MY500      Half Unit
Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Audrey Alejandro


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in Accounting (AOI) (Accounting, Organisations and Institutions Track), MRes/PhD in Management (Employment Relations and Human Resources) and MRes/PhD in Management (Organisational Behaviour). This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Cities Programme, MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography, MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development, MPhil/PhD in Health Policy and Health Economics, MPhil/PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies, MPhil/PhD in Regional and Urban Planning Studies and MPhil/PhD in Social Research Methods. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is not controlled access. If you register for a place and meet the prerequisites, if any, you are likely to be given a place.

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, qualitative and mixed-methods research. 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term.

This course has a reading week in Week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

A project outline (1-2 pages long including in-text citations and reference list) that sets up a research question that the student will develop in their summative assignment.

Indicative reading

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


Research proposal (100%) in the LT.

Students can base their research proposal (3000 words) on a dimension of their dissertation topic subject to the approval of their home department.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2021/22: 12

Average class size 2021/22: 7

Value: Half Unit

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