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Unit information: Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (SPS) in 2017/18

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Unit name Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (SPS)
Unit code SPOLM0015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Johnson
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences Philosophy and Research Design in the Social Sciences Core Skills in Educational Research Understanding Educational Research

School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

  • To provide a philosophical appreciation of the underpinnings of quantitative research methods
  • To develop a critical understanding of the potential of various quantitative methodologies and key epistemological and methodological ‘problems’ raised in quantitative methodologies
  • To introduce ethical, political and value concerns arising from the interpretation and analysis of quantitative data
  • To develop students’ understanding of the application, strengths and weaknesses of a range of quantitative methods and develop basic skills in the use of quantitative research techniques

Students will apply these methods and techniques in the particular context of their own discipline.

Intended learning outcomes

• Module specific details • Develop a philosophical appreciation of the underpinnings or quantitative research methods. • A critical understanding of and the ability to apply to their own work, the appropriate uses, strengths and weaknesses of quantitative methods. • Ability to evaluate the research practice, data and interpretations of others. • Sensitivity to ethical, political and value concerns in quantitative research. • Appreciation of a reflexive approach to social science research. • Demonstrate basic skills in the use of quantitative research techniques. • Discipline specific skills • Develop an appreciation of the philosophical underpinning of quantitative approaches in relation to the discipline. • Understand how quantitative research can address specific challenges within a disciplinary context. • Demonstrate and apply a critical understanding of quantitative methods used in the discipline. • Understand how quantitative methods are used in the discipline and gain an overview of some current quantitative research examples within the discipline. • Develop an understanding of discipline specific ethical, political and value issues, related to quantitative research. • Personal and key skills. • Critical analysis. • Ability to reflect on personal/ethical issues raised in quantitative research. • Team work. • Presentation skills.

The summative assessment tests all of the ILOs and accounts for 100% of the unit mark.

Teaching details

Lectures/presentations, seminars, group work, lab based sessions and virtual learning environment The course comprises 3 days of teaching (1 day per week) made up of many sessions of 1-1.5 hours.

Assessment Details

Formative Group presentation 15 mins Personal and key skills Principles of Quantitative research design Verbal

Formative (alternative)Essay 1500 words Principles of Quantitative research design Written

Summative 100% Essay 4,000 words Module and discipline specific skills Written

Summative (alternative)100% Essay + Research design 2,500 words + 1,500 words Module and discipline specific skills Written

Summative (alternative)100% Analysis of (primary or secondary) data set 4,000 words Module and discipline specific skills Written

The choice between summative assessment options will be negotiated with the Unit Tutor

The summative assessment tests all of the ILOs and accounts for 100% of the unit mark.

Reading and References

• Babbie, E (2007) The Practice of Social Research (11th ed). Belmont: Wadsworth Pub. Co. [Arts & Social Sciences H62 BAB] (Chapters 7 & 9)

• Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods [4th edition] Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Arts & Social Sciences H62 BRY] (Chapters 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, & 15)

• Field, A (2009) Discovering Statistics using SPSS [3rd edition], London: Sage. [Arts & Social Sciences BF39 FIE] (Chapters 1& 2)

Gilbert, N. (ed.) (2008) Researching Social Life [third edition], London: Sage. [Arts & Social Sciences HM48 RES](Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6 &16)

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