Social Research MRes Add to your prospectus

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2018
  • Entry requirements: You should hold a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in a social science, or in a field relevant to the programme.
Social Research mres

Module details

The programme consists of 60 credits of taught modules and a 30,000 word thesis worth 120 credits.

In Semester 1, you are required to take two 15 credit modules:

Compulsory modules:

  • SOCI501: The Politics and Practices of Social Research
  • SOCI504: Philosophy of Social Science

In Semester 2, you can chose up to 30 credits of social research methods training modules taken from a portfolio of 5 credit modules.

Optional modules:

  • SOCI514: Using Surveys and Statistics to Understand Social Attitudes
  • SOCI515: Using Foucault's Methods
  • SOCI516: Focus Groups
  • SOCI517: Critical Discourse Analysis
  • SOCI518: Visual Data, Visual Analysis
  • SOCI519: Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
  • SOCI520: Participatory Action Research
  • SOCI521: Ethnographic Studies of Science and Technology
  • SOCI524: Narrative Interviewing
  • SOCI526: Interviewing
  • SOCI527: Doing Ethical Research
  • SOCI529: Researching Private Companies
  • SOCI532: Using Freedom of Information Requests in Research
  • SOCI533: Observation
  • SOCI534: Spatial Analysis: Mapping techniques in Social Research”


(If you wish to progress to a PhD, you will need to take SOCI508 Understanding Society Using Quantitative Methods, a 15 credit module taught in Semester 1)

Compulsory modules

The Politics and Practices of Social Research (SOCI501)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1 To introduce students to the contemporary political and economic contexts for the production of social research in Universities.
2 To introduce students the key debates on the role of the social scientist and the role of social research
3 To provide training in general research skills.
4 To provide student with an understanding of how key research methods are applied in practice
5 To enable students to how to develop a research project through its initial stages.

Learning Outcomes

Understand the contested nature of research methods in social science

​Understand the range of epistemological and methodological steps involved
in the research process.

​Be able to plan a large research project.

​Be able to critically analyze, evaluate and review current research and scholarship

​Be aware of ethical research conduct

​Understand the political and economic forces that shape the context for
social research

Philosophy of Social Science (SOCI504)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims
  • To introduce students to the main philosophical conceptions of social science. 
  • ​To examine the status of sociology as a social science
  • ​To examine the link between theory and methodology within social research
  • ​To examine the different forms of knowledge production within the social sciences
  • ​To examine the relation between sociological knowledge and wider debates about politics and experience
Learning Outcomes

​An awareness of the diversity of methods in social science and of different epistemological and ontological assumptions about knowledge that underpin social research

​An understanding of philosophical issues relating to method in social science

​An understanding of some of the contested features of method in social science, for example the question of objectivity, neutrality, standpoint, experience, interpretation, prediction, reflexivity

​An ability to critically evaluate the main philosophical debates on method in social science such as positivism, hermeneutics, critical theory, realism and constructivism.

​To apply sociological knowledge to wider debates about politics and experience

Optional modules

Using Surveys and Statistics to Understand Social Attitudes (SOCI514)
LevelM
Credit level5
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To give Students practical experience in analysing real survey data using applied statistics and software

To enable students to understand implications, assumptions andcaveats of applied survey data analysis and regression

To develop and enhance students’ skills in appliedstatistics and regression using survey data and software

To develop and enhance students skills to critically analyseand interpret data on population attitudes and statistical outputs fromregression​ 

Learning Outcomes

Ability to critically evaluate and discuss comparative research using applied statistics 

Ability to carry out bivariate statistics using software and interpret the findings

Ability to carry out a multiple regression analysis using software and interpret the findings​

Awareness of caveats using the learned techniques

Ability to design a short piece of research using the techniques learned in the module

Using Foucault's Methods (SOCI515)
LevelM
Credit level5
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims
  • ​To introduce students to Foucault’s use of history as a method 

  • ​To demonstrate the use of Foucault’s method of discourse as an effective tool of social inquiry 

  • ​To provide an introduction to Foucault’s method in relation to his work on sexuality, discipline and docile bodies as an example of the sociological imagination

  • ​To understand how, when and why Foucault’s methods have been taken up in the social sciences. 

  • Learning Outcomes

    ​To demonstrate an understanding of Foucault’s use of history as a method

    ​To demonstrate an understanding of the role of discourse in addressing the relations between discourse and context, discourse and power and discourse and interaction

    ​To explain the link between Foucault’s method and the study of culture and society

    ​To apply Foucault’s methods to social research and social inquiry in the social sciences

    Focus Groups (SOCI516)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    1. ​To provide students with the skills they need to design and complete research using focus group discussions

    2. ​To enable students to understand the ethical implications as well as the strengths and limitations of using focus groups

    3. To ​develop students'' skills in the analysis of focus group data, including verbatim transcripts of the discussions and notes of non-verbal interaction

    4. To develop students'' awareness of the practical issues  ​involved in setting up and moderating focus group discussions

    5. To ​provide students with a good understanding of methodological and theoretical literature they need to draw on to support their approach to focus group discussions

    Learning Outcomes

    ​To understand how and when focus groups could be used to research social issues, and be able to articulate the ethical implications of carrying out research in this way

    Students will understand focus group methodology and be able to design and carry out research involving focus group ​discussions

    ​Students will be able to capture and analyse data from focus group discussions, and clearly articulate their approach to analysis

    Students will be able to identify​ methodological texts to cite to support the academic integrity of their research and to identify how sociological theory may enhance their analysis and presentation of findings

    Critical Discourse Analysis (SOCI517)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    1. To introduce students to Critical understandings of discourse and its place in society

    2. To introduce students to the practice of Critical Discourse Analysis

    3. ​To enable student''s development of Critical Discourse Analytic skills and competences

    Learning Outcomes

    An understanding of ideas and concerns underpinning Critical Discourse Analysis

    ​An ability to conduct Critical Discourse Analaytic work

    A critical understanding of the place of discourse in society

    Visual Data, VIsual Analysis (SOCI518)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
  • ​To provide an introduction to sociological engagement with visual data/analysis

  • ​To provide research students with an opportunity to practice these sets of research skills with respect to their own projects

  • Learning Outcomes

    ​Familiarity with major classical and contemporary social scentific engagements with visual data and visual analysis (theoretical and empirical)

    ​Ability to apply the perspectives learned in Outcome 1 to an ongoing research project (e.g thesis)

    Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (SOCI519)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module will provide students with an understanding of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis as radical approaches to the study of social practices grounded in work on and with interactional data. It will be of particular interest to students and researchers working across the social sciences and beyond with a specific interest in studying practice and interaction.

    Learning Outcomes

    This module will provide an overview of ethnmethodology and conversation analysis as dynamic, analytically innovative and intellectually adventurous fields of research.

    It will enable students to trace the substantial influence ethnomethodology and conversation analysis continue to have in sociology, anthropology, psychology, science and technology studies, and other disciplines besides.​

    Students who take this module will​ acquire an understanding of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis as radical approaches to the study of social practices, and will do so in the course of practical work on and with interactional data. ​

    As the only postgraduate short course in the UK focusing on ethnomethodology specifically, it presents a unique opportunity for students to learn about an alternative way of approaching social inquiry, one grounded in ''radical'' empirical studies.​

    Participatory Action Research (SOCI520)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    1. ​To plan for a Particiaptory Action Research dissertation project;

    2. ​To develop an understanding of the theoretical perspectives that inform a Participatory Action Research approach;

    3. ​To develop understanding of appropriate methods and activities for a Participatory Action Research approach;

    4. ​To understand ethical considerations related to a Participatory Action Research approach.

    Learning Outcomes

    ​To produce a strategy for engaging in a Particiaptory Action Research project;

    ​Understanding Participatory Action Research within a theoretical and practice framework;

     

    Understanding of methodology appropriate to a Participatory Action Research;

    ​Reflecting on the ethical issues and practical problems associated with Participatory Action Research. 

    Ethnographic Studies of Science and Technology (SOCI521)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    ​To introduce the student to ethnographic modes of inquiry in the social sciences

    To demonstrate the importance of (a) social and cultural contexts for ethnographic analysis; (b) multi-method approaches, with emphasis on participant observation; (c) ethnographic writing as an academic convention

    ​To provide an introduction to the field of science and technology studies, including major schools of thought, scholars and empirical concerns

     

    Learning Outcomes

    ​Demonstrate an understanding of the integrated character of methods, analysis and writing in ethnographic inquiry

    ​Demonstrate an understanding of the role of foundational ethnographic texts in expanding the reach of science and technology within the social sciences.

    ​Explain key theoretical and analytical concerns and arguments

    ​Demonstrate an understanding of the range of methods bound up with ethnographic practice and the challenges associated with conducting ethnographic fieldwork in studies of science and technology

    ​Prepare and conduct a short ethnographic study within a scientific/ technological context

    Narrative Interviewing (SOCI524)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
  • To introduce the student to the theoretical and analytical principles of narrative research

  • ​To provide students with the technical skills for conducting, transcribing and analysing narrative interviews

  • ​To understand the contributions and limitations of using narrative inquiry in social science research

  • Learning OutcomesDistinguish between story, narrative and biographical forms of research.

    ​Demonstrate an understanding of the specific contributions narrative research makes to different disciplinary modes of inquiry in the social sciences

    ​Plan a narrative interview, and use at least one technique of analysis

    ​Show a grasp of a variety of modes of representing and writing up narrative research

    Interviewing (SOCI526)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    ​This modules aims to attract postgraduates from all disciplines to introduce them to the theory and practice of interviews. This learning is underpinned by sociological theory and aims to provide students with an enhanced critical understanding of how different forms of  interviews can be used to elict different kinds of data. Through lectures, discussions and practical exercises, students will be enabled  to develop skills to design and conduct their own interviews, and to analyse their data.

     

    Learning Outcomes

    ​The development of an active and critical understanding of the theories of interviews

    An appreciation of different approaches to interviewing

    T​he skills to prepare and thematically analyse interview data

    ​An understanding of how to write and present interview data

    Doing Ethical Research (SOCI527)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    ​1.      To develop an understanding of the philosophical theories and principles underpinning ethical practice in research.

    2.      To develop an understanding of the legal and regulatory issues that underpin the formal ethical review process.

    3.      To develop an awareness of ethical considerations when working with the contested categories of ‘vulnerable’ groups and with sensitive topics and issues (the ethics of care).

    4. To develop skills at balancing dilemmas in research ethics.

    Learning Outcomes

    ​To produce a critical review of an ethical issue(s) related to your research investigation

    ​To demonstrate understanding of the theoretical and regulatory issues supporting good ethical research practice

    ​To demonstrate how to apply these theoretical and regulatory issues in practice

    ​To demonstrate skills in balancing dilemmas in research ethics

    Researching Private Companies (SOCI529)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The ​key aim of this module is to develop a range of skills to help students understand and analyse:

    • The legal, social and economic basis of corporate power.
    • How corporate structures and finances work.
    • In practical terms how researchers can penetrate this relatively secret world as part of an acdemic research agenda. 
    Learning Outcomes

    ​To be able to formulate appropriate and researchable questions about corporate power and corporate activities

    ​To be able to identify data sources that can help us answer research questions about private companies

    ​​To be able to analyse corporate ownership, management, and organisational structures

    ​To be able to formulate strategies that seek to overcome key barriers in researching companies

    Using Freedom of Information Requests in Research (SOCI532)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    ​This module has two principal aims:

    1) To  provide students with an understanding of the uses and applications of data obtained by Freedom of Information requests, and to develop an ability to analyse, write up and disseminate data obtained in this way.

    2) To provide a historical and political contexts to the development of the right to freedom of information in the UK.

    Learning Outcomes

    Students completing this module will aquire skills in identifying where key sources of government data are held

    ​Students completing this module will aquire a detailed working knowledge of entitlements to data provided by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

    Students completing this module will develop the ability to develop practical strategies to obtain offical data.

    Students completing this module will learn how to appropriately analyse, write up and publish data obtained by Freedom of Information requests.

    Observation (SOCI533)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    1. To provide students with the skills they need to design and complete research using observation

    2. To enable students to understand the ethical implications as well as the strengths and limitations of using observations3. To develop students'' skills in the analysis of fieldnotes and other records of observational data4. To develop students'' awareness of the practical issues involved designing an observational study or incorporating observation into a wider study5. To provide students with a good understanding of the methodological and theoretical literature they need to draw on to support their approach to conducting an observational study
    Learning Outcomes

    ​To understand how and when observational methods can be used to research social life, and be able to articulate the ethical implications of carrying out research in this way

    ​Students will understand observational methods and be able to design and carry out research involving observation

     

    ​Students will be able to record and analyse observational data and clearly articulate their approach to analysis

    ​Students will be able to identify methodological texts in order to cite to support the academic integrity of their research and to identify how sociological theory may enhance their analysis and presentation of findings

    Spatial Analysis: Mapping Techniques in Social Research (SOCI534)
    LevelM
    Credit level5
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    ​1. To introduce students to spatial analysis and its applicability in social research

    2. To introduce students to basic digital mapping techniques

    3. To enable students to apply and demonstrate digital mapping approaches and gain skills and competencies in this area. 

    Learning Outcomes

    ​Understanding of ideas and concepts underpinning spatial analysis

    ​Ability to conduct basic mapping techniques on social and criminological data

    ​A critical evaluation of mapping as social research method

    ​Ability to create and present map for research and presentation purposes