You will study five core modules:
Philosophy of Social Science Research
The module considers fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences. Teaching addresses (natural) science as a method of obtaining knowledge and the interpretative tradition in the social sciences.
Research Design, Practice and Ethics
This module introduces you to social science research designs and ethical issues in research practice. Learning supports you to be able to make strategic choices when developing your own projects, and to assess the design and research ethics decision making in others’ published research work.
Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Method
Concepts, methods and skills central to quantitative research, including data collection approaches and concept operationalisation, are core throughout this module. Building on a grounding in ideas relating to probability sampling, sampling error and statistical inference, coverage of techniques extends from comparisons of means and simple cross-tabular analyses to a discussion of multivariate analysis approaches, focusing on linear and logistic regression.
Foundations in Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is examined across a range of topics, from different approaches and methods including ethnographic and observational research, discourse and conversation analysis, documentary and archival analysis, participatory research and the use of interviews. Ethics in qualitative research is specifically considered, as is the evaluation of qualitative research.
Research Skills and Methods in African Studies
The module is a practical hands-on introduction to research methods which takes you through the process of: defining a research topic; identifying and accessing sources, including archival and electronic sources; compiling a bibliography; producing an overview of existing work on the topic; designing a project; establishing a timetable; gaining research permission; the ethics of research; planning and executing fieldwork; using interviews and surveys; using photography, sound and video recording; keeping field notes; archival research; assessing and analyaing findings; and writing up. You will have the opportunity to present work in progress at different stages of your project, gaining feedback and advice from staff and fellow students. Through the talks by invited speakers on research in progress, the module also offers a broader perspective on research and raises questions about interdisciplinary approaches to it.
You will also choose 20 credits of optional modules. Options available within African Studies may include:
- Advanced Perspectives on Africa
- African Fiction and its Critics
- History and Politics of Southern Africa
- Independent Study
- Livelihoods and Development in Africa
- Media and Popular Culture in Africa
- Slavery and Freedom in Twentieth Century Africa
For further information on these options, please see our African Studies module descriptions.
Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.