detail

MRes (T) Social Research Methods

Academic Year 2016/17

A programme specification is required for any programme on which a student may be registered. All programmes of the University are subject to the University's Quality Assurance and Enhancement processes as set out in the DASA Policies and Procedures Manual.

Programme Title

MRes (T) Social Research Methods

Final Award
(exit route if applicable for Postgraduate Taught Programmes)

Masters of Research

Programme Code

SOC-MRES

UCAS Code

JACS Code

L900 (DESCR) 100

Criteria for Admissions

Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent recognised qualification in one of the Social Sciences.

ATAS Clearance Required

No

Health Check Required

No

Portfolio Required

Interview Required

Mode of Study

Full Time

Type of Programme

Postgraduate

Length of Programme

1 Academic Year(s)

Total Credits for Programme

180

Exit Awards available

INSTITUTE INFORMATION

Awarding Institution/Body

Queen's University Belfast

Teaching Institution

Queen's University Belfast

School/Department

Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Framework for Higher Education Qualification Level 
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/publications/information-and-guidance

Level 7

QAA Benchmark Group
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/assuring-standards-and-quality/the-quality-code/subject-benchmark-statements

Sociology (2007)

Accreditations (PSRB)

Date of most recent Accreditation Visit

External Examiner Name:

External Examiner Institution/Organisation

Dr Robin Humphrey

Newcastle University

REGULATION INFORMATION

Does the Programme have any approved exemptions from the University General Regulations
(Please see General Regulations)

No

Programme Specific Regulations

N/A

Students with protected characteristics

N/A

Are students subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations

(Please see General Regulations)

No

EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF PROGRAMME

The Masters in Social Research provides a comprehensive introduction to the key issues in social science methodology. It aims to develop a critical understanding of the issues surrounding the development and application of social research methods.

The focus of the programme is on producing social science postgraduates who are trained in the main social scientific research methods and approaches, and knowledgeable about the epistemological and theoretical perspectives that underpin methodologies and define the discipline. Building on a foundation of solid theoretical and epistemological training, an emphasis is placed on the practical use of these methods across a range of broad research topics.

Participants are equipped with the intellectual and practical skills to engage in social research at an advanced level, employing both quantitative and qualitative research techniques, and developing the capacity to deal with complex research questions.

The programme is designed for graduates who are keen to gain advanced knowledge and skills in the application of social research suitable for use in addressing vast and complex questions, problems and issues in the social world, including outside the academic environment.

A wide, and interesting, range of learning, teaching and assessment methods are employed across the modules, and the academics involved are constantly reflecting on, and refining, the processes and procedures they use.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Learning Outcomes: Cognitive Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Assess critically the evidential basis for statements about social phenomena, policies and courses of action.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students experience a range of pedagogical approaches in varied learning contexts, including lectures, seminars, workshops, library sessions, discussions, computer labs and field work. These methods are designed to give them confidence in applying and critiquing skills in research design, conduct and analysis.

Methods of Assessment

Assignments critically reviewing other studies on the topic, including their use of methods and conclusions, and assignments in which students critique different discourses (inc. media and political).

Learning Outcomes: Transferable Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Find and retrieve relevant data to inform their approach to social problems and complex tasks

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students are immersed in techniques for the collation, analysis and comparison of published material. Students are also introduced to literature reviewing methods.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant assessments include literature reviews, research proposals, annotated bibliographies and research reports.

Summarize complex ideas and research evidence, conveying it in a concise and easy to understand way to non-specialist audiences.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures, class discussions and supervised independent learning, centring on note taking.

Methods of Assessment

Students are required to present course work in a number of different formats including book reviews, diaries, PowerPoint presentations, blog posts, social media and mainstream media analysis and oral presentations.

Evaluate evidence of diverse kinds and drawing appropriate conclusions presenting complex research data and evidence in an appropriate format for a variety of audiences.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Teaching (e.g. critiques of studies, media analysis) and readings (mainly but not exclusively of academic sources) teach students about the importance of presentation of research.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant assessments include critical reviews, research reports, essays and dissertation.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge & Understanding

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Demonstrate a strong understanding of important debates within the social sciences, including sociology as a founding discipline of social research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Core modules in social theory and approaches to social research encourage participation in debate and discussion in class.

Methods of Assessment

Assignments testing knowledge of core principles, concepts, theories and debates in the social sciences, including sociology.

Demonstrate a broad understanding of the philosophy of research methods and how this informs research design, the methods chosen, the means of analysis and the representation and presentation of information and data.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Core modules in social theory and approaches to social research use lectures and seminar discussions to teach fundamental issues around epistemology.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposal and projects which require continuity and consistency from design to conduct and analysis of research.

Display a critical awareness of the issues surrounding the application of a range of methodological approaches.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Different approaches and debates are presented in classes centring on both theory and practice. Pedagogy entails encouraging student contributions to discussion and debate.

Methods of Assessment

Knowledge, understanding and critical awareness are assessed through written assignments (e.g. critical review of journal article) and oral presentations.

Competence in understanding and applying a broad range of research methods (including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods), and the use of appropriate software for their application.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

A range of teaching methods are employed including workshops, computer-based workshops, and supervised independent learning.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposals, project work, data analyses and reports require students to demonstrate competency in research methods.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Students will acquire competence in the manipulation of quantitative and qualitative data at an advanced level, and will gain experience of advanced statistical analysis.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Courses are delivered through lectures, and computer-based workshops using specialist software SPSS and NVivo.

Methods of Assessment

Research reports, data analyses, and research dissertations.

Learning Outcomes: Cognitive Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Gather and synthesize information to an advanced level, drawing on materials from a range of sources, synthesise them and provide possible solutions or policy recommendations.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students experience a range of pedagogical approaches in varied learning contexts, including lectures, seminars, workshops, library sessions, discussions, computer labs and field work. These methods are designed to give them confidence in applying and critiquing skills in research design, conduct and analysis.

Methods of Assessment

Assignments require advanced use of skills in data gathering and management. Some assignments require critique of policies or presentation of policy recommendations.

Validate information by assessing its merits, including the basis on which it is constructed and represented.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students experience a range of pedagogical approaches in varied learning contexts, including lectures, seminars, workshops, discussions, computer labs and field work.

Methods of Assessment

Critical review of sources is a key component of most coursework assignments. Other relevant assessment includes annotated bibliographies.

Present reasoned and research-informed arguments by contrasting and discussing different points of view and potential courses of action.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Seminars and class discussions teach students these skills.

Methods of Assessment

Students are required to formulate their own arguments in many assignments. Presentations and contribution to class discussions also test these skills.

Design and use appropriate research strategies for data collection using quantitative and qualitative methods to an advanced level.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students experience a range of pedagogical approaches in varied learning contexts, including lectures, seminars, workshops, discussions, computer labs and field work.

Methods of Assessment

Assignments testing these skills include critical reviews, research proposals and design of questionnaires.

Demonstrate a competent understanding of the use and impact of their research within and beyond academia and the mechanisms through which this might be achieved and an appreciation of the skills required to become a research leader in the social sciences.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Practical use of case studies and ‘live’ research projects to discuss the challenges of research and individuals’ experiences. Small classes facilitate in depth discussions.

Methods of Assessment

Critical reviews and assessment of other studies, including policy briefings and commissioned reports.

Learning Outcomes: Transferable Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Sort and prioritise the value of different types of data for the task in hand.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Workshops, computer lab-based training and practical seminars are used to teach students in these areas.

Methods of Assessment

Assessed work covering these skills includes research reports, data analysis reports, and essays.

Demonstrate an ability to engage with relevant users at all points in the research process, and to share findings in ways specific to the interests of the audience.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Where appropriate, learning strategies draw on and engage with (policy, practitioner) stakeholders, not least through the Science Shop.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposals, ethics applications and dissertation projects require students to demonstrate an ability to design and conduct research projects that engage appropriately with stakeholders.

Communicate research findings effectively to a wide range of audiences.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Flexible and interactive teaching methods and group based project work allow students to develop a range of presentation and communication skills.

Methods of Assessment

Students are required to present course work in a number of different formats including book reviews, diaries, PowerPoint presentations, blog posts, social media and mainstream media analysis, oral presentations.

Work in group settings with a well-developed capacity to relate to others in a research setting.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Class discussions and small group exercises and tasks are an important means of teaching and learning on this programme.

Methods of Assessment

These skills are not directly assessed but are reflected in student competency in other areas.

Use advanced computer software packages for handling quantitative and qualitative data.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

In a lab environment, students are introduced to relevant software to analyse both quantitative and qualitative data. Includes use of secondary data sources.

Methods of Assessment

Research reports involving basic bivariate analysis as well as multivariate analysis. Short research reports involving small-scale qualitative data analysis using software.

Demonstrate bibliographic and referencing skills: the identification of relevant published and web-based materials in relation to a particular topic.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students are immersed in techniques for the collation, analysis and comparison of published material. Students are also introduced to systematic review procedures and the review of meta-analytical studies.

Methods of Assessment

Critical review of sources is a key component of most coursework assignments. Annotated bibliographies. Literature reviews in essays.

Formulate researchable problems within a general area of concern in the social sciences.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Training in epistemology and learning from cases of selected social science research projects encourage students to acquire and enhance their skills in the design and planning of both quantitative and quantitative research.

Methods of Assessment

Students are assessed on the completion of a research proposal, the design of a questionnaire, undertaking face-to-face interviews, a reflective research diary, SPSS analysis (including regression analysis) and a research dissertation.

Demonstrate research design and data collection skills.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Several research based modules and a research based dissertation encourage students to acquire and enhance their skills in the design, planning, execution and analysis of both quantitative and quantitative research.

Methods of Assessment

Students are assessed on the completion of a research proposal, the design of a questionnaire, undertaking face-to-face interviews where appropriate, a reflective research diary, SPSS analysis (including regression analysis) and a research dissertation.

Conduct data analysis, including indexing and retrieval of qualitative and quantitative data.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Teaching is delivered in seminars, workshops, computer labs and supervised learning, as appropriate.

Methods of Assessment

These skills are tested through research reports, summaries of research findings, data analyses and research dissertations.

Use and understand descriptive and inferential statistics (including summary measures, measures of association and significance, contingency tables, regression analysis and have knowledge of the use and value of appropriate learning technologies), and awareness of the use and potential misuse of statistics.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Teaching is delivered in seminars, workshops, computer labs and supervised learning, as appropriate.

Methods of Assessment

Students complete assignments involving quantitative data and SPSS analysis (including regression analysis).

Demonstrate a well-developed sense of professional integrity.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Class discussions, small group exercises, involvement of stakeholders (where appropriate) and case scenarios of complex research projects.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant means of assessment may include research proposal, reflective essays. Where appropriate, student’s research projects involve an application to the School Research Ethics Committee, which entails following detailed procedures and supplying accompanying evidence. Students are supervised on their management and conduct of research.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge & Understanding

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Understand the significance of alternative epistemological positions that provide the context for theory construction, research design, and the selection of appropriate analytical techniques.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The programme contains a strong theoretical component and students learn from pertinent examples of advanced level research projects.

Methods of Assessment

Knowledge and understanding are assessed through written assignments (including book reviews, media reviews, research proposals, annotated bibliographies), oral presentations, and seminar contribution.

Develop research problems and design research strategies.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Supervised independent learning and research project work, as well as learning from real examples are useful here. Students are enabled to engage with the Science Shop in module assignments and dissertation choice.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposals are assessed and returned for revision by students prior to their translation into research projects.

Appreciate and accommodate the ethical issues involved in research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Through seminars, discussions and elaboration of relevant project cases, students are taught the processes and purpose of research ethics.

Methods of Assessment

Task-based assignments addressing complex and ‘live’ social topics; research proposal; research dissertation.

Appreciate and adapt to the uses of research and the social and political contexts of research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

A range of teaching methods are employed including lectures, seminars, debates, workshops, and supervised independent learning. These ensure strong theoretical and practical skills development.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant means of assessment may include research proposal, reflective essays. Where appropriate, student’s research projects involve an application to the School Research Ethics Committee, which entails following detailed procedures and supplying accompanying evidence. Students are supervised on their management and conduct of research. .

Demonstrate a comprehension of principles of research design and strategy, including an understanding of how to formulate research questions which are amenable to empirical investigation and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

A range of teaching methods are employed including lectures, seminars, debates, workshops, and supervised independent learning. Emphasis is placed on practical, varied experience in social research.

Methods of Assessment

Assessment of research understanding and knowledge through the completion of a research proposal, the design of a questionnaire, undertaking face-to-face interviews, a reflective research diary, SPSS analysis (including regression analysis) and a research dissertation.

Understand the basics of probability, and a critical understanding of the scientific method and of the nature of reflexivity.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Core modules on theory, debates and epistemology are taught through lectures, seminars and elaboration of research articles and projects.

Methods of Assessment

Written assignments that test this understanding include critical reviews, research reports, dissertations, and reflexive essays.

Display capabilities for managing research, including data management.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Time planning, project management and data organisation are developed through workshops, set tasks, group exercises, supervised independent learning.

Methods of Assessment

Project work, research reports, time limited tasks and dissertations.

Demonstrate an awareness of different means of disseminating research findings in a way that is consistent with both professional practice and the normal principles of research ethics.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Various modules cover real examples of diverse and good practice in research dissemination.

Methods of Assessment

Different forms of written and oral communication, including presentations, research reports, blogs, graphs.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Formulate and investigate questions for social research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Core modules on theory, debates and epistemology are taught through lectures, seminars and elaboration of research articles and projects. Students are enabled to engage with the Science Shop in module assignments and dissertation choice.

Methods of Assessment

Assessed work includes research proposals, double marked research dissertation, research reports.

Assess and evaluate the methodology used to address questions and problems in social research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

A range of teaching methods are employed including lectures, seminars, debates, workshops, and supervised independent learning. These ensure strong theoretical and practical skills development.

Methods of Assessment

Written assignments include critical reviews of books, articles and research reports.

Apply advanced research tools appropriately in relation to theoretically driven, exploratory or evaluative research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars, computer workshops, one-to-one tutoring (where appropriate), supervised independent learning.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposals, project work, data analyses and reports require students to demonstrate competency in research methods. The dissertation project involves the development of research question(s), the design of appropriate research methods; data collection and analysis, and the drafting of a final thesis.

Access or gather appropriate qualitative or quantitative information to address social research questions, using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures, workshops, library sessions and guidance and other forms of practical session contribute to learning these skills. The dissertation project involves the development of research question(s), the design of appropriate research methods; data collection and analysis, and the drafting of a final thesis. During this year long module students are provided with intensive support and supervision from an academic member of staff. In additional, supportive workshops are held.

Methods of Assessment

Research proposals, literature reviews, project work, data analyses and reports require students to demonstrate competency in research methods.

Recognise the ethical implications of social research and identify appropriate solutions.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Through seminars, discussions and elaboration of relevant project cases, students are taught the processes and purpose of research ethics. PGT students are required to submit their work to the same ethical review committee as all human subject research undertaken within the school. Through specialised seminars and individual supervision, students are tutored through the ethical review process.

Methods of Assessment

Task-based assignments addressing complex and ‘live’ social topics; research proposals. Where necessary, for a dissertation, students make an application to the School Research Ethics Committee; this involves the identification of ethical issues in their own work, the development of protocols and procedures to protect and minimise harm to participants and themselves (including procedures to obtain informed consent), the completion and submission of a formal ethical application, and the revision of research protocols to ensure full compliance with accepted ethical practices.

Develop coherent evaluation of data and ideas in social research, conveying their relevance and understanding to a non specialised audience

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students experience a range of pedagogical approaches in varied learning contexts, including lectures, seminars, workshops, discussions, computer labs and field work. These provide students with a variety of learning environments in which students are taught different means of evaluating and presenting information.

Methods of Assessment

Students are required to present course work in a number of different formats; these may include literature reviews, field diaries, PowerPoint presentations, research reports, blog posts, social media, briefing reports, and oral presentations

Review, summarise and evaluate empirical information and research findings across a wide range of contemporary issues in social research.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

These learning outcomes are consistently addressed across almost all of the modules offered on the programme. As a result a wide range of different teaching methods are employed to promote depth learning, to facilitate consolidation of knowledge and understanding.

Methods of Assessment

The use of reflective reports, diaries, media analysis, book and media reviews, peer presentations and feedback, literature reviews.

Discuss research topics with an appreciation of sociological theory, of epistemology, of evidence, and of the relevance to current debates, and present the conclusions in a variety of appropriate academic formats.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Core modules on theory, debates and epistemology are taught through lectures, seminars and elaboration of research articles and projects. The use of interactive teaching methods (discussions, Q&As, problem orientated sessions) promotes student engagement within lectures and seminars.

Methods of Assessment

The use of reflective reports, diaries, media analysis, critical reviews, peer presentations and feedback.

Comment on the value of social research, the impact of methodology choice, and representations of these in relation to policy questions at national, international and global levels.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The programme contains a strong theoretical component and students learn from pertinent examples of advanced level research projects.

Methods of Assessment

Briefing papers; research reports, presentations; blogs; critical reviews; media analyses.

MODULE INFORMATION

Programme Requirements

Module Title

Module Code

Level/ stage

Credits

Availability

Duration

Pre-requisite

 

Assessment

 

 

 

 

S1

S2

 

 

Core

Option

Coursework %

Practical %

Examination %

Approaches to Social Research

SOC9012

7

20

YES

10 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Dissertation

SOC9019

7

60

24 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Social Science Research On-line

SOC9023

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Theory and Debates in Social Research

SOC9024

7

20

YES

10 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Qualitative Research with Children and Young People

SOC9049

7

10

YES

1 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

The Sources and Construction of Qualitative Data

SOC9053

7

10

YES

1 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

The Sources and Construction of Quantitative Data

SOC9054

7

10

YES

2 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Qualitative Data Analysis

SOC9055

7

10

YES

1 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Quantitative Data Analysis: Foundational

SOC9056

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Quantitative Data Analysis: Intermediate

SOC9057

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Researching Emotions and Social Life

SOC9058

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Visual Research Methods

SOC9059

7

10

YES

1 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Advanced Quantitative Research Methods

SOC9060

7

10

YES

1 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Advanced Qualitative Research Methods

SOC9061

7

10

YES

2 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland: New Sociological Research

SOC9062

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

University Research and Civil Society

SOC9069

7

10

YES

5 weeks

N

YES

100%

0%

0%

Notes

Students will not have to enrol on SOC9056 if they have already achieved a foundation level of competence through previous study.