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The University of Southampton

GERO6017 Researching Ageing Societies

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to (i) engage students in a critical debate on the transformations, challenges and potentials that ageing societies face and (ii) discuss the research methods, data and ethical implications involved in contemporary research of older people. Thus the module will combine critical assessment of contemporary issues relevant to ageing societies with the discussion of the application of quantitative and qualitative research methods to researching older people.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss contrasting viewpoints on key contemporary issues in ageing societies and critically evaluate the evidence and arguments for them
  • Identify and discuss the methods, data and ethical implications of researching substantive issues concerning ageing and older people
  • Draw on theoretical perspectives in Gerontology and apply them to contemporary social and economic issues affecting the lives of older people
  • Locate relevant literature and published data
  • Demonstrate understanding of methods for researching ageing societies in a clear and succinct way, drawing on qualitative and numerical evidence, and referencing your sources correctly
  • Gain communication skills gained through the preparation of assessed coursework


The module will include: critical consideration of the quantitative and qualitative research methods, secondary data sources and ethical issues concerned with researching older people in society; issues around diverse lifestyles in later life and their implications for old-age support; poverty and social exclusion in old age; ageing in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society; researching 'hard-to-reach' groups; conducting research in care homes; how ageing is structured by gender and ethnicity; work and retirement; and end of life care and dying. The module will also include a session on 'Tips on Writing a Project Proposal'.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught by means of lectures and guest lectures, involving student participation, student presentations, and independent study, including designing a research proposal, developing essay writing and presentation skills.

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Module resources available on BlackBoard include lecture PowerPoint slides, reading lists, coursework details, exercises, references and module updates. In addition, resources also include specially ordered texts located in the University library, and details of specialist websites.. 

Johnson, M.L., Bengtson, V.L., Coleman, P.G. and Kirkwood, T.B.L. (Eds) (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing. 

Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (eds) (2013). The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology. 

Biggam, J.  (2015). e-book: Succeeding with Your Master’s Dissertation: A Step-By-Step Handbook. 

Bell, J. (2010). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science. 

Jamieson, A. and C.R. Victor (2002). Researching Ageing and Later Life.. 

Denscombe, M. (2010). The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Presentation  (15 minutes) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s)  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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.


Stationery: You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile. Textbooks: Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available electronically on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Please note that the vast majority of readings in Gerontology are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module. Software Licenses: Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password. Printing and Photocopying Costs: For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. Conference expenses: Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees). Travel: Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.

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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