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Introduction to Social Research

SO2310 Introduction to Social Research (10 ECTS credits)


Dr Jan Skopek and Dr Jemimah Bailey

Lectures and Tutorials:

Two lectures and one tutorial per week

Module Content/Outline:

This module is designed to introduce students to the principles and methods of quantitative (Part I) and qualitative research (Part II). This module has several primary objectives: one goal is to familiarise students with the different methods employed in quantitative and qualitative research. The second is to provide a number of practical, applied tools during the course of the two semesters and to give students an opportunity to practice and implement these tools. The third is to read and discuss work by quantitative and qualitative researchers, especially focusing on the lessons they learned and the challenges they faced. The final goal is to help students understand how to move from project design, to project implementation, to data analysis and reporting in both quantitative and qualitative research.

Learning Objectives:

Students successfully completing the module should be able to:

  • Describe the range of tools used in quantitative and qualitative social research;
  • Select and apply appropriate research methods for investigating social phenomena;
  • Understand the challenges and risks posed to researchers and their subject in social research;
  • Assess the strength and weaknesses of selected methodologies;
  • Collect, analyse and report quantitative and qualitative data appropriately;
  • Summarise and critically discuss sociological research reports and publication.
  • Discuss and write reflexively about the challenges and risks of research for subjects and researchers.


Lectures &Tutorials/ Contact hours:

Two lectures and one tutorial per week.

Workload: Lectures: 44 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 44 hrs; Self-study: 140 hrs. Total: 250 hours.

Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:

The main textbook recommended for purchase is:

  • Bryman, A. (2016) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press (5th edition).

Other key texts:

  • Angrosino, M. (2007) Doing Ethnographic and Observational Research, London: SAGE Publications, Ltd.
  • De Vaus, D.A. (2002) Surveys in Social Research, 5th ed., Crows Nest: Allen &Unwin
  • Flick, U. (2007) Designing Qualitative Research, London: SAGE Publications, Ltd.
  • Gibbs, G. (2007) Analysing Qualitative Data, London: SAGE Publications, Ltd.
  • Goffman, A. (2014) On The Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Chicago: Chicago University Press
  • Goldthorpe, J. H. (2016) Sociology as a population science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kvale, S. (2007) Doing Interviews, London: SAGE Publications, Ltd.
  • O’Leary, Z. (2004) The Essential Guide to Doing Research, London: SAGE Publications.


Part I: Coursework (50%)
Part II:  Coursework (50%); the course work for qualitative methods will be split into two parts – an interview project (15%) and essay (35%).

Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Failure to attend at least half of the tutorials will automatically result in a 10% deduction (one full grade) from the overall module grade.

Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade