Design of Social research - SOCI8330

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Mark Hill checkmark-circle


This course introduces students to the logic and methods of social research. The course aims to familiarize students to central topics in research design, the methodological choices necessary to address in designing social research and the ethics of social research. The module introduces students to both positivist and critical/interpretive approaches and the debates behind their selection for conducting research. Students will be versed in the scientific approaches to social research, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The module aims to provide students a robust understanding of social research methods and the decisions needed to write up a research proposal.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total hours: 200


MA in Methods of Social Research (MSR), MA in International Social Policy, MA in Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Students will be assessed by three pieces of coursework:
• A qualitative mini-proposal,1,000 words(20%)A quantitative mini-proposal,1,000 words(20%)
• A full research proposal,3,500 words)(60% )

Reassessment methods

100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Bryman, A. 2012. Social Research Methods, 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Babbie, E. 2013. The Practice of Social Research.13th edition. UK: Wadsworth. Cengage learning.
Diamond, I & Jefferies, J (2001). Beginning statistics : an introduction for social scientists. London: SAGE.
Ragin, C. C. 1987. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. This details the logic of using the comparative method.
Abbott, Andrew. (2003). Methods of Discovery. New York: Norton.
Habermas, J. (1972) Knowledge and Human Interests, London: Heinemann.
King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

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

8.1 Develop original ideas on complex topics into focussed research questions that relate to an identified academic literature, aligned to an
appropriate research design;
8.2 Understand comprehensively the theoretical and methodological basis for social research, different epistemological models used in the
social sciences, and rationales for combining different methods;
8.3 Be able to critically reflect on the ethical issues raised by social research, and to autonomously develop research designs that are both
ethical in a broader, critical sense and which (more narrowly) meet the requirements of research ethics governance;
8.4 Autonomously plan, develop and write a sophisticated research proposal that is of a standard to attract funds from leading social science
funding agencies;
8.5 Critically engage with the methodological choices made in published research studies based on a systematic understanding of appropriate
research techniques.

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

9.1 Communicate a research question and design to academic and general audiences;
9.2 Manage their time, prioritise workloads and manage stress as well taking responsibility for their learning and professional development;
9.3 Access and evaluate ICT and library based resources appropriate for postgraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and
use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing;
9.4 Solve problems that are common in social research ;
9.5 Understand career opportunities in their field and be able to plan for their future ;
9.6 Understand and appropriately respond to feedback.


  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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