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MSc Social Research Methods

Central to the Department's activities is the MSc Social Research Methods which offers specialist options in one of the following: Social Policy, Social Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, Philosophy, Development Studies, Government, Management, Population, and Decision and Policy Sciences. The MSc programme gives students the opportunity to develop sophistication in research design and quantitative and qualitative research while maintaining a focus in a social scientific discipline.

This programme draw on the range of expertise available within the Institute, as well as related academic departments, in order to provide an advanced training in social research methodologies, combined with a focus on one of a number of special areas in the social science.

The syllabus for the MSc goes someway beyond the ESRC's requirements for the first year of a 1+3 PhD programme, and it is designed as a training for doctoral research and as a pre-professional training for careers in social research in the public and private sectors.

The MSc may be taken full-time over a calendar year, or part-time over two years.

Aims and objectives

The MSc aims to provide:

  • the skills of 'practical scholarship' built on a thorough grounding in the principles of quantitative and qualitative social research
  • a specialist training in one of the social sciences
  • an advanced training in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • experience in the design, collection, analysis and reporting of empirical social research
  • experience of computer analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data
  • training as a precursor to doctoral research and/or for employment in social research in the public and private sectors.

The programme outcomes are:

  • understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • understanding of conceptual and methodological questions underlying quantitative and qualitative research
  • ability to design, conduct, analyse and report a social research project
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'The course at the LSE stands clearly in the lead, in terms of coverage, rigour and performance, which makes it not only best (in my opinion), but also the most balanced graduate training course in social science methodology in England.'
From the 2003 Report of the External Examiner: Professor Tony Macmillan Coxon, Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh.