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The University of Southampton

STAT2009 Research Methods in The Social Sciences

Module Overview

This module builds upon the material learnt in the first year in STAT1003. It aims to increase your knowledge of social science research strategies and methods of collecting data (both quantitative and qualitative). It does this by covering the whole research process from conceptualising the problem, the collection of appropriate data, analysis of that data, and then drawing conclusions to then motivate further research. More specifically it aims to enable you to undertake simple hypothesis tests for quantitative data and to understand the uses of such tests made by researchers in the social sciences, as well as perform appropriate analysis on qualitative data. It will also introduce you to some major national data sources such as the LFS and GHS that are used for social science research. Pre-requisite for STAT3004 One of the pre-requisites for PSYC3010

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Core quantitative and qualitative research methods in the social sciences
  • Analyse data using the statistical package SPSS and interpret the findings.


This module will start with a broad introduction to research methods within the social sciences focusing on the roles of both quantitative and qualitative methods. It will then move on to basic designs for collecting quantitative data concentrating on probability sampling designs (SRS, stratification, clustering) and non-probability designs (snowball, quota) as well as the design of the questionnaire. This will be followed by quantitative methods of analysis covering basic hypothesis tests for means, proportions and tables (with application using SPSS) and finish with an introduction to simple linear regression concentrating on the interpretation of the model and testing its significance. The final part will cover the use of qualitative methods including focus groups and in-depth interviews, and the analysis of them, within the context of both informing the quantitative analysis as well as adding depth and understanding to quantitative analysis that has already been undertaken.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be delivered by a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous online methods, which may include lectures, quizzes, discussion boards, workshop activities, exercises, and videos. A range of resources will also be provided for further self-directed study. Face-to-face teaching opportunities will be explored depending on circumstances and feasibility.

Independent Study110
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

SPSS. You will require access to the SPSS software, which is available on the University’s computer workstations. Note that this software is available for download to your own computer for use with your studies

Diamond I. and Jefferies, J. (2001). Beginning Statistics: An Introduction for Social Scientists. 


Assessment Strategy

The examination covers the whole syllabus - research designs, the application of quantitative methods, and qualitative methods. It will include interpretation of SPSS output.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (2 hours) 70%
Coursework 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: STAT1003 or ECON1007


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.

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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