This module lays down the foundations for conducting social research in any discipline within the social sciences, focused around criminology, economics, international relations, politics, population sciences, social policy and sociology. The module will present a range of current substantive and methodological debates in order to engage with a number of fundamental social scientific ideas and approaches, while connecting disciplines together across the social science spectrum.
Through the in-depth exploration of real-world and current examples, the module will examine how different disciplines and sub-disciplines typically undertake research into the social world, as explained by lecturers from each discipline. These examples will be related to how you feel the social world ‘works’. For example, do you think that social phenomenon are the same for everyone and can therefore be measured, or can the social world only be viewed and interpreted through the prism of the individual? What is your position on engaging in research people who are in poverty or vulnerable, for example? These and other questions will develop rigorous thinking across a wide range of issues.
The module will cover a range of fundamental concepts, including (but not limited to) the nature and process of social research, deduction and induction, epistemology, ontology and ethics. Different research designs will be discussed, followed by an introduction to the main debates with regard to quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research, such as their epistemological position, representativeness and how the results are used.