Skip to main content

Masters in Social Research Methods


Programme Director: Professor Robert Miller


The course is designed to provide a fundamental grounding in both quantitative and qualitative research skills along with the opportunity to specialise in more advanced training in quantitative research, qualitative research or in practical applications of research techniques.  The programme consists of taught modules usually given during evenings or at weekends. 

Masters students take four modules plus the double-weighted dissertation module. The Diploma requires the satisfactory completion the equivalent of four full modules. Current modules are listed below:


SOC9012 Theory and Practice in Social Research Methods (Autumn Semester)

This module offers an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods and is designed for students with some basic knowledge but who seek further grounding. It is designed as preparation for undertaking postgraduate research and dissertation work. It also acts as preparation for the advanced quantitative and qualitative courses (SOC9008 and SOC9007) available in semester 2.

SOC9007 Qualitative Methodology (Spring Semester)

The course addresses both theoretical and practical aspects central to the conduct of qualitative research.  It critically raises questions about the choice, role and value of theory and the manner in which this influences processes like data collection, analysis, interpretation and writing up.  There is also a major emphasis on the practical aspects of the research process.

SOC9008 Quantitative Research Skills (Spring Semester)

The course provides the 'quantitative perspective'.  It covers social survey design and probability sampling, probability statistical testing, and the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences to analyse social data.

SOC9019 Dissertation

A dissertation of approximately 15,000-20,000 words on a topic relevant to social science research methods training.  The thesis will deal with either carrying out and reporting a small social research project which includes a full and considered description and discussion of the research methods employed or the discussion of a research issue or technique to a level appropriate for publication.

OPTIONAL MODULES (options will run subject to sufficient student numbers)

SOC9016 Data Sources and Issues in Secondary Analysis (Autumn Semester)

Issues in secondary analysis; orientation on the major secondary analysis archive holdings at ESDS interface; extracting and adapting datasets; linear and non-linear dataset structure.

SOC9017 The Storage, Management and Analysis of Qualitative Data (Autumn Semester)

Instruction on specialised topics of advanced qualitative analysis or the management of qualitative data, including the use of computer programmes for the analysis of qualitative data.

SOC9023 Social Science Research on-line (Autumn Semester)

The internet is a valuable tool in social science research - not just as a source of information but as a medium for recruiting research subjects and conducting qualitative research.  This course looks at using the internet to find information, to identify populations and to conduct sociological research using methods such as on-line interviewing and on-line participant-observation.

SOC9024 Key Debates in Social Theory and Practice(Autumn Semester)

This module aims to deepen students’ understanding of key debates in social theory and research, providing advanced level teaching for those building upon basic knowledge and undertaking postgraduate research. It is designed to demonstrate and explore how social theory is utilised, critiqued and developed through the pursuit of social research.

Masters Handbook 2013/14

Entrance requirements

For entrance requirements, please refer to the online Coursefinder


The closing date for applications is normally 30th June however the School will consider later applications on an individual basis.  Applications are made via the online Application Portal

Scholarship opportunities

Click here for more information on potential scholarship opportunities including the Patrick McCrystal Scholarship.