MY500      Half Unit
Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Alasdair Jones COL8.12


The course is available to all research students.

Course content

Research design necessitates trade-offs between the strengths and weaknesses of different feasible options.  This course aims to introduce the broad range of design options and to foster an appreciation of these alternatives for particular research objectives.  Drawing on a variety of examples from the social scientific literature, this course will explore design considerations and options across quantitative and qualitative research, including issues of data quality, analysis, reporting and reproducibility.  At the end of the course, students will be able to read a wide variety of empirical social science with a critical and balanced perspective and will be better equipped to implement and make arguments defending the methods they use in their PhD theses.


20 hours of lectures and 8 hours of seminars in the MT.

Week 6 is a Reading Week during which students work independently on their formative assignments.

Indicative reading

Robson, Colin and McCartan, Kieran (2015, 4th edition). Real World Research. London: John Wiley.


Research proposal (30%) in the MT.
Other (60%) in the ST.
Class participation (10%).

Research Proposal (1000 words), submitted in week 11 of MT (30%).  Research Design (5000 words), submitted in Week 1 of ST (60%).

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2016/17: 9

Average class size 2016/17: 10

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information