Conservation Social Science: Methods and Research Design - WCON5370

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


The module will begin with an introduction to research. Students will be asked to think about what counts as research, how research validity can be assessed. Subsequent sessions will give training in the design and use of (a) qualitative interviews and (b) (quantitative) questionnaires. Sessions will also be devoted to processing and analysis of qualitative data, and also basic descriptive statistics to analyse quantitative data, but not inferential statistics, since this is covered in a separate module on statistics. Towards the end of the module, we will look in more depth at the principles of research design in order to help students begin to plan their final year research projects.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BSc Wildlife Conservation,
BSc in Human Ecology
BA Environmental Social sciences.

Also available as an Elective Module.

Method of assessment

Written Report (2000 words) (60%)
Examination, 2 hours (40%).

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Bryman A., 2012. Social research methods, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Corbin, Juliet M., Strauss, Anselm L. & Strauss, Anselm L., 2008. Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory, (London: Sage Publications, Inc.)

Gerring, J. (2007) Case Study Research: Principles and Practices, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.)

Lapan. S. et al. (Eds) (2012) Qualitative research: an introduction to methods and design (London: Wiley & Sons)

Newing, Helen, 2010. Conducting research in conservation: social science methods and practice, (London: Routledge)

Denzin, N Lincoln Y (2000) Handbook of qualitative research (London: Sage)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 have a sound understanding of different basic approaches to research design, including different research strategies (induction / deduction) and different research design structures (experimental, observational and so on)

8.2 understand the broad differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and the relative merits of each.

8.3 gain skills in the design and use of qualitative interviews and questionnaires

8.4 gain skills in simple analysis and presentation of both qualitative and quantitative data

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 demonstrate an understanding of how social aspects of conservation research projects need to be designed, analysed and reported

9.2 demonstrate general learning, problem-solving and study skills

9.3 express ideas in writing and orally

9.4 demonstrate computer, report writing, time management, library and independent research skills

9.5 design, implement, analyse and write-up a piece of empirical research


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.