Methods and Field Work in Social Science - GEOG5001

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module introduces you to the many and diverse methods and design issues that inform social science research inquiry within geography and environmental studies. Its purpose is to equip you with some of the skills and mindsets to approach independent research and thus become an active participant in knowledge creation. The module explores what counts as research and how research validity can be assessed from a social science perspective. You will be trained in the design and use of a range of research techniques, including: qualitative interviews; extensive questionnaires; group work and ethnography. We also consider the processing and analysis of qualitative data, as well as basic descriptive statistics to analyse quantitative data. Towards the end of the module, we will look in more depth at the principles of research design in order to help you begin to plan your final year research project.


Contact hours

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


Compulsory for the following courses:

• BSc Human Geography
• BSc Wildlife Conservation,
• BA Environmental Social Sciences

Optional for the following courses:
• BSc Anthropology

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Written report (3000 words) (80%)
Research design report (1000 words) (20%)

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (

• 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)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module you will be able to:
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)
2. Understand the broad differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and the relative merits of each
3. Demonstrate skills in the design and use of qualitative interviews and questionnaires
4. Evidence skills in simple analysis and presentation of both qualitative and quantitative data


  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.
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