Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Social Research Methods at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
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.
These postgraduate programmes aim to create highly sought-after researchers who are ready to apply their advanced knowledge and practical skills in the workplace or on further research.
You will learn how to collect, analyse and interpret social data and become skilled in interview techniques, surveys, problem-solving, communication skills and the latest industry software.
Students examine issues from across the social sciences and are introduced to both quantitative and qualitative research methods before having the option of specialising.
During the programme, you will research real world issues such as evaluating local health care services, predicting voting behaviour during elections or researching the impact of Hull’s year as the 2017 UK City of Culture on local people.
Taught by experienced researchers who are experts in their fields, the interesting and varied curriculum will be delivered through an enquiry-based approach to teaching including small-group work, tutorials, workshops and independent study.
It was designed with input from industry experts, former students and leading academics to ensure that it means the demands of the modern social research industry.
Students will be provided with a high level of academic support across the programme and all modules will be taught on one specific day (currently Thursdays) to accommodate part-time and working students.
There are four variants:
MSc in Social Research
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MSc in Social Research with Quantitative Methods
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MA in Social Research with Qualitative Methods
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MSc in Social Research (Doctoral Training Pathway)
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
* All modules are subject to availability.
These programmes are an ideal route for those aiming for research careers in the public, voluntary or private sectors, including would-be senior civil servants keen to take advantage of the Government’s Fast Stream scheme to find the leaders of the future.
It equips students with practical skills and experience for a wide range of organisations including research agencies, charities, independent organisations, trade unions, pressure groups and lobby groups.
The programmes also offer continuing professional development for those already working as researchers and who want to advance their careers. It is also an excellent training programme for those wishing to progress to PhD level study.
The MA Social Research draws upon a wide variety of contemporary theoretical traditions including postcolonial theory, poststructuralism, discourse analysis, critical or subtle realism, and feminism.
The MA Social Research is located in a high ranking Sociology Department and draws upon a wide variety of contemporary theoretical traditions including postcolonial theory, poststructuralism to discourse analysis, critical or subtle realism, and feminism. The aim of the MA is to explore how these may present implications for methodological design and analytical strategies.
The MA teaching is made up of lectures and workshops covering both qualitative and quantitative methods during which students are encouraged to try out, evaluate and sometimes combine different approaches. The range of methods covered include interviewing and observation, archival research, visual methods, ethnographic work as well as statistical analysis of large-scale quantitative data sets.
The dissertation research project assesses your proficiency in managing different types of data and your ability to design and carry out an original piece of research. Dissertation workshops will guide you as you prepare to undertake a substantive piece of research on a topic of your choice. The dissertation research will be supervised by an experienced member of staff.
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
The programme will enable you to develop:
The MA is ideal research preparation for an MPhil/PhD and a future academic career in Sociology. A number of successful doctoral students have completed the MA Social Research before applying for ESRC funding and/or going on to successfully complete their doctorate. These include current members of staff. Also, the MASR has provided an excellent preparation for those entering the public, health and third/NGO sector with such organizations as the Resolution Foundation and the Parkinson’s Charity. Others have successfully competed for entry into the Civil Service ‘fast track’ scheme for government social research. Similar examples of success can be seen under student profiles.
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.
This programme aims to provide students with a sound background in social research design and the most up-to-date training in methods of data collection and analysis.
The College of Social Sciences welcomes all postgraduates to the recently redesigned MA in Social Research programme which continues to enjoy full Research Training recognition by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This programme aims to provide students with a sound background in social research design and the most up-to-date training in methods of data collection and analysis. The combination of core modules and advanced training courses on more advanced topics provides maximum flexibility for taught postgraduate and research students throughout their study.
The core elements of the programme are delivered by staff across the entire College, many of whom are engaged in cutting-edge research in their own fields. Students benefit by undertaking this training with students from numerous diverse departments including the Business School, Economics, Education, Government and Society, Institute of Applied Social Studies and Social Policy; and within the wider College. Students will also receive more discipline-specific research training, as well as dissertation supervision, provided by individual departments. On completion of this MA, many students continue their studies as a graduate research student, or pursue a career in research in the public, private, or voluntary sector.
All students registered on the MA in Social Research will take:
1) Four core modules:
2) Four elective modules (10 credits each) from the Advanced Training Modules below. Social Research Advanced Training Modules Timetable 2016-17 (PDF 376KB)
3) A 12,000 word dissertation (60 credits).
Students are expected to engage in high-level discussion during all sessions. Teaching will be delivered by a combination of lectures, seminars and computer workshops. Some fieldwork involving primary data collection is required where appropriate.
Many students go on to do a PhD after completing this MA. Others have followed a career in local authorities, government departments, health authorities, management consultancy, media, the voluntary sector.
Forge a career as a social researcher, social worker or a consultant in the public or private healthcare and care sectors with a Masters course in Sociology and Social Research. This programme is recognised by the ESRC as a research training course, is designed to equip postgraduate students with advanced knowledge of both issues and applied methods in sociological analysis.
The programme supports students in developing independent social research skills, and applying them in such contemporary subject areas as work, crime, migration, health, the media and the body. It also engages students in the discussion of issues and perspectives from both classical and contemporary sociological theories. The programme is an excellent grounding if you wish to pursue a PhD in sociology, and can also be a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue a career in the public, private or voluntary sector.
Do you want to know more about the tools with which we study diverse areas of society, such as work, crime, migration, health, the media or the body? Our masters in Sociology and Social Research supports students in developing independent social research skills, and applying them in contemporary subject areas relevant to societal progress and knowledge.
It engages students in the discussion of issues and perspectives from both classical and contemporary sociological theories. The course provides an excellent grounding if you wish to pursue a PhD in sociology, and can also be a stepping stone for those looking for a career in the public, private or voluntary sector.
The aims of this programme are to provide you with:
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.
Social Research in Education at Winchester offers a programme of focused study of research methods applicable to educational settings and educational enquiry. You are equipped and encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of research methods, research design, and the cultural and ethical contexts in which educational research takes place. The course helps you to develop advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills, which support you in starting or enhancing a career in research or as a senior professional able to support others in research endeavours, for example in schools.
We focus on research design, which enables you to select appropriate approaches and methods to carry out investigations. It provides you with the opportunity to develop intellectual and practical skills, along with the ability to analyse and communicate complex ideas, and creatively plan and manage an independent postgraduate research project in education. It also equips you with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study.
You study core modules in Quantitative Methods in Social Research, Qualitative Methods in Social Research, and Theory, and Practice and Ethics in Social Research. You may choose to target a particular aspect of educational practice for data collection, although assignments analyse data collection methods, analysis approaches or ethical aspects of the research rather than the content of the practice.
There is also a final dissertation project, for which you choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology and explore it. This may also include an investigation of an aspect of education that interests you. You participate in workshops and seminars, and on-going online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students. These include debating issues such as ethical considerations in research, and help develop some of the underpinning research skills.
Graduates of the course are equipped to pursue careers in educational research, as research officers working for educational bodies such as local authorities, as contract researchers, or as project officers working on funded projects in higher education or research institutes.
UK, EU, World
Students who are not currently working in an educational setting need to establish clear links with at least one setting for research purposes.
Start dates: September
Distance learning available: For research methods modules. Independent study supervisions may be conducted by Skype or email.
Teaching takes place: Weekends. However, the Theory, Practice and Ethics in Social Research module is taught at the summer school in June/July, and one weekend in September.
Workshops and seminars develop some of the underpinning research skills. Students are part of ongoing online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students, and are equipped to present aspects of research in a range of ways.
King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester
Assessed work includes portfolios of completed tasks, essays, presentations and posters; all assessments are given numerical grades. For the dissertation, students choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology, and explore this through a project which may also explore an aspect of education that interests them.
Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.
We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes.
Further details on assessment types used can be found by attending an open evening or contacting our teaching staff.
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures section.
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.