module specification

SS5003 - Interactive Research Methods (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Interactive Research Methods
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
54 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
246 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay assignment
Coursework 50%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The principal focus of this module is for students to build on prior understanding and learning, exploring philosophical accounts of scientific explanation and the theory and practice of sociological research through the use of work-related interactive methods. The module provides work experience for students by developing research for a real world organisation (employer). Students will learn about doing research methods by conducting research for an employer. The employer will contribute to setting out small-scale research aims and objectives; being available to assess student proposals and bids or assess the analysis/ final presentation. The first part of this module examines the theory and philosophical accounts of research methodology, as well as introducing students to the practical skills of doing interviews, transcribing them, and analysing qualitative data. The second part of the module concentrates on quantitative methods, and requires students to design research for the requirements of an employer involved in both the aims and outcomes (assessment) of the research. The module provides work-related understanding and application of research methods by involving employer requirements and needs.

Module aims

  • To advance students’ knowledge of the variety of methods employed in sociological research including quantitative and qualitative approaches and their underlying philosophies
  • To provide students with work experience in designing research and the use of practical social research skills used in professional settings
  • To develop an in-depth understanding of contexts in which research takes place and the practical issues associated with research
  • develop the attributes of self-appraisal and creative and ethical application of their learning in a variety of social research idioms and contexts, including professional work environments
  • To develop external awareness in the context of their course including career opportunities, employers and practitioners in social research, and of real world social problems/issues
  • To introduce students to the basic methods and techniques of statistical data analysis
  • To develop students’ skills and confidence to a professional standard in the understanding, producing and presenting basic statistical material and appropriate interpretation of results
  • To provide work-related experience by using a range of research methods used in professional settings.
  • To provide students with the necessary skills involved in writing a proposal; bidding (pitching) for research; designing the research, analysing and presenting the research


- Social research in the real world
- Doing research for small and large organisations
- Philosophical and Historical roots of social research
- Positivism and scientific approaches to the social world
- Theory and Practice in Social Research
- Ethics in Social Research
- Quantitative and Qualitative approaches to social research
- Ethnographic approaches to social research
- Qualitative Interviewing
- Participant Observation
- Qualitative Data Analysis
- Research design in quantitative research: Exploration, Description and Explanation.
- Numeric skills: fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and proportion
- Statistical Analysis and Graphical Presentation of Data
- Relationships between ordinal and interval variables; Correlation; and analysis of quantitative data

Learning and teaching

All material for computer workshops (lecture notes, workshop guidelines and data) will be available on module’s WebLearn pages, which will enable and enhance students’ independent learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

  1. Describe and critically analyse the principle methods employed in sociological research for use in professional work practices.
  2. Appraise and discuss key theoretical, ethical, political and contemporary issues involved in professional research practice
  3. Make practical use of a selected interactive method including a qualitative interview
  4. Critically interpret published statistical data
  5. Apply a range of data analysis techniques available to social scientists on different set of data and use them appropriately
  6. Write about results of data analyses in straightforward, concise and comprehensible form, using appropriate tables, charts and graphs
  7. Use of relevant spreadsheets and software packages used in a professional setting for the analysis of data, report writing and production of tables, charts and graphs
  8. Bid for research, design research, and present research findings to a real-world audience (employer).

Assessment strategy

The first part of the module will be assessed through an essay assignment comprising an essay question, and a practical accomplishment of a research design/ research practice:

  • 3,000 words, 50% of final mark

The second part of the module will be assessed through a Portfolio undertaken during the module, designed to assess student’s ability to carry out a piece of research for a real world employer:

  • 2,500 words, 50% of final mark


Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crang, M. and Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage.
Dillman, D.A., Smyth, J.D., and Christian, L.M. (2014) Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. New York: Wiley.
Field, A. (2013) Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS. London: Sage.
Floyd, J. and Fowler, F.J. (2013) Survey Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, US: Sage.
     Gray, D.E. (2014) Doing Research in the Real World. London: Sage.
Hammersley,M and Atkinson, P (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice. Routledge.
Gobo, G. (2008) Doing Ethnography. Los Angeles: Sage.
May, T., (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods & Process Open University Press.
Miller, R.L., Acton, C., Fullerton, D.A. &Maltby, J. (2009) SPSS for Social Scientists, Palgrave.
Rea, L.M. and Parker, R. A. (2014) Designing and Conducting Survey Research: A Comprehensive Guide. New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
Silverman, D (2005) Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
Silverman, D (2007) Interpreting Qualitative Data. London: Sage.
Spradley, J.P. (1979) The Ethnographic Interview. New York: Cengage Learning.
Wagner, W. E. (2010) Using IBM SPSS Statistics for Social Statistics and Research Methods. London: Sage.