This module provides students with an overview of social science research methods focusing particularly on the role and process of research in the contemporary public policy context. The role of research and evidence both in policy-making and in evaluating the impacts of policies is explored. It provides knowledge and understanding about research in the social sciences and in public policy in particular.
The module examines the philosophical basis of social science research, including issues of epistemology and ontology and questions about methodology, ethics and confidentiality. It considers both quantitative and qualitative research traditions and their respective value and limits in relation to different types of research problem. The module also covers commonly-used techniques and tools for gathering evidence, data analysis and testing and their uses in pubic policy development, implementation and evaluation.