Social researchers employ a constantly evolving range of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore attitudes and experiences, and to understand patterns of social behaviour.
This programme won't just train you in the application of specific research techniques: it will illuminate the connections between sociological theory and empirical research, and relate research to the development of public policy and the analysis of substantive social issues.
Wider issues of the social research process are also covered and include: the planning and management of research projects; the methodological, theoretical, philosophical and ethical aspects of research; and the presentation and publication of research findings.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
On the MSc Social Research Methods, we offer the opportunity to take four weeks of work experience during the Easter vacation. This will provide you with first-hand experience of large-scale and real-life research in action.
Where the full period is not practical, as may be the case for part-time students, it is also possible to take up the opportunity of a shorter period of two to four weeks, usually during the summer. Work experience is arranged with the help of the Department’s placement tutor.
Please note that while we try to meet all requests for work experience, in some cases it may not be possible.
Thomas Asdell Bursary
Thanks to the generosity of the family of former student Thomas Asdell the department can offer a bursary of £1000 to one new MSc student for 2017/18- please email the course director for details.
Two scholarships of up to £3,000 will be available across all Sociology MSc programmes, to be awarded on a competitive basis to self-funding students accepting an offer of a place on the MSc for the academic year 2017/18.
Both types of scholarship will be paid in the form of a fee remission of the appropriate amount, and will be open to both home and overseas students. Part-time students will be eligible to apply and, if successful, will receive a scholarship which is reduced pro rata but may be continued for a second year of study subject to successful completion of the first year.
The MSc Social Research Methods includes a residential conference, usually in November.
The conference provides an opportunity for discussion in an informal atmosphere, around current research issues and debates, technologies and methods at the forefront of social research; it includes lectures from eminent guest speakers and members of staff, seminars and small group discussions.
The Department also organises a day conference for MSc students at the University, with student presentations and guest speakers.
The Department of Sociology is internationally recognised as a centre of research excellence. A particular area of strength is research methodology and research training.
Members of staff undertake a wide variety of internationally renowned individual scholarship including work on gender, employment, organisations, cross-national survey, culture, ethnicity, sociological theory, environment, youth and identities, sociology of sleep and the sociology of social policy.
The Department’s commitment to developing technical competence in research methods, and encouraging the use of appropriate information and communication technologies in social research, is reflected in the fact that it houses the UK national centre for software for qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS).
The Department runs a successful international fellowship scheme which enables international researchers to visit Surrey each year. These strengths in research, and in innovative research methods in particular, feed into our master’s-level teaching and inform the continued updating of content within modules.
The main aims of the programme are to:
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
A higher degree by research involves training in research methods and a laboratory based high level scientific investigation. The nature of the work and the time it takes to finish the research means a research degree is demanding and needs great commitment.
Your research takes place with the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre (BMRC). The BMRC has been established for over 15 years. We have over 40 postgraduate students enrolled on MPhil/PhD programmes, as well as a number of postdoctoral research assistants. This provides an active and stimulating research environment.
Whilst studying, postgraduate students are encouraged and supported to present their latest research findings at national and international conferences as part of the BMRC. You must present your results in a thesis, explain the methods used in your research and defend them in a viva voce examination.
To get an MPhil you must critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic and display an understanding of suitable research methods.
BMRC staff work in collaboration with UK and international scientists as well as clinical colleagues at a number of UK hospitals.
We have a broad range of facilities including
In the 2008 RAE Assessment, the BMRC was submitted under Unit of Assessment 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies - which included 21 staff from BMRC and eight from the Centre for Health and Social Care. 65 per cent of the research in the joint submission was considered to be internationally recognised. When measured by the quality of its research and weighted by the number of staff submitted in this unit of assessment, Sheffield Hallam University was rated 16th out of the 42 post-92 universities who submitted (figure obtained from Research Professional). In terms of the publications submitted for consideration by the RAE panel, 75 per cent of these were of an international standard.
Evidence of the growth in research activity in the BMRC between RAE 2001 and RAE 2008 is the doubling of the number of staff returned in 2008 compared with 2001 and a three-fold increase in income. We currently have six postdoctoral researchers and 40 PhD students in BMRC, with 30 successful PhD awards being made during the period 2008-13.
Split MPhil option for international students
A split MPhil is a research degree programme for international students wishing to study from their home country university. You register for a Sheffield Hallam University MPhil degree and spend some time studying in Sheffield but are substantially based in your home country.
The balance of study between Sheffield Hallam and the overseas university is agreed between you and your supervisors, depending on the needs of your research programme, but will not exceed three months per annum in UK.
The benefits for students studying on the split scheme include
When you begin your research, we allocate you a director of studies and a supervisor. Regular meetings between you and your supervisors are scheduled, with targets set for written and oral presentation of research progress.
The research courses include:
University student induction
We designed this to give you the information you need to successfully begin your research at the University.
Research methods module
This module develops generic research skills including:
You have to attend relevant seminars from the Bioscience Forum series.
Thesis followed by viva voce examination.
Research degrees are a vital qualification for most academic careers, and for professional specialisation and development in an existing or planned career.
Within the health and care professions, the demand for evidence-based practice has led to an increasing need for high-quality research to underpin practice. A Master of Clinical Research will provide graduates with the education and experience necessary in order to plan and undertake health-related, or clinically-based research.
This multi-disciplinary course aims to provide a broad, foundational research training for nurses, midwives and other health and care professionals who wish to develop careers in clinical or academic research, as well as those who may wish to continue on to doctoral studies. The course will focus on preparing students to undertake projects relevant to their practice through the development of skills and knowledge in research methodologies, project management, research governance and evidence-based practice.
The course will comprise of two 30-credit taught modules - Research Methods and Applied Research - plus an extended research project. These modules will focus on research methodologies, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, research ethics, patient and public involvement, research governance, project management and disseminating research. The two taught modules will incorporate a range of teaching and learning activities which will be underpinned by the assumption that the adult learners on this course will already possess transferable skills and knowledge related to evidence-based practice. Considerable use will be made of the virtual learning environment through which students will be supported to develop their autonomy and self-direction in terms of learning further. Central to this will be the development of a community of practice through which students will support each other to develop their research skills.
Within this context, students will have the opportunity to engage with diverse teaching and learning activities which can include lectures, tutorials, asynchronous online discussions, collaborative working towards group presentations and/or seminar production, case study analysis, individual presentations and directed study.
A key aspect of course is the research project. Assessment of the project will be staged, providing students with opportunities for formative feedback throughout. The final assessment will focus on the dissemination of the study findings in such a way as to have the maximum possible influence on practice.
Research Methods classes run weekly during semester one and may be accessed either face-to-face or by distance learning. Applied Research classes run fortnightly over semesters one and two and are delivered face-to-face. During the research project, you will have up to 20 hours of one-to- one support from your supervisor.
30 credits: Research Methods / Applied Research
120 credits: Extended Research Project.
A non-medical clinical academic has been defined as a nurse, midwife or allied health professional who concurrently undertakes both clinical practice and research. A key aspect of their research is that it is focused on providing effective, quality healthcare services. Clinical academics will work within, and contribute to, an environment that will lead the way in achieving excellence in healthcare and health outcomes through evidence-based practice.
The introduction of our Master of Clinical Research, intended to support the development of clinical academics, will contribute to meeting this need. The Non- Medical Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Clinical Academic Research Career Framework recommends this type of MRes education for those in the early stages of a clinical academic career and therefore the course will fit well with identified training needs of the NMAHP professions. Graduates may go on to develop research in their own practice areas, or continue to doctoral level studies.