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Unit information: Doing Social Research in 2014/15

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Unit name Doing Social Research
Unit code SOCI10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Dermott
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit will consider the role of research in sociology by examining different traditions and different kinds of evidence that can be used in sociological research. It will introduce students to the methodology and methods applied in the design, administration and completion of research projects in order to equip them with the skills to critically interpret data (qualitative and quantitative) and to evaluate research. Students will examine the research process from the initial formulation of a research question, through identifying appropriate methods, to the dissemination of results. The unit will also introduce students to current sociological research from a range of sub-disciplines which adopt a variety of methods.

Aims:

  • to explore the relevance of social research for the discipline of sociology
  • to explain the principles underlying the design, process and analysis of sociological research
  • to discuss the relationship between research question, research methods and research settings
  • to alert students to the role of political and ethical issues in research
  • to familiarise students with a body of current sociological research across a range of substantive areas
  • to encourage a critical approach to studying sociological research

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • understand the relevance of social research to the discipline of sociology
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles underlying the design, process and analysis of sociological research
  • show understanding of the major ethical and political issues in sociological research and how they can be addressed
  • identify appropriate research methods for particular research questions and settings
  • show familiarity with a body of current sociological research
  • critically analyse a range of sociological research

Teaching details

2 hrs of lectures and 1 hour seminar

Assessment Details

Summative assessment:

1. Presentation (15%) on ‘Should informed consent be a requirement of all social research?’

  • show understanding of the major ethical and political issues in sociological research and how they can be addressed
  • show familiarity with a body of current sociological research

2. 2000 word critical methodological review (85%)of a specified journal article. This will assess the following learning outcomes

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles underlying the design, process and analysis of sociological research
  • identify appropriate research methods for particular research questions and settings
  • critically analyse a range of sociological research

Reading and References

  • Devine, F., Heath, S. (1999) Sociological Research Methods in Context. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gilbert, N. (ed.) (2001) Researching Social Life (2nd edition). London: Sage.
  • May, T. (2001) Social Research. Issues, Methods and Process (3rd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research (2nd Edition). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Ruane, J.M. (2005) Essentials of Research Methods. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Seale C.F. (ed.) (2004) (2nd edition) Researching Society and Culture. London: Sage.

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