Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM020: Research Methods in the Social Sciences

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide a general introduction to the nature of research in the social sciences, the methods associated with such research, varying positions on the relationship between theory and method, problems of research design, and a range of relevant research skills (conducting and reporting research). Together with generic research training in quantitative and qualitative methods, this module provides you with the understanding and skills required to successfully undertake Master's level research. You will be introduced to the nature of explanation in the social sciences and to methodological issues specific to particular sub-fields. The module will further introduce you to basic principles of research design and strategy, including the formulation of researchable problems and an appreciation for alternative approaches to research. You will develop an appreciation for research ethics in the social sciences.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding and skills in conducting and communicating research in the social sciences;
2. demonstrate competency in a wide range of skills in the selection and use of differing research methods, including an understanding of how to formulate researchable problems and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research;
Discipline-Specific Skills3. demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the relationship between empirical research and theory generation and testing;
4. demonstrate detailed knowledge and appropriate use of library resources and bibliographic aids for preparation of literature reviews;
5. develop advanced and effective writing, graphical and oral presentation skills specific to the communication of research;
6. acquire the relevant knowledge, awareness and appreciation of ethical and legal issues and procedures in social scientific research, understand the role of ethics committees, understand the ESRC's Research Ethics Framework, and relevant codes of practice relating to their own research conduct, and be able to demonstrate in practice how they will address such issues in their own research;
7. understand issues surrounding Intellectual Property Rights and Data Protection;
Personal and Key Skills8. demonstrate competence in the general management of research including setting appropriate timescales, clarifying precisely the aims and expected results of research and good time management;
9. develop and improve communication skills as demonstrated in workshop participation;
10. demonstrate skill in the use of a wide range of computer resources for bibliographic searches and in various ways of reporting research;
11. develop advanced skills required to deal with the print and broadcast media;