Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Modules from other programmes

The School runs postgraduate programmes in Social Research, Sociology, Social and Public Policy, Ethnicity and Racism and Studies and Disability Studies.

You may take specific modules from these programmes by agreement with the relevant course tutor.

School PhD Research Training

We offer training to all postgraduate research students: ESRC and non-ESRC funded, full and part-time.

Social Research Training 

You will put together your own package of training by selecting from the core elements in our research training programme with guidance from supervisors and the postgraduate research tutor. Our normal expectation is that PhD students who have not previously undertaken comprehensive research training should take all the following modules during their first year of study. Part-time students are expected to complete the modules during their first two years of study. The modules are from the MA in Social Research.

Research Strategy and Design focuses on the design of social research, and will help you navigate the difficult task of linking often abstract theoretical and methodological perspectives with practical research strategies. Thorough weekly workshops, the module concentrates on the key issues that researchers need to recognise, confront and resolve in the design of social research. Such issues include the principles of sampling and selection in research design, how to choose appropriate methods for generating and collecting data, the principles of data analysis, the ethics, politics and practicalities of research design and the creation of research proposals.

Quantitative Research Methods introduces you to the skills required for the generation, analysis and management of quantitative data. Using concrete research problems, the module investigates a wide range of quantitative research issues and gives you the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the discipline. Practicalities covered include survey design, computer-based 'hands-on' workshops with SPSS for Windows, using data from one or more large scale data sets, creative data analysis linked to theory development, data modelling using regression techniques, effective use of secondary data sets and ways of linking data, including the scope for linking quantitative and qualitative data.

Qualitative Research Methods examines qualitative research design, practice and analysis and features a series of practical workshops on qualitative data analysis, using software packages such as QSR NUD*IST or NVivo. The module will also develop your skills for generating qualitative research data, such as interview technique, biographical and narrative approaches, focus group approaches, ethnography and observation, non-verbal and visual methods, and give you a critical appreciation of the appropriateness of particular methods to different research scenarios. The module also explores the relationship between qualitative and quantitative research, and between qualitative research and policy.

Debates on Disability Theory and Research gives you the opportunity to critically evaluate recent debates and developments within social research on disability. Not only will you discuss positivist, interpretative and 'emancipatory' methodologies, alongside associated data collection and analytical strategies, you will also examine their significance for disability research. Through the module, you will investigate theoretical perspectives, the various definitions and approaches to impairment and disability, and disability as an equal opportunities and policy issue. You will explore the impact of myths and prejudices, industrialisation and the welfare state upon cultural representations of disability.

Evaluation Research aims to provide an overview of the theory, methodology, practice and usage of programme and policy evaluation. The module will introduce you to the family of methods used to conduct evaluations, such as randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental methods, formative evaluation, action research, and empowerment evaluation. You will also explore the issues surrounding the impact of policy research and evaluation on the policy-making process, and address some of the current debates about evaluation, such as the trend towards mega and meta evaluations, the professionalisation of evaluation, and the need for standards.

Issues in Social Policy Analysis and Research explores the intellectual paths and means available for analysing and investigating policies and practices, taking recent developments in welfare arrangements and social policy institutions as material. The module will introduce you to a range of analytical starting points and theoretical perspectives; it will ask you to consider views about causation, the problem of 'proof' and the kinds of enquiries that arise through particular positions, values and settings.

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