MY400      Half Unit
Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Benjamin Lauderdale COL8.10


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Applied Social Data Science. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Demography/Population Studies, MPhil/PhD in International Relations, MPhil/PhD in Social Policy, MPhil/PhD in Social Research Methods, MPhil/PhD in Sociology, MSc in Applied Social Data Science, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Social Research Methods and MSc in Statistics (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Research students please see MY500.

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 dissertations.


15 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT.

Week 6 is a Reading Week during which students work independently on their first assignment.


Indicative reading

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


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

Research Proposal assignment (1500 words), submitted in week 11 of MT (30%).   Research Design (4000 words), submitted in Week 1 of ST (60%).

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2017/18: 55

Average class size 2017/18: 8

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 89%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)