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The MRes Social Science Research Methods is designed to provide a thorough grounding in a range of qualitative and quantitative research skills and methodologies essential to the systematic research practice demanded in many professional environments, or to pave the way to further postgraduate study. 


The overarching aim of the MRes in Social Science Research Methods is to provide interdisciplinary research and researcher training. You will follow a programme of taught modules that will equip you with the skills to be able to successfully conduct social research within a variety of professional and intellectual contexts. Throughout the year you will be supported to develop an original piece of applied research by an expert supervisor.

The programme is recognised as fulfilling the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) postgraduate social science research training and development and as the first year of 1+3 awards made by the ESRC North West Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership to students registered at Keele University.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact us in advance for more information about the programme and to discuss areas of supervision.


The general aims of the programme are as follows:

  • To equip participants with a ‘toolkit’ for research design, consisting of a range of social science research methods and strategies
  • To explore in detail the philosophical assumptions underlying contemporary research in the social sciences
  • To develop the qualities needed to evaluate critically social science research
  • To provide practice in a range of transferable skills, improve existing skills and enhance employability, whether in an academic environment or other professional context
  • To apply more general methods and philosophies to the student’s own research interests and to gain an in-depth understanding of the current issues related to that discipline.


A Masters’ degree is 180 credits, made up of taught modules up to 120 credits plus a dissertation of 60 credits. The dissertation is the final assessment on the programme that brings together the student’s modular learning in the development and implementation of a significant piece of research, the focus of which is determined by the student, who will receive support and guidance from their supervisor.

Those taking taught modules only may qualify for a Postgraduate Award (30 credits), Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits). The MRes Social Science Research Methods comprises of the following compulsory modules:

  • Research Skills and Researcher Development (30 credits)
  • Principles of Social Science Research (30 credits)
  • Using Theory in Social Science Research (15 credits)
  • Quantitative Research and Data Analysis (15 credits)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)
  • You will also choose one 15 credit optional module from the list of modules below
  • Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis (15 credits)
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (15 credits)
  • Ethnographic Research (15 credits)


The programme is assessed through a broad range of methods of assessment, including: portfolio, essay, research proposal, review, report, exam, learning plan, pilot study and dissertation. 

These enable assessment of the student’s analytical abilities, and of the student’s evaluation of particular debates, material and evidence. 

The written assignments vary in length from 1,500 word reports through to 5,000 word personal development portfolios. Students must pass all the taught modules before they may proceed to the dissertation, which involves writing a dissertation of between 15,000 -20,000 words.     


Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post-graduate programme.

Visit the Social Science Research Methods MRes/PGCert/PGDip page on the Keele University website for more details!




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