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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 the processes of data collection and analysis. The data collection element is delivered through fieldwork and/or visits to research institutes and conversations with researchers who are actively engaged in conducting surveys and interviews. The data analysis element is delivered by taking students through the stages of designing and implementing a research project involving quantitative data management and analysis. Students will learn about a range of qualitative and quantitative data sources available within the United Kingdom and internationally, as well as the theory underlying various data collection methods. The module also acts as a training module for the BSc dissertation which students will write in their final year. This module is available only to 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 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.


Research questions; types of research project; primary and secondary data; qualitative and quantitative data; questionnaire and interviews; surveys; ethical issues in research; secondary data analysis; management and analysis of survey data; experience of data collection.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will consist of lecture/video sessions and web-assisted computer workshops given either face-to-face at the University of Southampton or on-line. During the field visits there will be further lectures, demonstrations and tutorials. Learning activities will include learning from lectures, learning computer skills during workshops, presenting and discussing issues during the field visits, and learning about how to write an effective research report.

Practical classes and workshops15
Independent Study94
Total study time140

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 will be in the form of a written report and/or an oral presentation. There will be no formal examination.


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. The field visits are compulsory, but the Department of Social Statistics and Demography covers the majority of the cost including travel and accommodation. The field visits may be in the United Kingdom or overseas. Although the module is compulsory, it is possible to take the module without participating in the field visits if this is necessary for specific personal reasons. 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. These costs will vary depending on the precise location of the visits 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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