How do sociologists investigate the social world? What tools and methods do they employ to ensure their research claims are relevant? How can you interpret their findings? This module will help you to answer these key questions. You will develop your research skills so that you will understand how sociologists move from an initial research idea through to collection, analysis and presentation of data.

The module provides introductory training in research design and the collection and analysis of qualitative  and quantitative data. The Autumn term will focus on qualitative research, whilst the Spring term focuses on quantitative research.

Upon completion of the module students will be able to approach their studies and the materials they use with a more developed 'critical eye' and some practical skills. Students will be introduced to the nuts and bolts of social investigation, and through practical labs will gain expertise in referencing and preparing professional reports reliant on social data.

Module Aims

  • To introduce students to the social research process
  • To give students the tools to evaluate the strengths and limitations of different approaches to sociological research
  • To teach students the key features of qualitative and quantitative data, including how these are collected, analysed and presented.
  • To provide practical hands-on sessions that will help students to develop their research, study and employability skills
  • To develop students’ communication and critical appraisal skills 

Learning Outcomes

  1. formulate a research question
  2. plan a social science research project
  3. undertake basic analysis of qualitative and quantitative data
  4. evaluate the strengths and limitations of different methodological tools for sociological research
  5. recognise how different types of research data should be presented
  6. critically assess the connections between theory and research
  7. engage constructively and reflexively in debate with their peers