Module details for Researching Society


An introduction to the principles and practice of social science research.


The aims of this module are to equip students with an understanding of the importance of empirical research to the social sciences. It will provide students with the skills and capabilities to identify and use appropriate data collection tools, apply analysis techniques to data generated, and reflect upon the ethical implications of research practice. In acquiring these skills and capabilities, students will be well-placed to engage with and carry out social research.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Apply qualitative data collection techniques and reflect upon their appropriateness to different research scenarios.

2.  Demonstrate the ability to devise and critically apply an inductive coding framework to qualitative data.

3.  Understand the principles of statistical analysis and quantitative data collection.

4.  Carry out basic statistical tests on quantitative data, identify the appropriate context for their application, and derive appropriate evidence-based conclusions.

Indicative Content

1 Qualitative data collection skills

The first part of the module will provide an overview of an array of qualitative data-collection methods, how such techniques are applicable to different research contexts, and how students should reflect upon themselves as active participants in conducting research

2 Approaches to qualitative data analysis

The first part of the module also provides opportunities for students to engage in the analysis of data produced using qualitative data collection techniques. The main emphasis here will be on thematic analysis and how qualitative researchers use this to produce social scientific knowledge about social phenomena. This part of the module will also familiarize students in the use of NVivo computer software for qualitative data analysis.

3 Principles of quantitative research

The second part of the module will introduce students to the principles of quantitative data, how quantitative data is collected, structured and presented, how inferences and conclusions can be drawn through the application of basic statistical tests, and how SPSS software can facilitate the organization and analysis of quantitative data.

4 The ethics and philosophy of research

The module also examines the philosophical underpinnings of social research and the importance of ethical governance and reflection on such issues as research subject matter, application of data collection methods, the rights and welfare of research participants, and the obligations of researchers to stakeholders and wider society.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 13
Tutorial/Seminar 26
Practical Activity 71
Assessment 45
Independent 45
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.