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Module details

SC203-5-FY: Researching Social Life II

Year: 2015/16
Department: Sociology
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Pre-requisites: SC101

Supervisor: Dr Nick Allum  
Teaching Staff: Taught by various members of the Department  
Contact details: Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail: socugrad (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address) 

Module is taught during the following terms

Module Description

This module exposes students to the methods and principles required to design and critically evaluate empirical sociological research. By the end of the module students will have developed key skills useful for their third-year project work and skills in critically evaluating the relative merits of different approaches to social research.

The module is taught through a series of weekly lectures that focus on key methodological issues involving mostly qualitative research in the autumn term, and quantitative research in the spring term. Weekly classes that accompany the lectures cover practical skills in research design, data collection and the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. Instruction is provided in the use of computer software for data analysis supported by hands-on study guides.

The module is assessed through assignments and examination. Both elements account for 50% respectively of the overall mark for the module.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Weekly lectures, plus either classes or lab sessions throughout the year


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 hour exam during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Compulsory for:

All second year Single Honours sociology students in the School of Social Sciences; Humanities and Comparative Studies and second year Sociology and Criminology degree students

Not available as an outside option

Available to second year students only


  • Essential texts
  • Gilbert, Nigel (ed). (2008) Researching Social Life (Third Edition). London: Sage
  • Alan Bryman (2008) Social Research Methods (Third Edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS. (2nd ed.). London: Sage
  • Additional texts
  • Cottrell, S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds.) (2003) The Landscape of Qualitative Research: Theories and Issues, Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds.) (2003) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry, Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (eds.) (2003) Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Fielding, J. and Gilbert, N. (2006) Understanding Social Statistics Second Edition Sage.
  • Wright, D (2002). First steps in statistics. London. Sage
  • de Vaus, D. (2001) Research Design in Social Research, Sage.
  • Gomm, R. (2003) Social Research Methodology: A Critical Introduction, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing social enquiry: scientific inference in qualitative research. Princetown, New Jersey: Princetown University Press. Sarantakos, S. (2005) Social Research (Third Edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sociology and Criminology students might also think about using: Lesley Noaks and Emma Wincup (2004) Criminological Research: Understanding Qualitative Methods, London: Sage.

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Dr Lydia Martens
  • Academic Role: Senior Lecturer

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)