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[SI0030] - Social Research Methods

Module Code: SI0030
Module Leader: Luke Sloan
Year: 2
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20
Recommended 1st Year Modules: SI0124

Teaching Method: Lectures and workshops
Assessment: Coursework 3000 words (40%) - Autumn Semester; Coursework 3000 words (40%), Written examination 1 hour (20%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Criminology; Education; Social Science; Sociology; BPS Routes


Module Aims

The main aim of this  module is to enable students to conduct and critically evaluate social research. It will do this in two ways. Firstly it will explore the different philosophical and methodological debates within social sciences. Secondly, the course will develop students’ practical skills in a selection of these research methods.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Recognise the philosophical traditions that underpin social research and their implications for research practice
  • Compare and contrast different research methods and identify the research questions to which they are suited
  • Evaluate research design using ethical and methodological criteria.

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Collect social science data relevant to a specified research question and analyse it using appropriate techniques
  • Summarise, and if necessary apply, the principles that inform qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Identify the research methods used in published research and assess the consistency, completeness and relevance of their application.

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Discuss what it means to investigate a question scientifically and to illustrate this with examples
  • Explain how different types of data should be analysed and conclusions evaluated

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills: Use of  an online learning environment, written and oral communication skills, analytic skills, informed use of world wide web, use of specialist data analysis software.


Synopsis of Module Content

This double module provides a systematic introduction to key social research methods. It will build on the theoretical and philosophical perspectives that underpin research in the social sciences from SI0124  and provide instruction in the design and conduct of research projects. Topics to be covered will include:

  • philosophies of social science research;
  • research methods such as surveys, interviews, field studies, documents;
  • practical skills such as data collection, analysis;
  • use of IT for social research.

Opportunities for Formative Assessment

Tutorial tasks and discussions.


Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Tutors will provide written feedback on assessed course work and provide the opportunity for students to discuss their marks and comments. Generic cohort feedback will be given in lectures.


Indicative Reading

BRYMAN, A.  (2012)  Social research methods (Fourth Edition) Oxford, Oxford University Press

BABBIE, E.R. (2007) The practice of social research (11th ed.) Australia: Thomson Wadsworth.

BALNAVES, M. and CAPUTI, P (2001). Introduction to quantitative research methods: an investigative approach. London: SAGE.

BELL, J. (2005/2008) Doing Your Research Project (4th/electronic ed), Buckingham: Open University Press.

BERG, B.L. (2009)  Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (7th ed), Boston, MA; London: Allyn & Bacon.

BLAXTER, L., HUGHES, C. & TIGHT, M. (2006) How to Research (3rd edition), Buckingham: Open University Press.

DENSCOMBE, M. (2010)  Ground Rules for Good Research (2nd ed), Buckingham: Open University Press.

FLICK, U. (2009)  An Introduction to Qualitative Research (4th ed), London: Sage.

GORARD, S. (2003) Quantitative Methods in Social Science Research, London: Continuum.

HAMMERSLEY, M. AND ATKINSON, P. (2007) Ethnography (3rd/electronic ed), London: Routledge.

KVALE, S. (2009)  Interviews (2nd ed), Newbury Park CA: Sage.

REA, L. (2005)  Designing and conducting survey research: a  comprehensive guide (3rd ed) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

SILVERMAN, D. (2010) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook (3rd ed), London, Thousand Oaks, New Dehli: Sage.