Taught course

Social Research Methods (Social Policy)

Institution
Durham University · School of Applied Social Sciences
Qualifications
MA

Entry requirements

Normally an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent. However, applications from candidates with a 2.2 degree (or below) who have approved professional qualifications, for example in Social Work, together with experience, will be actively considered for admission. English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Months of entry

October

Course content

The field of Social Policy examines the definition, pattern and range of social problems in contemporary society and the various policy responses to them. It explores the role of the state in relation to the welfare and management of its citizens and the role of state intervention in determining the conditions under which people live. This programme is designed to provide you with a grounding in social research as applied in social policy investigations.

Course Structure

You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting in the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which will enables you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.

Core Modules

In previous years, typical modules offered were:

Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)

  • Introduction to social scientific research
  • Establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences
  • Essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.

Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)

  • Spreadsheets and data analysis
  • Populations, sample data and sampling distributions
  • Point estimates and confidence intervals
  • Significance tests, cress-tabulations, and Chi-Square tests
  • Correlation and linear regression.

Research Design and Process (15 credits)

  • Formulating research questions
  • Evaluating and developing a research proposal
  • Reviewing relevant literature
  • Experimental vs. observational studies
  • Sampling and selecting respondents
  • Measurement.

Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Introduction to theory and research practice in qualitative methods
  • Ethnography and grounded theory
  • Group discussions
  • Data analysis and management processes.

Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Sampling and sample design, questionnaire design
  • Numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis in practice
  • Methods for representing complex systems.

Social Policy and Society (30 credits)

  • Spanning two terms, this module covers theory and concepts in the first term, and applications of concepts in the second term
  • Critical perspectives in Marxism, feminism, anti-racism, and environmentalism
  • Social control, regulations and resistance
  • Citizenship and community
  • Applications in healthcare, education, social security, housing, crime, justice and punishment.

Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)

  • Relationship between theory and empirical research in evaluation
  • Defining and measuring outcomes
  • Case study analysis
  • Poster presentation and participatory evaluation.

Dissertation (60 credits)

  • 15,000 word dissertation based on a supervised research project.

Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation.

Information for international students

English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Fees and funding

UK students
6900
International students
16500

Scholarships and funding

https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/finance/funding/

Qualification and course duration

MA

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Name
School of Applied Social Sciences
Email
sass.pgadmissions@durham.ac.uk
Phone
(0)191 334 1505