Research Methods for Social Science - DICE8760

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 15 (7.5) Joseph Bull checkmark-circle


The module will begin with a broad overview of social science approaches to research, highlighting contrasts with standard natural science techniques and focusing on the qualitative-quantitative divide. Subsequent sessions will introduce individual methods such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, questionnaire surveys and focus groups. Sessions will also be devoted to processing and analysis of qualitative data, but not with statistical analysis of quantitative data, since this will be covered elsewhere in the programmes. Towards the end of the module, we will examine the principles of integrated research design and mixed-methods approaches.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 33

Private study hours: 117

Total study hours: 150


MSc Conservation and cognate pathways

Method of assessment

Two empirical reports, maximum 2000 words each (50% per report)

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Bernard R (2005), Research Methods in Anthropology. 4th Edition. Altamira Press.

De Vaus DA (2002), Surveys in social research. 5th Edition. Routledge.

Newing H, Eagle C, Puri R and Watson C (2009), Conducting research in conservation: social science methods and practice. Taylor and Francis.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. demonstrate critical awareness of different research paradigms, including different strategies and designs for quantitative and qualitative approaches, including a systematic understanding of the relative merits of each;
2. demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of basic methodological issues in social science, including response biases, triangulation and sampling, and mixed-methods approaches;
3. demonstrate a practical understanding of a range of specific methods such as qualitative interviewing, focus groups and questionnaires;
4. demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the principles of analysis and presentation of qualitative data (through textual narrative, the use of quotations, coding and contingency tables) and quantitative data (through descriptive statistics); and
5. present analysed data within the framework of a scientific /report.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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