Social Research Methods II

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2
Teaching:

Module co-convenors Harriet Clarke and Stephen McKay

The module builds on Social Research Methods I as students progress to a deeper level of understanding of social research in practice. Two large-scale studies (research materials, datasets) are employed to build research skills.

Secondary research skills (using textual and numeric data) are explicitly explored as a base from which to conduct informed and appropriate data handling/analysis. An introduction to multivariate analysis will be provided, up to the level of multiple regression and analysis of variance. Techniques for analysing textual data will also be covered.

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

  • Understand large-scale data collection, data management skills, data preparation, variable coding and recoding, and transcription techniques
  • Assess research approaches used to generate large scale datasets
  • Understand the construction of numeric and textual data in social research practice
  • Recognise the importance of a range of data collection and analysis methods and identify which are best suited to address specific research questions or hypotheses
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the role of data analysis in social research
  • Know how to generate, extract and interpret data
  • Understand the role of inferential statistics
  • Appropriately apply statistical methods to their research questions
  • Develop thematic or narrative accounts by analysing textual data
  • Report and present research with close reference to theoretical frameworks
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the role of reflexivity across the research process

Assessment

Write a research report (4,000 words) starting with a research question or a set of research questions in any topic in social science, suggesting two or more alternate designs, and assessing these alternatives in terms of design issues. Include an analysis of design features such as timing, groups, measurement or observation etc., and an assessment of each design in terms of its rigour, practicality, ethical implications, sampling, and validity. All references must be listed and cited correctly. Marks will be deducted for inadequate or poor referencing.