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Course content

Discover how to turn raw data into useful information which can tell us about how people work. You learn how to gain an understanding of society through carrying out case studies, surveys, and observational research.

Our MA Sociological Research provides a strong foundation in doing empirical research, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We offer you advanced study of research design and of specific research techniques and their evaluation. In the process you also acquire a critical appreciation of empirical research methodology.

Graduates of this course will understand the connection between theory and empirical methodology, and be able to produce, evaluate and effectively communicate research findings. You explore topics including:
-Debates in contemporary social theory
-The theory and methods of qualitative interviewing
-Quantitative data analysis
-Sociological research design

This is a broad-based research training which is indispensable if you wish to proceed to a PhD. This course has ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation, which means that it can form part of a 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £21,575 for talented postgraduates.

Our Department of Sociology was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014), and we consistently receive strong student satisfaction scores, including 96% overall student satisfaction in 2015.

Our expert staff

We are a large and friendly department, offering a diverse range of research interests and with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication that covers a broad geographical spectrum.

Many have worked at the local level with local authorities, justice councils, community partnerships and charities. Others have worked at a national and international level with bodies like the United Nations, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science, Amnesty International, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Home Office and national non-governmental organisations.

Specialist facilities

-Dedicated postgraduate support facilities
-Our renowned off-campus Graduate Conference takes place every February
-A unique Student Resource Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
-The Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, is stocked with daily newspapers, magazines and journals, and has free drinks available
-Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
-Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates

Your future

This course offers invaluable training if you seek future employment in a wide range of social research occupations. You will develop key employability skills including; thinking analytically, research design, essay writing, quantitative and qualitative data analysis and interviewing skills.

You are provided with excellent preparation for further academic study, and many of our postgraduates go on to successful academic careers, both in the UK and overseas.

Others have established careers in non-governmental organisations, local authorities, specialist think tanks, government departments, charities, media production, and market intelligence.

We work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
-Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis
-Texts and Documents (optional)
-Ethnography (optional)
-Topics in Contemporary Social Theory
-Sociological Research Design
-Dissertation

Visit the Sociological Research - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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