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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Sociology

  • Start Date

    October

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

  • Course Type

    MA

  • Course Fees

    website

  • Last Updated

    16 November 2017

Course content

Sociology as a discipline encompasses the examination and analysis of all aspects of social life and social relations. This programme is designed to provide you with a grounding in social research to enable you to develop sociological investigations of the social world.

Please note: this course is not a currently recognised pathway within the Doctoral Training Centre.

Course Structure

Core Modules

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 will enable you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.

In previous years, typical modules offered were:

Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)

  • Introduction to social scientific research
  • Establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences
  • Essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.

Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)

  • Spreadsheets and data analysis
  • Populations, sample data and sampling distributions
  • Point estimates and confidence intervals
  • Significance tests, cress-tabulations, and Chi-Square tests
  • Correlation and linear regression.

Research Design and Process (15 credits)

  • Formulating research questions
  • Evaluating and developing a research proposal
  • Reviewing relevant literature
  • Experimental vs. observational studies
  • Sampling and selecting respondents
  • Measurement. 

Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Introduction to theory and research practice in qualitative methods
  • Ethnography and grounded theory
  • Group discussions
  • Data analysis and management processes.

Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Sampling and sample design, questionnaire design
  • Numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis in practice
  • Methods for representing complex systems.

Contemporary Sociological Theory and Social Transformation (30 credits)

  • Contemporary sociological theories to understand transformations in modern society
  • Historical contexts of sociological theories
  • Theorizations of social divisions
  • Conceptualisations of self and identity.

Categorical Data Analysis with SPSS and R (15 credits)

  • Statistical Inference
  • Measuring and graphing relationships
  • Binary logistical regression models
  • Log-linear models.

Dissertation (60 credits)

  • 15,000 word dissertation based on a supervised research project. 

Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation.

Course Learning and Teaching

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. 


Visit the Social Research Methods (Sociology) - MA page on the Durham University website for more details!

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