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Course content

During this course we introduce you to social research methods and strategies, and the supporting theories and philosophies. You can also develop areas of specialist interests and integrate these into your methodological training. On a number of the modules, you meet and discuss research issues with students from our other MRes courses and doctoral level researchers.

This course is for you if you have a first degree in any discipline within social sciences and plan to

  • work in areas of social policy and sociology
  • carry out research in these and related subject areas such as health, crime and policing, leisure and education policy, town planning or environmental studies.

If you are already working in the field, you and your current employer may see this course as a professional development opportunity, giving you the skills to further your career and current practice.

Our staff are currently involved in research areas including

  • labour market and occupational studies
  • public health
  • discourse and identities
  • European, international and comparative politics and policy
  • social statistics
  • policing studies
  • criminology
  • urban studies
  • labour history
  • drug use and rehabilitation
  • housing studies
  • environment and sustainability
  • visual ethnography
  • education and social class
  • poverty and inclusion
  • ethnicity and religion
  • media and impact on diversity and equality
  • social activism
  • sexualities and gender
  • teenage pregnancy and parenting
  • youth studies, youth work and volunteering
  • work and family life
  • charities, volunteering and the non-profit sector.

You study a range of research methodologies throughout the course including • interview-based narrative and biographical research • case study and ethnography • media analysis • surveying and sampling • statistical analysis of large data sets. You critique current developments in research methodology then design and conduct your own pieces of original research.

The MRes includes a research-based dissertation, which may become a pilot study towards a PhD. Several recent MRes students have gone onto doctoral level study, in fields such as education and inequality, and activism and sport.

For an informal discussion about this course, please contact Dr Bob Jeffery by e-mail at

This course is hosted by the Faculty of Development and Society Graduate School. The Graduate School website provides a communication hub for students and staff engaged in research, information about our research work, and useful contact information.

You can take individual modules as short courses or combine them towards a PgDip/PgCert Research Methods in Sociology, Planning and Policy.

Course design

You need 180 credits for the MRes

You choose up to 120 credits from the following modules:

  • qualitative methodologies and interviewing skills
  • qualitative research designs and ethnography
  • discourse and linguistic theory and analysis
  • survey design
  • introduction to survey analysis
  • multivariate statistical analysis
  • philosophies of research and design
  • research philosophies in today's sociology

You may choose to substitute 30 credits from another course within our MRes programme.

To gain the MRes you must present a 60-credit research-based dissertation in an area of your choice. This piece of work is supervised by our staff and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate the skills you have learned and your understanding of the research process and philosophies.


  • essays
  • research projects
  • presentations
  • research proposals


This course gives you the skills needed to carry out independent research. You learn to consider the research problems and associated ethical issues, select a suitable approach, and design and conduct your study. The skills and knowledge you gain are in great demand by many organisations. The Economic and Social Research Council have noted that there is a significant lack of the high-level skills in statistical analysis provided by this course.

Our previous graduates have begun various careers including

  • staff nurse for BMI General Healthcare – Thornbury Hospital, Sheffield
  • research administrator – Graduate Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield
  • high executive officer – Department for Education and Employment, Sheffield
  • trainee probation officer – National Probation Service, Nottingham
  • research fellow and lecturer – Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield

Others have moved into PhD research.

Visit the Social Science MRes page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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