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Social Research (Local Government and Public Policy) - MA

Students will acquire a general overview of the philosophy of social research, and understand how this informs research design, methods of data collection and analysis.

This programme aims to provide students with a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills.

Students will develop an ability to use a range of research methods, to communicate research findings effectively and an understanding of the potential use of and impact of their research within and beyond academia.

More information on: Social Research MA

Course details

Many core elements of the programme are delivered by the College of Social Sciences, so you will be undertaking the modules with other students from across the College. In addition, there is an induction programme during the first two weeks of the term, which is compulsory, but non-assessed and a programme of skills training which is delivered at University-level, mainly by the Staff Development Unit, throughout the year. You are encouraged to attend all the modules in the programme which are appropriate to you. You must discuss your skills training needs with your designated supervisor in the first week of the first term.

This MA is recognised by the ESRC for the provision of research methods training as Year 1 of a '1+3' programme of doctoral study. It is also available as a stand-alone Masters. Home/EU students may enter into a departmental competition to be nominated for the ESRC open competition for '1+3' or '+3' funding (the '1+3' award covers the MA and provides three years' further funding for PhD research; for '+3' funding you must already have an ESRC-recognised research methods MA degree or equivalent).

Assessment

All core modules are assessed by a 4000-word essay or report. On most advanced training courses, a 3000-report is usually required. The dissertation length is 14,000 words and students are expected to utilise the knowledge and skills they learned from the taught elements in this programme.

Skills and attributes gained

Students will have acquired a solid foundation of a broad range of research methods that are widely used in the social sciences and will have developed:

  • A sound understanding of the methodological debates
  • An overview of the philosophy of social science and how this informs research design, methods chosen of data collection and analysis
  • An ability to use a range of research techniques appropriate to their subject area
  • Competence in the representation and presentation of information and data
  • An ability to communicate research findings effectively to a wider range of audiences
  • An appreciation of the potential use and impact of their research within and beyond academia
  • An ability to engage with relevant users at all points in the research process, from devising and shaping research questions through to enhancing practice

Careers

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 and so on.


Visit the Social Research (Local Government and Public Policy) - MA page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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