The Graduate Programme in Social Research Methods offers practical training in social research methods and analysis which aims to equip students with an understanding and appreciation of both qualitative and quantitative research methods across a range of disciplines with technical competence in the use of leading edge technology. The core and optional modules under the three pathways provide cutting edge knowledge of social research methods as well as an insight into the application of research methodologies to the analysis of policy issues.
The programme also offers the ideal base for those students that wish to move on to doctoral research in the social sciences.
Programme Structure: Social Research Methods
Course Structure and Content
Typically, full-time students complete the master's programme in one year whereas part-time students complete in two years. Students complete eight taught modules followed by a dissertation. There are normally six compulsory core modules and two elective options depending on your choice of options.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a mixture of lectures, class discussion and seminars, student presentations, analysis of case studies and interactive computer based exercises, particularly in relation to the quantitative elements of the course. In addition, students attend a residential course in the spring term, usually held at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. This helps students to prepare for their dissertation, an independent piece of research on an approved topic.
The six taught core modules are assessed by means of written coursework and an examination. Elective options are typically assessed by means of coursework alone.
All students are required to submit a dissertation of 10,000 to 15,000 words on an appropriate area of social research and/or methodology. The dissertation topic will be agreed with the Programme Director on the basis of a feasibility proposal indicating the topic, the aim and objectives of the dissertation, the methodology to be adopted and the data to be employed.
Each year the Cathie Marsh Prize is awarded for the best performance in the MSc programmes.
Students are supported by open-access PC labs, specialist software, printed out online resources in the library, and online data sources including Web of Science.
The programme conforms with the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) model of a fully rounded training for research, distinguishing core training from specialised training appropriate to particular disciplines.
Two approved pathways, in Sociology and Statistics, Methods and Computing, form the foundation research training for the ESRC's 1+3 model for PhD students. Such accreditation is awarded where a course provides expert and qualified labour in areas of national shortage or has particular relevance to areas of current social or economic issue.