Doing Social Research

Module code: SY2093

This module introduces you to key elements involved in carrying out original research, and exposes you to approaches for systematically collecting and analysing different kinds of data (interviews, numbers, documents, images).

The module begins by justifying the need for scientific methods, moves through literature reviewing to designing a good research question, and then goes on to different kinds of data and how they should be collected and analysed. The aim is to give you the skills you need to conduct your research project in the third year. For this reason, the assignment is based around three practical skills: writing a research proposal, designing a tool for collecting data and analysing qualitative interviews.

Topics covered

  • Linking theory to practical research
  • Doing a literature review
  • Devising research questions
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Effective use of comparisons
  • Re-using existing data
  • Effective measurement in social research
  • Conducting qualitative interviews
  • Analysing qualitative data
  • Ethnography and observation
  • Designing survey research
  • Analysing survey data
  • Doing content analysis
  • Visual methods and data
  • The internet as a research site
  • Sampling and generalisation
  • Conducting ethical research
  • Synthesising different aspects of the research process


  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of seminars
  • 271 hours of guided independent study


  • Research proposal, 2,000 words (50%)
  • Production of instruments for data generation, 700 words (25%)
  • Interview transcript analysis, 1,300 words (25%)