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Social Research Methods - MSc


Course Description

Surrey’s highly regarded Department of Sociology specialises in pioneering research methods and offers a stimulating study environment for our highly sought-after graduates.

The MSc Social Research Methods programme is backed by decades of experience: we were the first in the UK to run this type of programme in 1974.

PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

Social researchers employ a constantly evolving range of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore attitudes and experiences, and to understand patterns of social behaviour.

This programme won't just train you in the application of specific research techniques: it will illuminate the connections between sociological theory and empirical research, and relate research to the development of public policy and the analysis of substantive social issues.

Wider issues of the social research process are also covered and include: the planning and management of research projects; the methodological, theoretical, philosophical and ethical aspects of research; and the presentation and publication of research findings.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation. The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
-Data Analysis
-Documentary Analysis and Online Research
-Field Methods
-Principle of Survey Design
-Research: From Design to Dissemination
-Evaluation Research
-Statistical Modelling
-Theory and Method
-Dissertation

EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME

The main aims of the programme are to:
-Provide an appropriate training for students preparing MPhil/PhD theses, or for students on to employment involving the use of social science research
-Introduce students to a variety of different approaches to social science research at an advanced level
-Cover the principles of research design and strategy, including formulating research questions or hypotheses and translating these into practicable research designs
-Make students aware of the range of secondary data available and equip them to evaluate its utility for their research
-Develop skills in searching for and retrieving information, using library and Internet resources
-Introduce students to the philosophical, theoretical and ethical issues surrounding research and to debates about the relationship between theory and research, about problems of evidence and inference, and about the limits of objectivity
-Develop skills in the use of SPSS, and in the main statistical techniques of data analysis, including multivariate analysis
-Develop skills in the use of CAQDAS software for the analysis of qualitative data
-Develop skills in writing, in the preparation of a research proposal, in the presentation of research results and in verbal communication
-Help students to prepare their research results for wider dissemination, in the form of seminar papers, conference presentations, reports and publications, in a form suitable for a range of audiences, including academics, policy makers, professionals, service users and the general public

PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
-Formulate, design, plan, carry out and report on a complete research project
-Use the range of research techniques commonly employed in sociological research, from survey research to field methods
-Collect or generate quantitative and qualitative data through an array of techniques, and select techniques of data generation on appropriate methodological bases
-Analyse: quantitative data using basic and more advanced skills; qualitative data from both ‘real world’ and ‘virtual world’ environments
-Employ a quantitative and qualitative software package to manage and analyse data
-Apply critical reflection skills to the methodological, theoretical, ethical, and philosophical aspects of social research practice
-Plan, manage and execute research as part of a team and as a sole researcher
-Present research findings to differing audiences
-Have an understanding of the contribution social research makes to social policy formulation and the evaluation of planned social interventions

Knowledge and understanding
-Appreciate the epistemological and ontological questions that underpin social research
-Show critical awareness and understanding of the methodological implications of a range of sociological theories and approaches
-Show systematic knowledge of basic principles of research design and strategy
-Understand the use and value of a wide range of different research approaches across the quantitative and qualitative spectra
-Show advanced knowledge of techniques, and appropriate use, of quantitative and qualitative data analysis
-Recognise the significance of social/political contexts and uses of research
-Show engagement with innovations and developments in social research
-Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of research ethics

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-Systematically formulate researchable problems; analyse and conceptualise issues; critically appreciate alternative approaches to research; report to a range of audiences
-Analyse qualitative and quantitative data drawn both from ‘real world’ and ‘virtual world’ environments, using basic and more advanced techniques, and draw warranted conclusions
-Develop original insights, questions, analyses and interpretations in respect of research questions
-Use methodological, theoretical, ethical, and philosophical knowledge about social research practice to address complex issues creatively
-Critically evaluate the range of approaches to research

Professional practical skills
-Formulate, design, plan, carry out and report on a complete research project
-Use the range of research techniques commonly employed in sociological research
-Generate both quantitative and qualitative data through an array of techniques, and select techniques of data generation on appropriate methodological bases
-Employ a quantitative (SPSS) and qualitative software package to manage and analyse data
-Plan, manage and execute research as part of a team and as a sole researcher
-Present research findings to differing audiences in both written and oral formats, as appropriate

Key / transferable skills
-Communicate complex ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and visual means
-Work to deadlines and within work schedules
-Work independently and self-organise
-Apply computing skills for research instrument design, data analysis, and report writing and presentation
-Formulate and solve problems, both individually and as part of a team
-Demonstrate experience of a work environment

GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

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

(Student Profile)

Victoria Staples

"Surrey had a great reputation for high quality research and had successful, active research groups in my substantive field of interest - sleep research. I became interested in this through one of my final year undergraduate modules.

The MSc in Social Research Methods is well established as providing an excellent grounding in research methods and would provide the skills I needed to undertake the social research element of my doctoral studies. The opportunity to gain real world research experience through undertaking a placement also appealed to me after my experience as an undergraduate at Surrey.

My undergraduate and MSc studies both developed my analytical skills, particularly in how to develop research questions and objectives, and provided knowledge of methodological principles and practices to enable me to decide which methods to use.

It is this practical knowledge and expertise in social research that helped me begin my career in social research after graduating. Surrey provides the knowledge, skills and support to help you get the career you want.

The opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of research in my different roles means that I have a better understanding of work across ONS and the Civil Service, and means that no two days are ever the same."


(Scholarship)

TECHNE (AHRC) Studentships - No. of awards TBC

As a member of the TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Surrey students are eligible to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships (stipend and fee waiver). TECHNE is a consortium of seven universities in London and the South East offering a rich and diverse training programme for doctoral students with a focus on interdisciplinarity and developing career potential both in and beyond higher education. Studentships are awarded by TECHNE to the best students put forward by its member universities. The TECHNE training programme is enhanced by input and placement opportunities provided by TECHNE’s 13 partner organisations (including the Barbican, Natural History Museum, Museum of London, BFI and Science Museum) in the cultural sector. Please visit TECHNE to find out more about the aims and opportunities of TECHNE.TECHNE – the Consortium is named in reference to the Greek term for craft – will create a new model for collaborative research skills training for PGR students across seven higher education institutions (Royal Holloway, Brighton University, Kingston University, Roehampton University, Royal College of Art, University of Surrey, University of the Arts London). TECHNE’s vision is to produce scholars who are highly motivated and prepared for academic, public or professional life. Students will benefit from a diversity of training opportunities and be able to draw on supervisory expertise from across the Consortium.It is not possible to apply directly to TECHNE for a studentship; applications for students wishing to be based at Surrey must be made via the University of Surrey. Your TECHNE application will therefore go through a two-stage process, being considered firstly by either the School of Arts or the School of English and Languages, to go forward to TECHNE and, if successful, secondly by a panel of subject specialists from TECHNE members.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Fee and Maintenance

Eligibility

Open to Home and EU candidates; please see guidance on residency requirements outlined in the RCUK’s Conditions of Research Council Training Grants
Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful

Application Procedure

The first step for all Candidates is to approach their prospective academic school and supervisor.
More Information is available at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/ahrc/index.htm

Further Information

http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/ahrc/index.htm


(Scholarship)

South East DTC (ESRC) Studentships - No. of awards TBC

The South-East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is a partnership between the Universities of Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway and Surrey.The South East DTC offers ESRC studentships to top-quality research students wishing to study psychology, sociology, politics or related multidisciplinary topics within the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at the University of Surrey.The SE DTC is organised into Pathways and within these, there is a number of PhD programmes and routes which can be taken based on a candidate’s previous experience and research interests.The following Pathways are within the Faculty of Arts and Human SciencesPolitical Science and International Studies pathway - School of Social Sciences
Psychology pathway - School of Psychology
Sociology pathway - School of Social Sciences
The pathways below can also be followed at Surrey, but are within other Faculties, which means that the application process may differ slightly. Please contact either the Faculty of Economics Business and Law or the Centre for Environmental Strategy.Economics pathway – Please contact the Faculty of Business Economics and Law
Management and Business Studies pathway – Please contact the Faculty of Business Economics and Law
Environment, Energy and Resilience (interdisciplinary pathway) – Please contact the Centre for Environmental Strategy

Value of Scholarship(s)

TBC

Eligibility

Open to Home and EU candidates; please see guidance on residency requirements outlined in the RCUK’s Conditions of Research Council Training Grants
Candidates without a Master’s degree are can apply for funding to undertake a research training Master’s before starting their PhD (1+3 model).
Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful

Application Procedure

How to apply (applications for Politics, Psychology and Sociology only)The first step for all Candidates is to approach their prospective academic school and supervisor.More information is available at: http://surrey.ac.uk/fahs/study/studentships/application-process/index.htm

Further Information

http://surrey.ac.uk/fahs/study/studentships/esrc/index.htm


(Scholarship)

Faculty Studentship Competition - No. of awards TBC

Faculty Studentships are available in the following areasSchool of Arts:Cultural Production, Creative Practices, Dance, Digital Arts, Film, Interdisciplinary Arts, Music, Performance, Sound Recording, Theatre.School of English and Languages:English Literature, Creative Writing, Translation Studies, Modern Languages, Theoretic Linguistics (Morphology) and Applied Linguistics (Intercultural Communication).School of Social Sciences:Criminology and Criminal Justice; Developments in Methodology; Identities, Diversities, and the Life Course; Media, Culture and Communication; Science, Environment and Technologies; European politics; International politics; Social politics and methodology

Value of Scholarship(s)

TBC

Eligibility

Under the FASS Studentship Scheme Home / EU and International Students are eligible to apply for 2016 entry. Successful International students will be awarded a fees at the Home / EU Rate and a stipend. Please note that full international fees are not covered: candidates should ensure that they are in a position to cover the outstanding costs.Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful.

Application Procedure

The first step for all Candidates is to approach their prospective academic school and supervisor.More information is available at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/faculty/index.htm

Further Information

http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/faculty/index.htm


(Scholarship)

Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount

Eligibility

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]

Further Information

http://www.surrey.ac.uk/scholarships/discounts-surrey-graduates



Entry Requirements

Usually a UK first or 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in a social science or related subject. Entry is also open to professionally trained non-graduates with relevant experience and qualifications. We also require evidence of basic numeracy (a GCSE pass at grade C or above in maths).

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