Methods of Social Research - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1
  • Assessment: Participation - Workshop participation (20%) , Proposal - Research proposal (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as SGY240 Methods of Social Research.

Social research is essential in the contemporary world and an important field of employment for graduates in the social sciences and humanities. This unit gives students an opportunity to develop practical skills designing social and organisational research; and in collecting, analysing and presenting data to address research questions. You will consider the best research methods to use and the problems, limitations and traps likely to be encountered by inexperienced researchers. You will also consider the ethical issues in social research, and the impact of new information technologies on social research. The emphasis is on the practical side of research. A series of active workshops introduces major methodological techniques, basic qualitative and quantitative approaches, including interviewing, case studies, group techniques, textual analysis, and participant observation. Students also receive a basic introduction to SPSS. Research methods useful to community generated research are also explored. No knowledge of statistics is required. The unit is suitable for all students in social sciences, humanities, media, creative arts or business and finance. It is particularly useful for those seeking interesting and meaningful employment after graduation or for anyone wanting to go on to do Honours and higher research.

At the completion of this unit students will:

  1. learn about the range of qualitative and quantitative social research methods and know when each should be used in social research
  2. gain first-hand experience in using social research methods, including becoming familiar with the technologies used in social research
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the major problems confronting social researchers, especially: the scientific status of social science research; the strengths and weaknesses of different methods; questions relating to validity and reliability; and ethical considerations in social research
  4. be able to scope a research problem, prepare a research proposal in response to this problem and outline a program of research to address the issues being considered
  5. develop proficiency in generic skills required to undertake social research. These include: high level information retrieval, critical reading and conceptual skills, problem development and writing skills; and skills in the preparation of research proposals, literature reviews and assessment of research.
  • Participation — Workshop participation (20%)
  • Proposal — Research proposal (40%)
  • Quizzes (20%)
  • Research Paper (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SGY240 — Methods of Social Research

You must complete Level 1 Sociology before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: Research in the social sciences
2Setting the Agenda (formulating research questions)
3Identifying research data/ Critical Social Research
4Qualitative research
5Collecting qualitative data
6Analysing qualitative data
7Quantitative research in practice
8Social statistics I: Social survey research
9Social statistics II: Populations and samples
10Social statistics III: Testing for associations
11Social statistics IV: Deconstructing a survey
12Ethics in social research

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Social Research Methods


    ISBN: 9780199689453


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Enquire online

    Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
    Make an online enquiry.

    Enquire now

    Ready to enrol?

    Start studying this unit now.


    Got a question?

    Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.