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.
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.
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 draws on the range of expertise available within the Department, as well as related academic departments, in order to provide an advanced training in social research methodologies, combined with the opportunity to focus on a substantic social science area.
Central to the Department's activities is the MSc Social Research Methods, which offers streams in: Social Policy, Population and Gender. The MSc programme will provide you with the opportunity to develop sophistication in research design and quantitative and qualitative research, and to undertake courses in one or more social science disciplines. You will acquire skills of ‘practical scholarship’ and the ability to design, conduct, analyse and report a social research project.
The syllabus for the MSc goes some way beyond the ESRC's requirements for the first year of a 1+3 PhD programme, and it is designed as training for doctoral research and as pre-professional training for careers in social research in the public and private sectors.
Almost 50 per cent of the graduates of this programme have entered PhD programmes, or are working in social research in universities or national and local government.
This programme provides an introduction to the principles and values of social work and an understanding of the organisation and delivery of social welfare and related services in the UK. It also provides you with a grounding in the social research methods necessary to conduct applied types of research that are a fundamental part of social work practice and evaluation.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which enables students to develop a research proposal for their dissertation. Part-time candidates take an equal balance of credits in each year.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
Research Design and Process (15 credits)
Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Social Work Context and Practice (30 credits)
Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
These MA Research Methods programmes are full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.
The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance
Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.
Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the School host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.
You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.