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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: SOC2012 Module Title: GROUP RESEARCH PROJECTS
Module Provider: Sociology Short Name: SOC210
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: BURNINGHAM KA Dr (Sociology)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Throughout the year
Assessment Pattern
Components of Assessment
Percentage weighting
Project report
to be submitted in week 10 of Spring Semester. 
Tutor’s assessment of their contribution of the accomplishment of the report
Module Overview

Module Aims

The aim of the group projects is to provide a disciplined integration of theory, method and analysis in addressing sociological issues.

Learning Outcomes
Module Content

Project topics vary in their methodology and may include policy oriented qualitative studies or computer applications projects. The topics will be decided by the designated project tutors for that year in consultation with students and other members of the department.

Examples of two types of projects are given below.

A policy related research project might included either a) a case study analysis of a specific policy initiative in the field of social welfare, crime policy or criminal justice or b) small scale qualitative research study with a policy related theme. The type of project, the nature of the study and the methods adopted will be decided by the students themselves in consultation with the course tutor. 

The group will be expected to:-

1. Describe the formation and implementation of the policy under investigation.

2. Identify the theoretical issues.

3. Outline the research problem and explore the various methodological approaches.

4. Decide on the appropriate methods of data collection and undertake fieldwork.

5. Analyse the data and comment on the policy implications of the findings.

6. Submit a written report. 

Recent projects have included an evaluation study of a probation day centre, a study of pressure groups engaged in the campaign over Sunday Trading, parental choice and secondary schools and organisation change in the police service.


The aim of a Computer Applications project is for students to undertake a theoretically informed analysis of large scale survey data. Data sets currently available in the Sociology Department include the General Household Survey, Labour Force Survey, Family Expenditure Survey, National Child Development Study, British Social Attitudes Survey, NORC General Social Survey, and the World Handbook of Social Indicators.

The Department holds a number of years of many of these surveys, allowing the analysis of change over time. The project provides an appreciation of the problems and possibilities of testing sociological ideas using large scale survey data, the construction of scales and complex variables, and sophisticated data analysis, as well as providing skills in report writing and presentation. The project will cover a number of stages: 

1. A theoretical review of literature on the topic to be studied

2. Clarification of research goals and specification of research hypotheses

3. Familiarisation with the relevant data set(s). Discussion of operationalisation of a range of concepts to be used in the study.

4. Construction of derived variables.

5. Students use SPSS to analyse the data sets using a range of statistical procedures such as crosstabulation, correlation and regression. Students are expected to use the most appropriate statistical techniques and to be able to interpret substantively the results of their analyses.

6. Submit a written report.

Recent and suggested projects include:

- Analysis of voting behaviour. The students wrote up part of this analysis as an article on ‘Gender and Voting’ published in Sociology Review Nov ‘91.

- The association of socio-economic factors with women’s fertility.

- Changes in the characteristics of households in poverty since 1979.

- Labour force participation of women: The influence of family roles on women’s labour force participation. 

Methods of Teaching/Learning

At different times during the project, the tutor’s role will vary from a lecturer giving more formal seminar presentations to a facilitator guiding students in making their own group decisions.  The project tutor will involve other members of the department to teach and give specialist advice as required.

The projects will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminar and workshops.  The tutor will also be available for consultation as necessary.

Selected Texts/Journals
Policy related research project:

Dixon B R, Bouma G D, Atkinson G B J, (1987), A Handbook of Social Science Research: A comprehensive and practical guide for students, Oxford University Press

Hammersley M and Atkinson P, (1983), Ethnography: Principles in Practice, London , Tavistock

Marshal C and Rossman G B, (1989), Designing Qualitative Research, London , Sage 

Computer applications project:

Dale A, Arber S L, Procter M, (1988), Doing Secondary Analysis, Allen & Unwin 
Last Updated
15th August 2006