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The University of Southampton

DEMO2015 Applied Population Research Methods

Module Overview

This module is designed to ensure that students from the BSc Population and Geography have knowledge and experience of data collection in a different environment through a week long residential fieldtrip. This fieldtrip will be international, with the location of the fieldtrip varying depending on availability and links. Examples of countries which could be chosen range from Germany to Ghana, India, Morocco and Kenya. The fieldtrip will be to a research institute in these countries where there is expertise of data collection which the students can study during their trip. Prior to the fieldtrip they will learn about a range of data sources both in the UK and internationally, as well as the theory behind the data collection methods that will be seen on the fieldtrip. During the fieldtrip they will be shown how to implement a range of methods. During that week they will also design their own mini-research project in groups which they will conduct basic research on during the fieldtrip. This module is solely available for students enrolled on the BSc Population and Geography programme.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Reflect upon the experience of fieldwork in an unfamiliar context and recognise the impact of the process on the data collected
  • Gain an appreciation of the influence of socio-economic and cultural context on the collection of data and its interpretation
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical and practical issues which need to be taken into account when collecting data in the field
  • Identify and use appropriate statistical and analytical techniques and measures to adequately answer a research question
  • Develop a suitable research question to be answered from a given set of data
  • Appropriately access and extract national and international population and demographic data from a wide variety of sources.
  • Understand the benefits and drawback of data collection methods such as questionnaires and interviews.
  • Review work on population and demography as part of a literature review process.
  • Design a research project that will address a set of well-defined research questions or hypotheses.


Datasets for demographic analysis - demographic statistics and the UK census, data sources for lower income countries, families and households and migration (3 lectures with 3 computer workshops). Collecting demographic data - understanding how to compose questions; ethical issues; sampling; collating responses. Fieldtrip - different exercises related to their interests, focusing on health, migration, education, environmental issues or other economic and social development issues. Analysing demographic data – how to turn raw data into results; relationship between reults and policy.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will consist of lecture sessions and web-assisted double computer workshops given at the University of Southampton. During the fieldtrip there will be further lectures, demonstrations and tutorials. Learning activities will include learning in lectures, computer skills during workshops, presenting and discussing issues during the fieldtrip and hands on learning also on the fieldtrip. The field trip will take place in the last week of teaching before the Easter break.

Independent Study94
Practical classes and workshops10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bryman, Alan (2012). Social research methods. 

David Silverman (2013). Doing Qualitative Research. 

Field, A. (2013). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. 


Assessment Strategy

The assessment can still be undertaken if a student does not attend the residential portion of the module.


MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 20%
Research Report  (3000 words) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research Report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: STAT1003


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.

Field Trips

Fieldwork logistics: There is a compulsory overseas field course that is held in the second year of your programme, for which the department covers the majority of the cost including travel and accommodation. Note that the module is compulsory however it is possible to take the module without participating in the overseas trip if necessary. Students are asked to contribute the costs of entry visas (where relevant), malaria tablets (where relevant), as well as any associated immunisation and vaccination costs. For the trip to Ghana in 2015-16, the cost of the visa was around £65 and the cost of vaccinations was around £70. These costs will vary depending on the precise location of the trip and individual needs of students. In addition, students are expected to bear the cost of some meals during non-working times (weekends and evenings) whilst in the field.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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