PSYCH 743 : Critical Qualitative Research in Aotearoa


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Equips students with conceptual, theoretical, political and practical understandings of what it means to do critical, qualitative research in psychology in Aotearoa. Situates methods in relation to who researchers are, where we are, and how we collaborate, including obligations and opportunities provided by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and Indigenous-led approaches.

Course Overview

We live and produce knowledge in an unjust world; what and how we research can be part of social change. In Aotearoa New Zealand, social issues are often represented in media and public life as intractable, naturalised or subject to the whims of political cycles. Critical qualitative research provides a way of gaining deep and targeted insight into social phenomena to explicate avenues for change. We might closely attend to discourse and formulate the matrices of power that undergird the messiness of public debate and vociferous opinions. We might closely attend to the contours of lived experience, bringing to light marginalised and invisiblised subjectivities, knowledges, and innovative approaches to thriving. We might work with communities to develop knowledges and strategies for change. Critical qualitative research approaches are numerous, but require careful consideration in their selection and implementation. This course introduces and interrogates key concepts and knowledge, equipping you for situated, reflexive qualitative research practice.
This graduate-level course (part of the offerings within the BA(Hons), BSc(Hons) and PGDip (Arts/Science) programme) is designed for those who are interested in exploring the possibilities for critical qualitative research and knowledge making for social change. With specific reference to our local context of Aotearoa New Zealand, we discuss topics relating to: researcher positionality and reflexivity; ethical considerations and relational ethics; decolonising methodologies in and, for psychology; critical theories (ways of thinking, knowing and being); approaches to data collection; approaches to data analyses; and social issues and scholar activism.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of the considerations for shaping research questions in critical qualitative research, from the articulation of an idea towards the development and refinement of a set of questions. (Capability 1 and 3)
  2. Critically discuss ethical and reflexive processes, practices and relationships for research. (Capability 1, 2, 5 and 6)
  3. Adopt personal reflexivity and relational ethics across the learning contexts (classroom discussion, assignments). (Capability 1, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Explain how and why knowledge is political and evaluate the ways that matters. (Capability 2, 4 and 6)
  5. Reflexively discuss obligations and opportunities provided by Te Tiriti o Waitangi for critical qualitative research in Aotearoa. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Describe decolonial approaches to research methodologies and application in researcher practice. (Capability 1, 2, 5 and 6)
  7. Critically discuss conceptual theories, compatibilities, and tensions in critical qualitative research. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  8. Understand a range of approaches to data collection and analysis for critical qualitative research. (Capability 1, 3, 5 and 6)
  9. Critically evaluate research designed to create social change and how to move beyond conventional approaches to research and knowledge making. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  10. Demonstrate understanding of all elements of critical qualitative research in Aotearoa, through the development of a robust coherent research proposal. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Developing a research question 10% Individual Coursework
Ethics and politics of research 10% Individual Coursework
Approaches to data collection and analysis 10% Individual Coursework
Full research proposal 60% Individual Coursework
Discussions 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Developing a research question
Ethics and politics of research
Approaches to data collection and analysis
Full research proposal


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

  • Researcher positionality and reflexivity
  • Ethical considerations and relational ethics
  • Decolonising methodologies in and for psychology
  • Critical theories (ways of thinking, knowing and being)
  • Approaches to data collection
  • Approaches to data analyses
  • Social issues and scholar activism

Special Requirements

  • This is primarily a discussion-based course, grounded in relational ethics. This means students will be asked to consider knowledge and learning as located, an embodied practice, and relational (part of the whole class). Students are expected to come to class prepared to participate (e.g. through having done the reading) in the learning discussions, grounded in mana-enhancing critical questioning and a spirit of care. Critical learning tasks align with this expectation.
  • Additionally, there are safeguards and requirements for learning about Indigenous knowledges and approaches - which are explained in the learning guidelines associated with this course, and will be available on Canvas.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in. For this course, you can expect 2 hours per week of seminar/lecture class time, and 8 hours of reading/thinking connected to a) weekly content preparation and, b) work-related to assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is expected at lectures.
  • Lectures will not be available as recordings and the course will not include live online events.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Core (required) and suggested additional readings will be available via a digital reading list. You are not expected to do all readings, but use them as needed to enhance your learning experience.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

We continue to improve the course based on student feedback.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 02/11/2022 11:14 a.m.