Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Rapid Ethnography and Rapid Appraisal
Code SOCI502
Coordinator Prof RPN Coomber
Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2019-20 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 5


To provide a critical introduction to the methodological, practical and effective undertaking of rapid ethnographic and rapid appraisal research.
To highlight the advantages and benefits of the research approach for researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders.
To enable critical discrimination of the worth of Key Respondents (Key Informants/Key Persons) in the rapid appraisal milieu
To demonstrate the efficacy of rapid ethnographic and rapid appraisal research with reference to key studies of complex cross-cultural and criminal behaviours about which little is known.
To enable students to have good critical insight of, and the research design knowledge to carry out, rapid ethnography/rapid appraisal themselves.
To provide critical insight into the benefits of mixed-methods/triangulated research for rapid appraisals
To demonstrate how Key Person data cannot be simply trusted even when the participant is being ‘truthful’

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To understand the methodological underpinnings of rapid appraisal and rapid ethnography and how to design and undertake them effectively

(LO2) To understand the impact related advantages and benefits of the research approach for researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders.

(LO3) To be able to effectively discriminate the relative worth of Key Respondents (Key Informants/Key Persons) and other data in the design and implementation of rapid appraisal/ethnography.

(LO4) To understand the key role of the researcher in interpreting and analysing data – especially in relation to Key Person data.

(S1) Observational skills and sensitivity awareness

(S2) Effective informed design of rapid appraisal and rapid ethnographic projects

(S3) Developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk and project management, formulating questions and combining methods effectively, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting and using; applying ethics

(S4) Problem solving, critical thinking, creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.



This module seeks to enable students to integrate rapid appraisal and rapid ethnography into their existing research repertoire. It is designed for individuals who have little to no experience in using rapid methods to undertake social research, but are interested in carrying out rapid, credible and impactful research that has strong potential to both interest and inform policymakers/other stakeholders where relevant knowledge is in particular deficit but rapid constructive action using a relevant evidence base is needed.
Workshop 1
• Introduction to Rapid Appraisal Methodology & Principles
• Introduction to Rapid Ethnography Methodology & Principles
• Contextualising and Understanding Data: Critical/Discriminating Use of Key Respondents
• Understanding the Importance of Mixed Methods and Triangulation in Rapid Appraisals
• Understanding the Place of Reflexivity and Interpretation in the RA/RE Proces s
• An Exploration of Real Life Examples of Rapid Ethnography and Rapid Appraisal
• Ethics in Rapid Appraisal and Rapid Ethnography
Workshop 2
• Practice Design of a Local Rapid Appraisal/Rapid Ethnographic Project
• Rapid Ethnographic Walkabout/Observation of Salient Local Issue and Report Back
• Developing & Planning Research Outputs from Rapid Appraisals and Ethnographies

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module will be taught over two sessions/days using lectures, discussion and practical exercises in which the main themes of the course will be discussed and reflected upon.
Students will be expected to engage with the reading provided to support the teaching and to demonstrate their ability to study independently. The sessions will be interspersed with activities in which students will carry out practical exercises to consolidate their understanding of the research design/analytic approaches covered in the course.
A rapid ethnographic observation exercise will be undertaken.
480 minutes in total split over 2 days (240 minutes on each day) in a single week.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 8

Timetable (if known) 240 mins X 2 totaling 8
Private Study 0


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Critically aware research project proposal that demonstrates understanding of RA/RE principles and how and why they are to be applied to the specific research design/project proposed.  -1500 words    100       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.