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This Master's degree in Social Research Methods aims to provide advanced training in a range of research methods used in the social sciences.
Teaching and Employability:
- Teaching is carried out by highly-respected, research active, professionals conducting research across a range of research areas and publishing in top international journals
- Students benefit from state-of-the-art technology with over twenty general purpose research rooms and numerous specialised testing facilities
- Specialist modules in criminology, social work and human geography, research leadership and management
- Emphasis on development of ethical, knowledgeable, skilful social researchers” through critical discussion, up to date information, debates and presentations
MSc Social Research Methods is a highly regarded and prestigious qualification which has been developed to:
- enable students to develop practical research skills and advanced methodological expertise (both qualitative and quantitative);
- instil familiarity with research ethics and governance, and
- gain knowledge about theoretical research concerns across the spectrum of social science disciplines.
Elective modules and a dissertation provide scope for specialisation in applied social sciences, including but not limited to: criminology, human geography, social work and health.
This Master’s degree in Social Research Methods has ESRC accreditation and provides advanced training in a range of research methods used in the social sciences. The degree instils familiarity with research ethics and governance, and students gain knowledge about theoretical research concerns across the spectrum of social science disciplines.
Students on the Social Research Methods course are encouraged to devise research dissertations themselves (supported by an academic supervisor).
Modules on the Social Research Methods programme typically include:
Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction to Research and Study Skills
Data Collection Methods
Ethics and Philosophy of Social Research
Quantitative Research Methods
Advanced Research in Human Geography
Research Leadership and Project Management
Case Studies in Applied Social Research: Social Work
Case Studies in Applied Social Res: Applied Research in Crime & Criminal Justice
Dissertation (Social Research)
Teaching is in the form of lectures, seminars, group-project work and individual study. All Social Research Methods students are assigned a Personal Tutor and Dissertation Supervisor appropriate to their chosen area of study.
The Social Research Methods course is made up of six 20-credit modules (Part 1) and a 60-credit dissertation (Part 2).
The Social Research Methods course is suitable for:
- students who want to prepare themselves for the challenge of MPhil or PhD study; who are already professionally involved in working with people in the social sector and want to develop their own skills and professional expertise
- students from different academic disciplines who are interested in conducting social research and are interested in seeking employment or already have employment in both public and private sectors
- previous students are those with backgrounds in social policy, sociology, law, criminology, human geography, politics, arts and humanities, ageing studies , psychology and health science
- anyone wanting to add a valuable qualification as part of developing a full academic career
- anyone who is interested in society, social behaviour, and social change and would like to learn more
- anyone working in, or wishing to work in, government or voluntary organisations, and commercial areas where social research is undertake
Past Social Research Methods students have gone on to be employed in public and private sectors, research work, PhD , vocational work, the criminal justice system, social work, environmental health, teaching, local government, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and health and social care.
Contributing lecturers are renowned nationally and internationally. For example, Professor David Hughes has published on the universal coverage healthcare reforms of Thailand and Turkey, Debbie Jones jointly led on The Student Sex Workers' project from Swansea University's Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology.
The MSc Social Research methods is serviced by research active staff, many of whom are leaders in their field of research. The team has strong links with Criminology whose staff have been awarded Howard league Research Medal 2013 for work on the Swansea Bureau Youth Scheme. Lecturers from the course also include those from the world renowned Centre for Innovative Aging and also Human Geography.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.
In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.
This course is perfect if you are looking to embark on a successful career as a researcher or academic and will provide you with the necessary training as part of your study for your MPhil/PhD.
The course is distinctive in providing students with an exciting opportunity to develop expertise in a range of both quantitative and qualitative research methods of data collection and analysis with a focus on their application to real-world issues.
The course has 1+3 recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council. Only three Education Departments in post-92 universities have this prestigious kitemark.
In order to enhance your engagement with the issues to be examined, and to allow flexibility over how you manage your time, the Social Research Methods programme will be delivered through weekly sessions in the Autumn and Spring semesters supplemented by tutorial support available (both face-to-face and electronically). Evening sessions are provided for part-time students.
All three levels of the programme will include an introduction to the processes and issues involved in designing a quantitative or qualitative research project. You will also undertake modules that will introduce you to the methods of quantitative (including use of SPSS) and qualitative (including use of CAQDAS) research, giving you the skills and confidence to use these approaches to data collection and analysis in your own research.
If you progress to do a PGD or MA you will also explore the philosophy of social science research where you will examine the relationship between epistemology, ontology and methodology. Furthermore, you will explore concepts that underpin educational and social research including empiricism, rationalism, hermeneutics, feminism, post-modernism and critical realism and critique their relation to objectivity, causation, and validity.
You will also focus on key elements of the Research Councils’ Joint Statement of Skills Training for Research Students. You can then choose to study interpretations of the concept of education - and their implications for research - and the role of values in educational theory and research methodologies, or the basic theoretical concepts in social theory, with a particular emphasis on sociology and social policy.
Masters students will complete a dissertation in an area of their choosing in the fields of education or the social sciences.
The PG certificate course addresses core features of social research methods, focusing on different forms of data and how they can be collected and analysed. MA-level study is aimed at students who either want a discrete research-based MA or want to run a pilot study for an MPhil/PhD research project.
The following is a list of modules that you need to take to complete the different awards:
plus one of two optional modules:
This is THE course for those wishing to be employed in the research field of education and/or social sciences.
Develop the skills and knowledge to produce meaningful social research with this challenging programme.
Core modules will teach you how to turn social research issues and questions into workable research designs, as well as handling quantitative and qualitative data and issues such as ethics and funding applications. You’ll also have the chance to specialise through a choice of optional modules, allowing you to focus on research in topics such as disability studies, care, social policy analysis, criminology and evaluation of programmes and policies.
This taught programme has recently been redesigned to meet the new postgraduate training and development guidelines of the ESRC, meaning it stands alone as an MA but will also prepare you for doctoral research in this dynamic field of scholarship. You’ll be well prepared to become a specialist social science researcher, supported by expert tutors across our active research centres and institutes.
You’ll learn in a research-intensive, stimulating environment. As well as the Leeds Social Sciences Institute which fosters collaboration, you’ll benefit from the interdisciplinary expertise hosted by the Centre for Disability Studies, Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies and many others. All of these centres run their own calendars of events such as workshops and seminars.
Find out more about Research in the School of Sociology and Social Policy.
At the start of the programme you’ll build your knowledge of research design, learning to connect abstract theoretical and methodological perspectives with practical research strategies. Sampling and selection, choosing the right data collection and analysis methods, the ethics and politics of research design and creating research proposals will all be among the topics you explore.
You’ll also have the chance to deepen your subject knowledge with your optional module. You could focus on crime, social policy analysis or evaluative research as well as disability studies, care or social thought.
In Semester 2 you’ll begin intensive training in analysing quantitative and qualitative data. You’ll learn to use statistical software, design surveys and questionnaires and record, code, organise and manage qualitative data. You’ll evaluate different research methods, understanding the benefits, limitations, and ethical implications of each one and when to use them.
By the end of the programme in September, you’ll submit a research project that puts the skills you’ve gained into practice – and perhaps lay the foundations of your future research.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to develop the research skills and theoretical knowledge you need. These include seminars, tutorials, and presentations. You’ll also attend practical sessions and workshops where you’ll get to grips with data analysis. Independent study is also vital to this programme, allowing you to refine your skills and prepare for your taught sessions.
You’ll experience different assessment methods, including presentations, literature reviews, research proposals and essays. In data analysis modules, you’ll be expected to analyse and engage with data within your essays. We offer plenty of support with aspects such as academic writing.
In the last decade there has been enormous growth in social research, leading to an increasing variety of career options. There are a number of different research environments, such as academic departments, third sector organisations, private research organisations and governmental agencies – all of which have distinctive research cultures.
There is an increasing emphasis on the production of high quality, rigorous and meaningful research by professionally trained researchers. We designed the MA in Social Research to provide such training, and the course will interest people pursuing, or enhancing, a research-related career in a wide range of settings.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The MSc in Criminology and Social Research (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) has been created to meet the growing market demand for enhanced knowledge and practice in the area of cybercrime and its control and helps address the current gaps in cyber skills recently identified as a ‘key challenge’ by the National Audit Office.
It offers the opportunity to work with leading theorists in the field of cybercrime and experts from the Surrey Centre for Cybersecurity – one of only 14 recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research by GCHQ and the UK Government.
Building on our existing MSc in Criminology and Social Research, the programme will offer a particular focus into the areas of cybercriminality and cybersecurity to provide you with enhanced knowledge in this area and an increasingly wider range of related career options upon graduation.
The programme is aimed at graduates and practitioners who seek advanced knowledge about issues connected with cybercrime and cybersecurity, the criminal justice system and social research.
It will also suit graduates and practitioners considering a PhD in the area of cybercrime or cybersecurity, practitioners in the criminal justice system and related government and voluntary agencies who wish to develop their understanding of the wider issues connected to cybercrime.
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.
Students are encouraged to take up opportunities for experiential learning in workplace settings, providing extended opportunities for work experience and career development in professional research settings.
The department supports students in finding three-to-four-week research placements during spring and summer vacation periods, and this approach has recently been supplemented to include strategies of support for students seeking a wider range of opportunities for professional development in the first-hand experience of research organisation – including such activities as part-time internships over longer periods, workplace visits, or shadowing research professionals.
This introduces further flexibility in a student-led process of professional development in light of increasing external pressures on students’ commitments and responsibilities. All, however, involve opportunities to consider issues in career development and professional skills.
The support process involves the department working closely with students on a one-to-one basis toward their goals and requirements, in association with the University’s Careers Service, to offer pastoral advice and support.
Organisations the department has worked with in the past have included the Office of National Statistics, Cabinet Office, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Sussex Youth Offending team and Surrey Police.
In some cases, the work experience may also be with projects in academic contexts. Students seek experiential learning opportunities with the support of the department’s Senior Placement Tutor, and assistance from the Faculty Placement Office.
The MSc pathway in Cybercrime & Cybersecurity on the MSc Criminology and Social Research will combine grounding in the discipline of criminology and training in the full range of qualitative and quantitative methods of social research with specialised understanding of the key issues in cybercriminality and the cybersecurity measures being developed against this.
It is designed to meet the needs of students graduating from a first degree who have an interest in cybercrime, people who are currently employed and wish to apply knowledge of criminology and cybercrime within their present job, or those who wish to move into specialised research or practice in the fields of cybercrime and cybercriminality.
The degree provides an ideal foundation to undertake a part-time or full-time PhD.
The degree is suitable for a wide range of students in terms of age, professional background, and current occupation and circumstances. Because of this diversity of experience, students on the degree learn a great deal from each other, including at the residential Weekend Conference in the middle of the first semester, and the Day Conference at the end of the first semester.
The full-time MSc is taught over 12 months and the part-time course over 24 months. Students who do not wish to undertake the Masters dissertation can obtain the Postgraduate Certificate in Criminology and Social Research (Cybercrime & Cybersecurity) after gaining 60 credits, or the Postgraduate Diploma after gaining 120 credits.
Students studying for the MSc in full-time mode are required to submit their dissertation during the academic year in which they commenced registration.
It is expected that students studying part-time will have obtained a minimum of 60 credits by the end of the first 12 months of registration in order to proceed into the second year.
A distinctive component of the MSc is the opportunity to undertake a placement at a criminal justice agency or research institute for four weeks during the spring break. The practical experience and insights gained reinforce formal learning.
A residential weekend conference is attended by all programme members, PhD students and teaching staff in November.
This provides a less formal atmosphere for discussions concerning criminology, research and related themes; 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.
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.
This programme offers a strong grounding in the methodologies of Sociology and allied social sciences, whilst allowing you to explore specialist aspects of the discipline. While you may wish to pursue a career in social research and many other fields, the degree also provides a firm basis for PhD-level research. If you follow the MA Social Research Methods route, you will achieve a detailed understanding of a range of traditional and emerging social research methods, and the opportunity to apply this knowledge in an independent research project that forms their dissertation. This programme encourages you to focus on cutting-edge sociology, with teaching that directly relates to the research interests and activities of academic staff.
In order to provide a strong core in social research methods, there are three one-term mandatory modules in social research methods, beginning with Understanding Social Science and moving onto specialist modules in Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. Through these, you’ll learn about latest innovations and debates in methodology as well as practicebased learning. You’ll then be able to choose three optional modules from a range of specialist modules. You’ll also progress to research and write your own 15,000-word dissertation with personal supervision from one of our leading scholars.
Overall we aim to encourage a critical understanding of the possibilities of Sociology in terms of empirical research, methodological innovations, theoretical developments, and their interrelations.