Social Research Methods

Social Research Methods 1

20 credits

Module aims

This module introduces students to the principles and practice of data collection, collation and analysis. Teaching and learning exercises demonstrate the value of research skills in relation to both textual and numeric data. The module develops understanding of different stages of the research process. The importance of ethical practice in research development, collection, collation, analysis and dissemination is stressed throughout.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Recognise the potential contribution of a range of collection and analysis methods and identify which are best suited to address specific research aims/questions
  • Understand the impact of the social context in which research takes place
  • Identify and negotiate with research stakeholders 
  • Have knowledge of how to operationalise concepts in actual research
  • Understand the development of research questions and selection of appropriate sampling, data collection and analysis methods, in terms of exploratory research 
  • Design and carry out a variety of data collection strategies e.g. questionnaire surveys, structured interviews, open or semi-structured interviews 
  • Appropriately apply descriptive statistical methods to their research questions and know how to develop primary themes in qualitative analysis 
  • Understand practical issues in the field, including ethical conduct

Example key texts
Bryman, A. (2004, 2008) Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press
Gilbert, N. (2001, 2008) Researching Social Life, Sage, London.
Hoyle, J., Harris, M. &. Judd, C. Research Methods in Social Relations (various editions).
de Vaus, D. A. (2003) Surveys in Social Research (5th ed.), London: Routledge.