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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: English Short Name: PSM53
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: COYLE AG Dr (Psychology)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Autumn semester.  2 hours per week
Assessment Pattern
Write-up of two workshop exercises: 100%. These will be assessed for appropriate organisation and structure, understanding of the relevant methodological issues and critical reflection upon these issues.

Qualifying Condition(s)


A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Module Overview
Module Aims
The intention of this course is to provide an accessible introduction, for the non-specialist, to some of the principal tools of social research and to some specialist research approaches relevant to the MSc programmes. Through the provision of hands-on experience in workshop exercises, the aim is to provide the student with the tools to evaluate evidence that has been generated through various methods and techniques and to select appropriately from among these in planning their own research. In conclusion, the module aims to develop students’ understanding of the research process as practised in the social sciences, with particular emphasis on the principal options for empirical enquiry available to the social researcher.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, you will be able to:


  • develop research questions in an informed way, drawing upon an understanding of the principles and practicalities of social research


  • identify appropriate methods of data generation and data analysis through informed reflection in light of these research questions


  • evaluate others’ research and your own research plans using appropriate criteria


  • reflect critically upon how your personal interpretative framework might shape the research process 


Module Content
The module sessions will cover a variety of issues relevant to the principles and practicalities of social research, including formulating research questions; generating qualitative data through interviewing; questionnaires and surveys; qualitative thematic analysis; conversation analysis; observation methods and behavioural mapping; and ethical considerations in research.
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Most individual sessions will take the form of workshops. These will begin with a presentation by the lecturer of the research issue that forms the focus of the session, followed by exercises to provide hands-on experience of the fundamentals of the matter under consideration and critical reflections upon this experience.
Selected Texts/Journals

Essential Reading


Gilbert, N. (Ed.) (2008). Researching social life (3rd edn.). London : Sage.



Required Reading


Breakwell, G. M., Hammond, S., Fife-Schaw, C., & Smith, J.A. (Eds) (2006). Research methods in psychology (3rd edn.). London : Sage.


Bryman, A. (2008). Social research methods (3rd edn.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lincoln , Y.S. (2010). ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been…’ Twenty-five years of qualitative and new paradigm research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(1), 3-9.


Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting qualitative data (3rd edn.). London : Sage.



Recommended Reading


Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln , Y.S. (Eds) (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd edn.). Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage.


De Vaus, D.A. (2002). Surveys in social research (5th edn.). London : UCL Press.


Lyons, E., & Coyle, A. (Eds) (2007). Analysing qualitative data in psychology. London : Sage.


Willig, C. (2008). Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and method (2nd edn.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.


Last Updated
1 September 2010