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 Everyday Social Lives, Everyday Social Worlds: Introducing Ethnomethodology
Code SOCI329
Coordinator Dr MD Mair
Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15


This module will chart the development of ethnomethodology and situate it intellectually in wider fields of inquiry but its primary purpose is to provide a hands-on introduction to the unique way ethnomethodology approaches the study of social practices. Centred on the analysis of empirical materials curated and/or produced as part of small-scale studies carried out by students for themselves, the module will look at how instructional resources can be analysed ethnomethodologically. Among other things, then, this module will:

• Offer an understanding of ethnomethodology that highlights its radical character as an approach to the study of social life.
• Provide guidance in the transcription, re-presentation and analysis of research materials including texts, images and videos.
• Provide an introduction to simple techniques for preparing ethnomethodologically-relevant data (e.g., audio, image and video files) and working with these mater ials in data sessions.
• Facilitate approaches to ‘rethinking’ third-party data along ethnomethodological lines.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate knowledge of the origins and trajectories of studies in ethnomethodology.

(LO2) Gain technical skill in simple data editing techniques (video, audio or image data).

(LO3) Work up an ethnomethodological analysis of gathered data (e.g., via transcribing/editing/re-presenting data in data sessions).

(LO4) Reflect on the ways in which ethnomethodology helps open up everyday social life and social worlds.

(S1) Ethical Awareness: The module will teach students how to work with online, public domain data according to ethical standards.

(S2) Technical Skills: The module will provide introductions to basic media (audio, video, image) editing techniques for the purposes of preparing data for presentation.

(S3) Research Skills: The module will teach students how to conceive, conduct and reflect on the import of empirical studies.

(S4) Analytical Skills: The module will teach students how to think critically and analytically about research materials in order to probe the taken-for-granted character of everyday social practices.

(S5) Intellectual Creativity: By allowing students to explore independent research interests in their assessments, the module will help students foster their intellectual creativity.



This module introduces students to the practical organisation of everyday social life and life-worlds, covering a range of topics including:

• Classic and contemporary ethnomethodological research: key works and ideas.
• Methods for studying everyday social lives and worlds.
• Working with a range of media to recover everyday practices.

Readings will be supplied (via Canvas) in relation to every topic covered and will be covered in lectures, support sessions and workshops. As students on the module develop an assignment focus and theme, further readings – available via the library – will be suggested to bolster assignment work.

The module will discuss best ethical practice in working with third party data but no personal data will be gathered as part of it. Instead, the data that will be the focus of the module’s assessment will either be public domain (e.g., videos on YouTube or that are explicitly pub lic domain, or handbooks/how to guides produced for public consumption) and/or videos that the students record featuring themselves only (e.g., producing a tutorial/instruction video where only they are in shot, if they consent to do it). Students will also be asked to reflect on their experiences of navigating settings around them (bus queues, supermarket shopping, being in the university, etc.) but this will be a reflective exercise and will not involve data gathering.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1: 6x Lectures and 11x Support Sessions

Scheduled Directed Student Hours: 17

Unscheduled Directed Student Hours: 0

Description: Lectures and support sessions will form a key part of the way in which this module is delivered. Running over a two-hour session, in the first half of the module there will be 6 lectures covering core areas within ethnomethodology, introducing students to the study of everyday social life and offering conceptual and methodological guidance on how to study it. These will be followed by a support session in which questions can be raised and further demonstrations given of the key points covered in the lecture. From week 7 onwards, these two-hour blocks will be used as extended support sessions in the run up to the assignment. Should COVID-19-related or other timetabling issues arise, this aspect of the module can be moved online, using Canvas and other resources to deliver the skills and learning outcomes remotely (e.g., scheduled “clinic sessions” on Zoom to troubleshoot students’ technical work, etc.), and communicate tasks week-by-week.

Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2: Workshops

Scheduled Directed Student Hours: 22

Unscheduled Directed Student Hours: 22

Description: This module will be make extensive use of weekly workshops, though the nature of the content of those workshop sessions will shift according to the topics and activities at hand. Workshop sessions may, then, variously comprise a set of components including seminar sessions with readings and/or other materials to discuss, technical sessions (e.g., guided walkthroughs of using software packages to work with and prepare data of various kinds) and data sessions where students collaboratively analytically explore the research materials they will be using for their assessments. Should COVID-19-related issues arise that have an impact on the teaching spaces available, this as pect of the module can be moved online, using Canvas and other resources to deliver the skills and learning outcomes remotely (e.g., pre-recorded lectures and guided walkthroughs, using Zoom to host collaborative data sessions between students, etc), and communicate tasks week-by-week.

Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3: Independent Study

Self-Directed Learning Hours: 106

Description: Independent study, including reading, preparing and writing assessments, and any data preparation and analysis required for the assessments that could not be completed within class.

Attendance Recorded: No

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 6




Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 106


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2 Assessment Title: Research Report Assessment Type: Project with report Duration / Size: 2,000 words with additional resources (e.g., annotated audio, visual or video data) We    100       

Recommended Texts

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