Philosophy of Social Research

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 1
Teaching: Tues 10 am - 3pm (full-time), Sat 10 am – 4 pm (part-time)

Fiona Carmichael
Ben Kotzee

This module aims to provide a general introduction to studying social research. It focuses on the ways in which researchers make decisions about research questions, designs and methods and the various assumptions that underpin those decisions.

The course emphasises key features of social research including different approaches to research and different research methods. There is consideration of generic issues for research such as the main principles of ethics for applied empirical research, the role of theory in research, and the philosophical bases that underpin our understanding of, and assumptions about, the social world.

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

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different approaches to research
  • be aware of the philosophical bases for understanding the social world
  • have familiarity with concerns about the ethics of research
  • write a comparative appraisal of two research papers drawing on issues discussed in the module


The module is delivered twice – for full-time and part-time students/doctoral researchers. Generally you will follow the delivery as per your registration. If you wish to register for the alternative delivery session please apply directly to the Programme Director. Note: due to timetabling constraints the sessions on the part-time delivery are not always in the same sequence as the sessions on the full-time delivery. Therefore it is important, wherever possible, to attend all the sessions in one or other mode of delivery (full- or part-time).