Masters degrees in Research Skills equip postgraduates with the advanced methodologies for identifying, collecting and analysing information and material in a way that is useful to other individuals and organisations. This can involve practical training designed to support (or prepare for) a postgraduate research degree, or more general techniques used in other fields such as public relations, politics and social policy.
Taught MA and MSc degrees are typical for this field. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree, though work experience may be accepted in some cases.
Offered with a highly flexible, interdisciplinary approach, these courses allow you to learn (and undertake) research methodologies appropriate to your field of interest. You can gain competency in a range of techniques and strategies for collecting and analysing data, including mixed methods and action research.
Many courses are offered via distance learning, which are ideal for those wishing to work while they study. If you do not want to undertake a full Masters, then shorter taught courses such as Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are also available.
As well as being an ideal stepping-stone towards PhD study, these Masters can provide you with techniques which can benefit professional roles such as lab researchers, investigative journalists, forensic scientists and more. You may also apply these methods to roles in teaching or management.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Social Research Methods at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
This Master's degree in Social Research Methods aims to provide advanced training in a range of research methods used in the social sciences.
Teaching and Employability:
- Teaching is carried out by highly-respected, research active, professionals conducting research across a range of research areas and publishing in top international journals
- Students benefit from state-of-the-art technology with over twenty general purpose research rooms and numerous specialised testing facilities
- Specialist modules in criminology, social work and human geography, research leadership and management
- Emphasis on development of ethical, knowledgeable, skilful social researchers” through critical discussion, up to date information, debates and presentations
MSc Social Research Methods is a highly regarded and prestigious qualification which has been developed to:
- enable students to develop practical research skills and advanced methodological expertise (both qualitative and quantitative);
- instil familiarity with research ethics and governance, and
- gain knowledge about theoretical research concerns across the spectrum of social science disciplines.
Elective modules and a dissertation provide scope for specialisation in applied social sciences, including but not limited to: criminology, human geography, social work and health.
This Master’s degree in Social Research Methods has ESRC accreditation and provides advanced training in a range of research methods used in the social sciences. The degree instils familiarity with research ethics and governance, and students gain knowledge about theoretical research concerns across the spectrum of social science disciplines.
Students on the Social Research Methods course are encouraged to devise research dissertations themselves (supported by an academic supervisor).
Modules on the Social Research Methods programme typically include:
Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction to Research and Study Skills
Data Collection Methods
Ethics and Philosophy of Social Research
Quantitative Research Methods
Advanced Research in Human Geography
Research Leadership and Project Management
Case Studies in Applied Social Research: Social Work
Case Studies in Applied Social Res: Applied Research in Crime & Criminal Justice
Dissertation (Social Research)
Teaching is in the form of lectures, seminars, group-project work and individual study. All Social Research Methods students are assigned a Personal Tutor and Dissertation Supervisor appropriate to their chosen area of study.
The Social Research Methods course is made up of six 20-credit modules (Part 1) and a 60-credit dissertation (Part 2).
The Social Research Methods course is suitable for:
- students who want to prepare themselves for the challenge of MPhil or PhD study; who are already professionally involved in working with people in the social sector and want to develop their own skills and professional expertise
- students from different academic disciplines who are interested in conducting social research and are interested in seeking employment or already have employment in both public and private sectors
- previous students are those with backgrounds in social policy, sociology, law, criminology, human geography, politics, arts and humanities, ageing studies , psychology and health science
- anyone wanting to add a valuable qualification as part of developing a full academic career
- anyone who is interested in society, social behaviour, and social change and would like to learn more
- anyone working in, or wishing to work in, government or voluntary organisations, and commercial areas where social research is undertake
Past Social Research Methods students have gone on to be employed in public and private sectors, research work, PhD , vocational work, the criminal justice system, social work, environmental health, teaching, local government, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and health and social care.
Contributing lecturers are renowned nationally and internationally. For example, Professor David Hughes has published on the universal coverage healthcare reforms of Thailand and Turkey, Debbie Jones jointly led on The Student Sex Workers' project from Swansea University's Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology.
The MSc Social Research methods is serviced by research active staff, many of whom are leaders in their field of research. The team has strong links with Criminology whose staff have been awarded Howard league Research Medal 2013 for work on the Swansea Bureau Youth Scheme. Lecturers from the course also include those from the world renowned Centre for Innovative Aging and also Human Geography.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.
In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.
Social Research in Education at Winchester offers a programme of focused study of research methods applicable to educational settings and educational enquiry. You are equipped and encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of research methods, research design, and the cultural and ethical contexts in which educational research takes place. The course helps you to develop advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills, which support you in starting or enhancing a career in research or as a senior professional able to support others in research endeavours, for example in schools.
We focus on research design, which enables you to select appropriate approaches and methods to carry out investigations. It provides you with the opportunity to develop intellectual and practical skills, along with the ability to analyse and communicate complex ideas, and creatively plan and manage an independent postgraduate research project in education. It also equips you with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study.
You study core modules in Quantitative Methods in Social Research, Qualitative Methods in Social Research, and Theory, and Practice and Ethics in Social Research. You may choose to target a particular aspect of educational practice for data collection, although assignments analyse data collection methods, analysis approaches or ethical aspects of the research rather than the content of the practice.
There is also a final dissertation project, for which you choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology and explore it. This may also include an investigation of an aspect of education that interests you. You participate in workshops and seminars, and on-going online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students. These include debating issues such as ethical considerations in research, and help develop some of the underpinning research skills.
Graduates of the course are equipped to pursue careers in educational research, as research officers working for educational bodies such as local authorities, as contract researchers, or as project officers working on funded projects in higher education or research institutes.
UK, EU, World
Students who are not currently working in an educational setting need to establish clear links with at least one setting for research purposes.
Start dates: September
Distance learning available: For research methods modules. Independent study supervisions may be conducted by Skype or email.
Teaching takes place: Weekends. However, the Theory, Practice and Ethics in Social Research module is taught at the summer school in June/July, and one weekend in September.
Workshops and seminars develop some of the underpinning research skills. Students are part of ongoing online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students, and are equipped to present aspects of research in a range of ways.
King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester
Assessed work includes portfolios of completed tasks, essays, presentations and posters; all assessments are given numerical grades. For the dissertation, students choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology, and explore this through a project which may also explore an aspect of education that interests them.
Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.
We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes.
Further details on assessment types used can be found by attending an open evening or contacting our teaching staff.
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures section.
This course is perfect if you are looking to embark on a successful career as a researcher or academic and will provide you with the necessary training as part of your study for your MPhil/PhD.
The course is distinctive in providing students with an exciting opportunity to develop expertise in a range of both quantitative and qualitative research methods of data collection and analysis with a focus on their application to real-world issues.
The course has 1+3 recognition from the Economic and Social Research Council. Only three Education Departments in post-92 universities have this prestigious kitemark.
In order to enhance your engagement with the issues to be examined, and to allow flexibility over how you manage your time, the Social Research Methods programme will be delivered through weekly sessions in the Autumn and Spring semesters supplemented by tutorial support available (both face-to-face and electronically). Evening sessions are provided for part-time students.
All three levels of the programme will include an introduction to the processes and issues involved in designing a quantitative or qualitative research project. You will also undertake modules that will introduce you to the methods of quantitative (including use of SPSS) and qualitative (including use of CAQDAS) research, giving you the skills and confidence to use these approaches to data collection and analysis in your own research.
If you progress to do a PGD or MA you will also explore the philosophy of social science research where you will examine the relationship between epistemology, ontology and methodology. Furthermore, you will explore concepts that underpin educational and social research including empiricism, rationalism, hermeneutics, feminism, post-modernism and critical realism and critique their relation to objectivity, causation, and validity.
You will also focus on key elements of the Research Councils’ Joint Statement of Skills Training for Research Students. You can then choose to study interpretations of the concept of education - and their implications for research - and the role of values in educational theory and research methodologies, or the basic theoretical concepts in social theory, with a particular emphasis on sociology and social policy.
Masters students will complete a dissertation in an area of their choosing in the fields of education or the social sciences.
The PG certificate course addresses core features of social research methods, focusing on different forms of data and how they can be collected and analysed. MA-level study is aimed at students who either want a discrete research-based MA or want to run a pilot study for an MPhil/PhD research project.
The following is a list of modules that you need to take to complete the different awards:
plus one of two optional modules:
This is THE course for those wishing to be employed in the research field of education and/or social sciences.
If you want to develop your career in academic research within a medical environment and you need the research methodology to do this, Medical Research Skills will enable you to provide wide ranging research techniques to not only improve and widen your career and employability, but make a name for yourself within your chosen field of expertise. You can also undertake medical research toward spin-out innovation as a direct result of your research within a university environment after graduating. The PG Cert is and ideal start to ensuring you are equipped with plenty of research breadth and ideal if you are studying within Aberdeenshire, Angus, and Moray and possibly in most of Scotland to fit around your medical work. The course is available over 24 months part time.
You learn by self directed learning and practical classes using real life examples to ensure multidisciplinary learning, exposure to leading academics and clinical experts to provide rigour in your research, and insight into actual situations in a clinical environment. You get opportunities to network and attend seminars and events run by the medical school.
This programme will provide training in generic research skills within a clinical context. The rationale is to equip Aberdeen AFP doctors with fundamental research skills that will enable them to pursue a clinical academic career. Clinical academia is a strongly competitive environment. Thus the need for doctors to have a keen and active interest, along with the appropriate research training and portfolio, has never been greater. The University of Aberdeen College of Life Sciences and Medicine recognises this and is offering this unique opportunity to further develop your clinical academic profile and standing.
Research Skills and Scientific Writing
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
Find out more about:
These postgraduate programmes aim to create highly sought-after researchers who are ready to apply their advanced knowledge and practical skills in the workplace or on further research.
You will learn how to collect, analyse and interpret social data and become skilled in interview techniques, surveys, problem-solving, communication skills and the latest industry software.
Students examine issues from across the social sciences and are introduced to both quantitative and qualitative research methods before having the option of specialising.
During the programme, you will research real world issues such as evaluating local health care services, predicting voting behaviour during elections or researching the impact of Hull’s year as the 2017 UK City of Culture on local people.
Taught by experienced researchers who are experts in their fields, the interesting and varied curriculum will be delivered through an enquiry-based approach to teaching including small-group work, tutorials, workshops and independent study.
It was designed with input from industry experts, former students and leading academics to ensure that it means the demands of the modern social research industry.
Students will be provided with a high level of academic support across the programme and all modules will be taught on one specific day (currently Thursdays) to accommodate part-time and working students.
There are four variants:
MSc in Social Research
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MSc in Social Research with Quantitative Methods
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MA in Social Research with Qualitative Methods
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
MSc in Social Research (Doctoral Training Pathway)
Semester 1 (PGCert)
Semester 2 (PGDip)
Summer period (Masters)
* All modules are subject to availability.
These programmes are an ideal route for those aiming for research careers in the public, voluntary or private sectors, including would-be senior civil servants keen to take advantage of the Government’s Fast Stream scheme to find the leaders of the future.
It equips students with practical skills and experience for a wide range of organisations including research agencies, charities, independent organisations, trade unions, pressure groups and lobby groups.
The programmes also offer continuing professional development for those already working as researchers and who want to advance their careers. It is also an excellent training programme for those wishing to progress to PhD level study.
The final stage in our nested award suite, the Master of Clinical Research, is a dedicated research project and thesis. You will acquire the skills required to plan and implement a clinical research program and translate that research into clinical practice. The Clinical Research Thesis subject allows you to focus on an area of interest with the support and supervision of some of the best researchers globally.
Graduates of the Master of Clinical Research will have:
The Graduate Programs in Clinical Research have been designed to provide graduates with medical, biomedical, nursing and allied health backgrounds the opportunity to advance their clinical research skills and capabilities. The nested award suite provides a flexible program of study, allowing participants to develop and hone their research skills.
Participants can progress from the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research and move to the Graduate Diploma and finally the Master of Clinical Research, with the flexibility of continuing or exiting with an award at any of these stages.
Our award courses are offered as both part-time and full-time study. Those interested in full-time study can enrol directly in the Graduate Diploma or Master awards making them available to international participants. Those who complete the Master of Clinical Research will have satisfied the 25 point research pathway to PhD admission.