Social Research Methods I

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2

Module co-convenors Harriet Clarke and Graeme Douglas

This module introduces students to the principles and practice of data collection, collation and analysis. Teaching and learning exercises demonstrate the value of research skills in relation to both textual and numeric data. The module develops understanding of different stages of the research process. The importance of ethical practice in research development, collection, collation, analysis and dissemination is stressed throughout.

On completion of the module, students are expected to be able to:

  • Recognise the potential contribution of a range of collection and analysis methods and identify which are best suited to address specific research aims/ questions
  • Understand the impact of the social context in which research takes place
  • Identify and negotiate with research stakeholders
  • Have knowledge of how to operationalise concepts in actual research
  • Understand the development of research questions and selection of appropriate sampling, data collection and analysis methods, in terms of exploratory research
  • Design and carry out a variety of data collection strategies e.g. questionnaire surveys, structured interviews, open or semi-structured interviews
  • Appropriately apply descriptive statistical methods to their research questions and know how to develop primary themes in qualitative analysis
  • Understand practical issues in the field, including ethical conduct


Write an individual report (4,000 words) on a course exercise involving: designing two data collection instruments (a self completion questionnaire or structured survey interview instrument (to generate numerical data) and interviews, observation or secondary sources (to generate textual data); collecting and collating raw data; preliminary analysis; suggestions for further lines of enquiry; a critical review of the process, including a discussion of any methodological issues and ethical dilemmas encountered. All references must be listed and cited correctly. Marks will be deducted for inadequate or poor referencing.