What you will study
This module is divided into the following four blocks of study:
In Block 1, you’ll begin with an overview of the social research process, exploring what social research is, how it is conducted, and why it is important. You’ll consider important issues including the factors that drive decisions about what social research receives funding and what doesn’t, how personal and political values might influence social research projects, and who benefits from social research and who doesn’t.
In Block 2, you’ll examine the early stages of the social research process, which involves a researcher’s choice of topic, research questions, aims and objectives. You’ll think carefully about how these choices connect with other important decisions during the planning phase of social research, including decisions around research design. You’ll move on to study a number of different research methods and approaches for generating or collecting data, including ethnography, focus groups, interviews, visual and online methods, questionnaires, and participatory action research.
In Block 3, your attention will shift from data collection to data analysis. You’ll consider various techniques that social researchers use to analyse their data, whether that’s data in quantitative (numeric) form or qualitative (non-numeric) form, such as text, images and sounds. You’ll also think critically about what different types of data can and can’t reveal about the social world.
In Block 4, you’ll explore what social researchers do in the latter stages of social research. You’ll learn about the different ways in which researchers write up and present their research, such as through the production of books, journal articles, blogs, podcasts, radio interviews and much more. You’ll be introduced to the topic of research ethics, considering what makes a research project ethical or unethical. Finally, you’ll explore the many different ways that social researchers attempt to use their research to make a difference in the world around them.
Along the way you’ll also learn about gender, race and social class, as these are core themes that help to structure content throughout the module.