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Course content

Overview

Social research methods are a means of providing evidence to examine ideas about society - they are a way of 'knowing'. This course seeks to introduce you to a portfolio of research skills that will help you not only to become a competent researcher but also to expand your employment horizons.

Social research methods are important not just to social scientists wishing to study a particular problem or to test a theory in a way that is be considered rigorous. They are also fundamental tools of value to government, service providers and to business. You will be gain skills in a diverse range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, taught by research active staff in Geography. What makes the University of Dundee distinctive is its emphasis on the application of research to understand and tackle ‘real world’ problems. Throughout the MSc Social Research Methods you will engage with ‘live’ research issues and external organisations. Our students go on to gain employment in government, research organisations and business; some take their studies further, undertaking a PhD.

The aims of the MSc/Diploma programme in Social Research Methods are:

  • to advance your knowledge and understanding of the nature of research in social science
  • to enhance your skills in areas that will equip you as a social scientist for employment in a government, business or a public policy environment as well as in an academic context

The staff teaching the MSc in Social Research Methods course have wide experience of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and have deployed these skills not only to pursue frontline research in social science, but also as expert advisers to governments and as consultants to local, national and international organisations.

This course emphasises that it is important not only to understand how to use a particular research tool, but also to consider the wider meanings of how knowledge can be constructed in different ways and for diverse range of purposes. One particular feature of the course is the comprehensive and in-depth coverage of a variety of research methods including ethnographic and participatory tools and the analysis of large datasets. The course seeks to encourage students to think critically not only about the methods they use, but also to reflect on the limitations of what is knowable from the evidence presented by others.

Who should study this course?

This course is for students with a completed undergraduate degree looking to develop their knowledge and skills in the area of social research, and who are seeking employment in a range of sectors, or further study for a PhD in Geography or another social science.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

Teaching & Assessment

How you will be taught

Modules start at the beginning of the academic session in September and are taught by lectures and tutorials, plus independent and group study. Throughout there is an emphasis on student participation and class discussion. A recently introduced module Research in Practice involves students undertaking a work placement with a local organisation which uses social research, for example a local authority or charity.

How you will be assessed

The course is assessed by coursework (essays, practical classes, projects), examination and dissertation.

What you will study

There are core modules in:

  • Research Training
  • Applied Theoretical Approaches in Social Science
  • Quantitative Methods in Social Research
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research

Plus students choose two from:

  • Research in Practice (work placement)
  • Social Inequalities and Social Justice
  • Transformations for Sustainability

MSc students also complete a dissertation.

Careers

The course seeks to offer students a wide range of skills suitable for entry into careers as information officers and analysts, and research assistants working in a business or government environment. The course is recognised by the ESRC as providing the necessary research skills to go on and study for a PhD. Many of our past students have completed PhDs and now work in universities or other research organisations. 

Research by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) shows that the demand for Social Science Masters students with quantitative research skills far outstrips supply. This degree programme course has strong emphasis in this area, but the optional modules allow you to tailor the course to your personal career ambitions.

Previous students have gone on to work for local authority planning departments, the General Registrars Office Scotland (census office), ONS social analysis unit, and also as research assistants within the University sector.

Your Application

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the how to apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.


Visit the MSc Social Research Methods page on the University of Dundee website for more details!

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