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Course content

What methods are used to discover how people behave, what they believe and what opinions they hold? What sort of sampling techniques are needed to access different types of population? What is the best way to design a questionnaire?

Our MSc Survey Methods for Social Research will provide answers to these questions and more, preparing you for a professional career in social, academic or market research. Central to our course is an emphasis on practical learning and experience, so you undertake a short work placement in one of a number of professional research organisations.

You explore topics including:
-Sampling
-Questionnaire design
-Analysis of survey data
-Management of the survey process

This course has ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation, meaning it can form part of a 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £18,000 for talented postgraduates. Our University is one of only 21 ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK.

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 is 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
-Panel Data Methods
-Introduction to Survey Design and Management
-Applied Sampling
-Survey Measurement and Question Design
-Dissertation
-Dealing with Survey Non-response (optional)

Visit the Survey Methods for Social Research - MSc page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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