Conservation Social Science: Methods and Research Design - DI537

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR RD Fish




Stage 2



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, and. 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 core module on statistics in the BSc programme (DI508). 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


This module appears in:

Contact hours

10 x 2 hour Sessions


Core for BSc Wildlife Conservation and for BA Environmental Studies

Method of assessment

written report 60%; exam 40%

Preliminary reading

Newing, H. (2011) "Conducting Research in Conservation: Social Science Methods and Practice", Routledge
Fowler, F. 1995. Improving survey questions: design and evaluation. Applied social research methods series volume 38. Thousand Oaks / London / New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Robson, C. 2007. How to do a research project: a guide for undergraduate students. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

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).
Understanding of the broad differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and the relative merits of each.
Skills in the design and use of qualitative interviews and questionnaires.
Skills in simple analysis and presentation of both qualitative and quantitative data.
An understanding of how social aspects of conservation research projects need to be designed, analysed and reported.
Skills in planning, carrying out, analysing and writing up a piece of empirical research, including general learning and study skills; critical, analytical and problem-solving skills; ability to express ideas in writing and orally; design, implementation, analysis and write-up of a research project (or dissertation); computer skills; report writing; time management; library skills; independent research skills.

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