Subject details

  • Topics
    • Introduction: Research in the social sciences
    • Research traditions, research designs and research questions
    • Identifying research data - Using secondary sources
    • Qualitative research
    • Collecting qualitative data
    • Analysing qualitative data
    • Quantitative research in practice
    • Introduction to Quantitative Research
    • Social Surveys and Sampling
    • Writing Social Surveys
    • Quantitative Data Analysis I
    • Quantitative Data Analysis II
    • Ethics in social research
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
    • Online Materials
      • Resources and Links

At the completion of this subject 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.
  • Assignment 1 - Workshop participation (20%)
  • Assignment 2 - Research proposal (40%)
  • Assignment 3 - Quizzes (20%)
  • Assignment 4 - Research Paper (20%)

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 subject

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

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

  • MAQ-SGY240

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject 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 subject 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 subject 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.

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