The Practice of Social Research - SOCI7480

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Robert De Vries checkmark-circle


This module will involve students undertaking quantitative research in a real world setting, culminating in an assessed report on their work. This real world setting can be of the form of an individual research project, working in a support role with an academic or within a placement organisation. Students will receive support by a supervisor and receive lectures covering such topics as:

- Turning an organisations ideas into a viable research project;
- Good practice in undertaking quantitative research projects (e.g. data security, data management, replicability);
- Ethics in applied quantitative research (certainty/uncertainty, power, and 'usefulness');
- Reflecting on research practice (linked to both of the assessments below).


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 10
Private study hours: 200 hours research placement, 90 hours private study
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework - Research Report (8,000 Words) – 75% (PASS COMPULSORY)
Coursework - Essay report (2,000 Words) – 25%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Cook, T., & Campbell, D. (1979) Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis issues for field settings. Rand McNally College Publications
Robson, C and McCartan, K (2016), Real-World Research, 4th edition. Wiley.
Scott Long, J (2009), The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata. Stata Press.
Stevens, A (2011), 'Telling Policy Stories: An Ethnographic Study of the Use of Evidence in Policy-making in the UK'. Journal of Social Policy, 40:237-255. DOI: 10.1017/S0047279410000723

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Critically understand the difference between quantitative research in theory and quantitative research in practice.
2.Critically understand the pressures on quantitative analysts in real-life-settings, such as producing quick results, data protection, pressures for certainty and/or simplicity, or to produce 'useful' results.
3.Conduct quantitative research in an applied setting
4.Report on quantitative analyses, to both technical and non-technical audiences.
5.Demonstrate an ability to reflect on their own position as a quantitative analyst in an applied setting.

The intended generic learning outcomes are as follows .On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Demonstrate communication and presentation skills.
2.Conduct research to meet the needs of a research project, including team working with those who do not have technical research skills.
3.Demonstrate problem-solving skills and adaptability to changing situations.
4.Self-appraise and reflect on practice.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  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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