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.
The MSc in Social Research Methods is a degree offering advanced training in social research methods, designed to be flexible to accommodate students arriving with a range of previous methodological training. The core modules offer a strong grounding in the research process and quantitative and qualitative methods. The optional modules allow students to build on these and develop more advanced skills in particular methods of interest.
This degree is designed to cover the research methods used in collating evidence for the design, critique and evaluation of substantive issues in the social sciences. Students will gain hands-on experience in a range of methodologies used to study issues of interest in the real world. Students will be expected to apply their understanding of methodology to critique existing research, to design their own research, carry out their own analysis and communicate this clearly to academic specialists and non-specialists.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).
Students spend the fiirst term studying a range of core methods, before specialising in more advanced techniques in the second term. Exemptions may be given from some introductory modules for students with a strong background in a particular methodology.
Students take three of the following advanced optional modules. Students who gain exemption from any core modules will take optional modules to make up the difference.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
This programme is delivered via face-to-face daytime lectures, seminars and practical computer workshops. Assessment is through coursework assignments and a 10,000- to 12,000-word dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Social Research Methods MSc
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this Master's degree are currently working as:
There are a range of employers seeking students with suitable skills in research including government departments, academic institutions, the media, financial analysis and marketing.
UCL Social Science is a research-intensive department with world-leading experts in quantitative, qualitative and systematic review methodology - as well as a broad range of social science substantive subjects. We have a lively community of staff, PhD, MSc and undergraduate students involved in seminars, workshops and reading groups in addition to formal teaching.
Our department specialises in applying research methods to inform policy on education, health, labour markets, human development and child/adult wellbeing.
The department’s staff have a broad range of interests, which includes expertise in economics, sociology, psychology, social statistics, survey methods and data collection, mixed-methods research, and the techniques of policy evaluation.
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 programme aims to provide you with an advanced training in social research methods which can be applied to practical and disciplinary contexts. It aims to train you in research methods to a level which meets core expectations of the Economic and Social Research Council postgraduate programme and the Doctoral Training Alliance.
The criminology pathway specifically aims to combine research skills training with an analytical understanding of issues in relation to crime, harm, victimisation and offending; thus providing you with expertise both in core criminological knowledge and skills and advanced-level research methods training.
This course is suitable for you if you are looking to improve or develop your ability to research and evaluate policy and practice ethically and professionally, and if you are wishing to conduct research in an academic setting or pursue a career as a social researcher.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You learn by: attending lectures and seminars; discussing key readings; through group and individual activities and exercises; through debate and discussion with staff and other students; through informal and formal feedback on assignments; and through one-to-one teaching with members of academic staff.
How you are assessed
You are assessed through a wide variety of methods including qualitative and quantitative research and analysis exercises, written reports, essays, CV development and an original piece of research which is written up as an article or report (dissertation).
Graduates are equipped to work within local government, education, health, the cultural sector, or anywhere where policies and practices are evaluated and inform future development. Graduates also work in employment arenas where it is important to submit well-crafted and conceptualised bids and proposals for projects. It is an appropriate course for those wanting to progress their current careers by increasing their research skills.
The course is designed to be accessible to non-statisticians, yet is more focussed than many other existing master's courses in social research methods. You'll need a base level of knowledge in undergraduate research methods which you will build on throughout the course to gain comprehensive statistical and analytical skills.
The course has a strong connection with the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMIST), reflecting our commitment to interdisciplinary, integrated research. Research activities within the Social Statistics discipline area are both methodological and substantive. They focus on a wide range of subject areas including social inequalities, population dynamics and survey methodology. The SRMS MSc course is recognised by both the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the North West Doctoral Training Centre, from whom we receive a large number of Advanced Quantitative methods (AQM) and CASE awards each year.
The MSc course aims to develop future social scientists who will have a thorough grounding in research, and are equipped with the tools for collecting and analysing statistical data.
Those completing the MSc course are well suited to roles within central and local government, academia and commercial research and our rate of employability is especially high.
Contact the Course Director:
Professor Wendy Olsen
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0161 2753043
or Admissions Tutor:
Dr K. Purdam
Email: [email protected]
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The SRMS course provides a thorough grounding in advanced quantitative methods, taught within an applied social science framework. Whilst the training focuses on advanced quantitative methods, the course is designed to be accessible to students coming from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds and with varying levels of prior statistical knowledge.
The course is available full-time over one year or part-time over two-years, and may be studied as either an MSc or a Postgraduate Diploma.
All students (MSc and Postgraduate Diploma) take course units totalling 120 credits (eight 15-credit courses) over the year.
Course units typically include:
All students proceeding to MSc must complete a research dissertation of up to 15,000 words. Those on the Postgraduate Diploma may upgrade to the full MSc subject to satisfactory course performance.
Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: [email protected]
There is an increasing need for well-trained social scientists who are able to apply advanced methods of analysis to complex data. Graduates of our programme in Social Research Methods and Statistics are in a good position to obtain jobs in central government, including the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the academic sector, local government and within the commercial research sector. We have excellent links with ONS and government departments such as the Department for Children, Schools and Families, local authorities and many commercial organisations and thus well placed to assist students in finding jobs. A number of our students already hold research positions (typically in local government or overseas) and take the MSc as part of career development programmes. The SRMS course is ideal preparation for students wishing to pursue doctoral study, and is a formal component of our 1+3 PhD training model. CMIST usually have a number of funded PhD studentships each year and many studentships are taken up by graduates of the SRMS programme.
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 provides practical, career-orientated training in social science research methods, including research design, data collection and data analysis relating to both qualitative and quantitative modes of inquiry.
Students will have the opportunity to specialise in particular methodologies and to learn more about the application of these methodologies to illuminate important issues and debates in contemporary society.
The programme is designed to provide a fundamental grounding in both quantitative and qualitative research skills, along with the opportunity to specialise in more advanced training in quantitative research, qualitative research or in practical applications of research techniques.
This module offers an introduction to the different styles of social science research as well as guidance and illustrations of how to operationalize research questions and assess them empirically. Students will be shown how to conduct systematic literature searches and how to manage empirical research projects. The module will also explore issues around the ethics of social science research as well as the connection between social science research and policy concerns. It is designed as preparation for undertaking postgraduate research and dissertation work.
This module aims to deepen students' understanding of key debates in social theory and research, providing advanced level teaching for those building upon basic knowledge and undertaking postgraduate research. It is designed to demonstrate and explore how social theory is utilised, critiqued and developed through the pursuit of social science research.
The purpose of this module is to illuminate the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research. The module will discuss the impact of various theories on the nature and conduct of qualitative research particularly around questions of epistemology and ontology. The role of different types of interviewing in qualitative research will be utilised in order to explore the relationship between theory and methods.
The aim of the module is to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of measurement and constructing quantitative data in the social sciences. Through lectures and practical exercises, this module will provide students with relevant knowledge of secondary data sources and large datasets, their respective uses and usefulness, and their relevance for the study of contemporary social issues
The module will provide students with an overview of different approaches to qualitative data analysis. It will include introductory training to this skill that includes such techniques as thematic analysis and discourse analysis, as well as computer assisted qualitative data analysis. It will provide the knowledge necessary for the informed use of the qualitative data analysis software package NVivo. The module gives students a base level introduction to the analytical and technical skills in qualitative data analysis appropriate to the production of a Master's dissertation and/or use of CAQDAS software for social science research purposes.
This module provides an introduction to the basics of quantitative data analysis. The module will begin with a brief review of basic univariate and bivariate statistical procedures as well as cover data manipulation techniques. The module is taught through a series of seminars and practical workshops. These two strands are interwoven within each teaching session. Please note that students may be granted an exemption from this module if they have already successfully completed a module that has the equivalent learning outcomes.
This module advances students' confidence and knowledge in the use of SPSS. The module focuses on multivariate regression models, including the appropriate use and awareness of statistical assumptions underlying regression and the testing and refinement of such models.
A dissertation of no more than 15,000 words on a topic relevant to social science research methods training. The thesis will involve either carrying out and reporting on a small social science research project which includes a full and considered description and discussion of the research methods employed or the discussion of a research issue or technique to a level appropriate for publication.
We offer a range of advanced modules in quantitative and qualitative research methods, for example, logistic regression, internet-based research and visual research methods. We also provide specialist modules which reflect the teaching team’s diverse research interests, from the social logic of emotional life to conflict and change in divided societies. Optional modules generally run during the Spring semester and are offered subject to sufficient student demand and staff availability. Students will be able to choose a maximum of three to four option modules (depending on whether they need to complete Quantitative Data Analysis: Foundational). Please note that it is unlikely that all the following modules will be available for 2017/8. Please check with the Programme Director for queries about specific modules.
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.