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Social Research (Local Government and Public Policy) MA/PGDip/PGCert


Course Description

This programme aims to provide students with a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills.

Students will acquire a general overview of the philosophy of social research, and understand how this informs research design, methods of data collection and analysis. They will also develop an ability to use a range of research methods, to communicate research findings effectively and an understanding of the potential use of and impact of their research within and beyond academia.

Core Modules

Philosophy of Social Science Research

The module considers fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences. Teaching addresses (natural) science as a method of obtaining knowledge and the interpretative tradition in the social sciences. Students explore fundamental philosophical debates about what counts as ‘knowledge’ across the social sciences and apply these discussions to their own disciplines and field of study.

Research Design, Practice and Ethics

The module introduces students to social science research designs and ethical issues in research practice. Learning supports students to be able to make strategic choices when developing their own projects, and to assess the design and research ethics decision making in others’ published research work.

Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Methods

Concepts, methods and skills central to quantitative research, including data collection approaches and concept operationalization, are core throughout this module. Building on a grounding in ideas relating to probability sampling, sampling error and statistical inference, coverage of techniques extends from comparisons of means and simple cross-tabular analyses to a discussion of multivariate analysis approaches, focusing on linear and logistic regression.

Foundations in Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is examined across a range of topics, from different approaches and methods including ethnographic and observational research, discourse and conversation analysis, documentary and archival analysis, participatory research and the use of interviews. Ethics in qualitative research is specifically considered, as is the evaluation of qualitative research.

Advanced Training Programme

Unless stated, all advanced training courses run as 2-day intensive workshops from 10–4pm with breaks. This list is updated regularly as new courses are approved so do check this website from time to time to see what is on offer.

These advanced training courses are open to all research students in the College (and some departments in other Colleges, such as Geography, subject to the discretion of the Programme Team). However, places on each course are limited and priority will be given to MA Social Research students.

These advanced training courses are also open to all staff in the University who may wish to attend without completing the assessments. However, all doctoral researchers and staff who wish to do so will be placed on a waiting list. Confirmation will be sent a week before the course dates.

Advanced Training courses run in Semester 3, unless otherwise stated:

Analysing Hierarchical Panel Data
An Approach To Research On Discourse
Case Study Research Design
Documentary Research In Education
Factor Analysis
Introduction To Econometric Software
Introduction To Time Series Regression
Narrative Research
Multivariate Linear To Logistic Regression
Policy Evalution
Q Methodology - A Systematic Approach For Interpretive Research Design
Questionnaire Design
Researching Disability
Role Of Thinking: Philosophy Of Social Science Research
Visual Research Methods

NB: some courses have pre-requisites, e.g. to register on Multiple Linear and Logistic Regression, Factor Analysis, or Narrative Research, you will need to have passed Social Research Methods II (20 credits module), or equivalent. You will need to provide evidence that you have passed a similar course on quantitative/qualitative data analysis where appropriate.

To register for the above advanced training courses, please e-mail: specifying which courses you are interested in. When registering for courses, please provide your name, student ID, department/programme you are affiliated to, and your e-mail address.

In addition, you will write a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits).

About the School of Government and Society

The School of Government and Society is one of the leading UK and International centres for governance, politics, international development, sociology, public management, Russian and European studies.
Established in 2008, the School comprises three Departments: Politics and International Studies (POLSIS); International Development (IDD) and Local Government Studies (INLOGOV).

POLSIS: The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), one of the largest and most academically vibrant departments of Political Science and International Studies in the UK. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) Politics and International Studies at Birmingham was ranked the 6th best in the power rankings highlighting the large number of staff in POLSIS producing world-leading and internationally excellent research.

IDD: Be part of global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Contribute to conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. Help build capacity of nations and communities to adapt to climate change. Study with us to gain the skills and knowledge essential for working in international development in the 21st Century.

INLOGOV: The Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) is the leading academic centre for research and teaching on local governance and strategic public management. We enrich the world of local public service with research evidence and innovative ideas, making a positive difference.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Visit the Social Research (Local Government and Public Policy) MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

Videos
(Student Profile)

Rebecca O'Neill

Rebecca is a final-year PhD student currently studying within the Department of Local Government Studies. She completed her undergraduate study at the University of Birmingham studying public policy and government management. She also completed her Masters in social research at the University. Her thesis is concerned with the role of evidence within complex policy processes. Her case study is High Speed Two (HS2), the planned high-speed railway between London and the north of England.

Rebecca is also a postgraduate mentor, you can contact her online with questions or read further about her experience at the University of Birmingham on her mentor page: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk/mentor/rebecca-oneill/


Scholarships

Entry Requirements

2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject

Course Fees

MSc: £6,570 FT, £3,285 PT(UK/EU); £14,850 FT(overseas) PGDip: £4,380 FT, £2,190 PT(UK/EU); £9,427(overseas); PGCert: £2,190(UK/EU); £4,950 (Overseas)


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Recipient: University of Birmingham

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