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Unit information: Philosophy and Research Design in the Social Sciences (SoE) in 2015/16

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Unit name Philosophy and Research Design in the Social Sciences (SoE)
Unit code EDUCM0005
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Sue Timmis
Open unit status Not open



Introduction to Qualitative Research Introduction to Quantitative Research Understanding Educational Research (for MSc in Educational Research) Core Skills in Educational Research (for MSc in Educational Research)

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit aims to provide foundation knowledge and skills for the design of research in the social sciences, including an appreciation of philosophical, practical and ethical issues. Students will apply these in the particular context of their own discipline.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Module specific skills

  • Have an understanding of the differing philosophical bases of social science research.
  • Appreciate the relevance of social science theories to the design of research.
  • Understand the principles and processes of research design
  • Appreciate a range of ethical issues in the design and conduct of social research.
  • Discipline specific skills
  • Demonstrate and apply a critical understanding of philosophical debates surrounding the methodologies used in the discipline.
  • Develop research questions and employ research methods appropriate to the discipline.
  • Develop research proposals which take account of relevant ethical issues.
  • Develop a critical understanding of the use and abuse of evidence for policy and practice as relevant to the discipline.

Personal and key skills

  • Critical analysis
  • Ability to reflect on personal/ethical issues raised by engagement in research.
  • Team work
  • Presentation skills

Teaching Information

Lectures/presentations, seminars, group work, virtual learning environment

Assessment Information

Formative or % Contribution: Form of Assessment: Size of the assessment e.g. duration/length: ILOs assessed by this assessment: Feedback method:

Formative OR Group presentation 15 minutes Principles and processes of research design Personal and key skills Verbal

Formative (alternative) Essay: 1500 words: evaluation of a published study Principles and processes of research design Written

Formative (alternative) Essay Draft research design proposal Principles and processes of research design Written

Summative 100% Essay(s)4,000 words Module and discipline specific skills Written

Reading and References

  • Benton, T. and Craib, I., (2001) Philosophy of Social Science: the philosophical foundations of social thought. Basingstoke : Palgrave.
  • Clough, P and Nutbrown, C (2007) A Student’s Guide to Methodology[2nd edition]. London: Sage.
  • Delanty. G and Strydom, P (Eds.) (2003) Philosophies of Social Science: The *Classic and Contemporary Readings, Maidenhead: Open University Press,
  • Gilbert, N. (ed.) (2008) Researching Social Life [third edition], London: Sage.
  • May, T. (2001) Social Research [third edition] Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • The Library has a number of interdisciplinary and applied journals relevant to this unit, including the International Journal of Social Research Methodology, *Evaluation and Evidence and Policy