Social Science Research Methods - 2018

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2018: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Research Project Proposal (30%) , Assignment 2 - Research Project Design (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2018 Fees
Domestic 820.00
HECS 820.00
International 1,043.00

This unit is designed to teach students the logic of research methodology in the social sciences. Students will learn how to articulate a researchable problem, formulate research hypotheses, logically determine what research methodology provides the best avenue to test these hypotheses, and carry out research. Students will also develop the necessary skills to analyse and write criminal justice policies.

After successfully completing this unit you should be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the theoretical tenets of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches to research design
  2. Demonstrate skills in identifying and researching relevant literature and documents, including theoretical and empirical research and policy documents
  3. Explain the theoretical principles underlying research question/s and research hypothesis/es and demonstrate an ability to construct appropriate research question/s and research hypothesis/es for a specified research project
  4. Describe, explain and select an appropriate methodological approach and sampling strategy and design data collection instrument/s for a specified research project
  5. Describe and apply principles of ethical research
  6. Report the key elements of a written research proposal according to American Psychological Association guidelines;
  7. Be cognisant of the range, complexity and value of criminological research.
  • Assignment 1 — Research Project Proposal (30%)
  • Assignment 2 — Research Project Design (40%)
  • Invigilated Exam — Examination (30%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

Mandatory conditional prerequisites

You must either have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit, or currently be enrolled in the following unit(s) in a prior study period; or enrol in the following unit(s) to study prior to this unit:

Please note that your enrolment in this unit is conditional on successful completion of these prerequisite unit(s). If you study the prerequisite unit(s) in the study period immediately prior to studying this unit, your result for the prerequisite unit(s) will not be finalised prior to the close of enrolment. In this situation, should you not complete your prerequisite unit(s) successfully you should not continue with your enrolment in this unit. If you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite unit(s) and believe you may not complete these all successfully, it is your responsibility to reschedule your study of this unit to give you time to re-attempt the prerequisite unit(s).

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

Recommended prerequisites

You are recommended to have completed the following unit(s) or have equivalent knowledge before starting this unit:

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: The nature and process of social research
2Formulating research questions; conceptualization and measurement
3Sampling methods; research strategies
4Experimental designs; ethics in criminal justice research
5Surveys, structured interviews and questionnaires Collecting data in context Asking questions Data collecting in context
6Qualitative methods: ethnographic interviews, case studies and participant observation
7Analyzing content: secondary data; content analysis and comparative analysis
8Analyzing qualitative data; reporting research results
9Evaluation research
10Breaking down the quantitative-qualitative divide; mixed methods research
11Breaking down the quantitative/qualitative divide and mixed-methods research

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement 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.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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