Introduction to Social Research

20 credits

Module aims

This module aims to provide a general introduction to studying social science 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.

Learning outcomes

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

Example key texts

Becker, Howard S. (1998) Tricks of the trade: how to think about your research while you're doing it. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
May, Tim (2003) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Ragin, C. (1994) Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method. CA: Thousand Oaks.