with some understanding of basic qualitative methods, but who wish to gain practical tips for developing their skills further and extending their methodological toolkit to include a range of more specialist techniques. The course leader is an experienced social researcher who will draw on her own research and use of these methods, as well as established practice within the social sciences.

Taught on campus in a small group setting, the sessions explaining and evaluating the advanced techniques will include examination of research case studies, and will be interspersed with practical exercises to build your own skills and confidence in them and trouble shooting. The course leader will also be happy to address specific queries raised by course participants either during the sessions or in the breaks.

  • Please note: this course does not cover the use of computer software programmes to assist qualitative data analysis. See events run by the CAQDAS networking project at the University of Surrey for training on specific CAQDAS packages.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the nature of qualitative methodology and creative ways to approach data collection
  • To be able to reflect on the strengths, weaknesses and appropriate application of different advanced qualitative methods, particularly those of object, elite and mobile interviewing
  • To apply the techniques explored in practical data collection sessions and to reflect on your skills development
  • To understand the ethic and analytic considerations of using these methods.

Course content

  • The nature of qualitative data and creative approaches to collection
  • Object interviewing as a method for delving deeper
  • Elites: techniques for working with powerful and busy participants
  • Data collection on the go: avoiding injury and gaining multiple data types
  • Practical exercises in pairs and small groups
  • Final reflections, trouble shooting and ongoing sources of support.

Learning and teaching methods

Presentations, discussions, guided exercises, independent group exercises.



Course leader

Jill Timms profile image

Dr Jill Timms

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Jill Timms has over 20 years’ experience in social research and teaching social research methods. Her research interests are in the sociology of work and organisations, sustainability as it relates to jobs and supply chains, corporate social responsibility, global activism and methodological innovation. Jill is a full time Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Surrey University and Co-Director of our Short Courses Programme.

Entry requirements

A basic understanding of standard qualitative methods will be helpful.

Fees and funding

Price per person:




Education and charitable sector applicants


Government and commercial sector applicants

What these fees include

Course materials, lunch, refreshments and parking.

How to apply

Applications will be through our online store.

Apply now

Terms and conditions

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Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Nita Walker Administrative Officer, Short Courses

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH