A changing culture? Qualitative methods teaching in U.K. psychology

Stephen Gibson*, Cath Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper surveys the landscape of qualitative methods teaching in U.K. psychology. First, we provide an overview of the administrative framework for this teaching and highlight the positive development that is the stipulation by key national bodies that undergraduate psychology programs should teach qualitative methods. Second, we discuss an attempt to meet the needs for training and resources that resulted from these stipulations and note how recent changes in the higher education funding landscape have made it more difficult to meet these needs. Third, we review literature on the teaching of qualitative methods in U.K. psychology departments and note the relative paucity of studies addressing this issue. In conclusion, we suggest that the key issue remains the stubbornness of the "quantitative culture" in many departments. The official bureaucratic infrastructure of U.K. psychology teaching may now mandate that qualitative methods be taught, but the tentative conclusions that can be drawn from what literature there is suggest that this obscures various practices at the departmental level, with many programs still providing little more than tokenistic engagement with qualitative methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Pedagogy
  • Qualitative methods
  • Teaching
  • United Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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