module specification

SSP119 - Researching Work and the Labour Movement (2012/13)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2012/13, but may be subject to modification
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Researching Work and the Labour Movement
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
Home academic faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Critical appraisal of research
Oral Examination 10%   Dissertation presentation
Coursework 60%   Dissertation proposal
Running in 2012/13
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Not applicable -
Autumn semester City Not applicable -

Module summary

This module is taught in block

The Researching Work and the Labour Movement module is designed to provide a comprehensive introductory course to research philosophy, methodology and design across a range of social science subject fields. Throughout the module there is progression from an examination of different research philosophies and methodologies through to critical appraisal of the application of different methodologies within specific fields of study.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

To develop an understanding of the role and significance of research within social science.

2. To promote critical awareness and interest in a range of social science research and the methods employed in that research.

3. To acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake successful dissertation research.

4. To enable the student to apply research strategies and methods to the examination of key issues in the trade union and labour studies field.


Introduction to Researching Work and the Labour Movement
Introduction to TUC Library Collection
Formulating Research
Historical/Documentary Research
Literature Search and the Literature Review
Using Published Sources and Secondary Data
Collecting and Analysing Survey Research
Collecting and Analysing Qualitative Data
Tutorials on Dissertation Proposals.
Writing and Presenting Research
Assessed Dissertation Proposal Presentations

Learning and teaching

Staff/student contact takes the form of briefing sessions, activities, demonstrations, practical sessions and seminars.

Briefing sessions are designed to address key theories, concepts and references which can be built upon in seminars, activities and practical sessions.

Activities are scheduled to provide an opportunity to investigate certain topics in more depth. These will take the form of conducting a critical investigation of the methods employed within a specific area of research.

Demonstrations/workshops will focus on computer technology which will be used to illustrate data analysis of surveys using SPSS or qualitative data using Nudist and the scope for literature searching using the Internet

Learning outcomes

1. To identify and appraise a range of research philosophies, methodologies and designs within social science research

2. To apply knowledge and skills in social science research to trade union and labour studies issues and situations.

3. To critically assess the relative merits of different research methods in relation to specific research needs, research briefs and research proposals

4. To undertake critical appraisals of previous research in the trade union and labour studies areas

5. To conduct research for the dissertation using appropriate methods

Assessment strategy

This module is assessed wholly by in-course written work and presentation, in total comprising four elements.
1. Critical appraisal of research 2000 word paper
2. Dissertation presentation 15 minute presentation
3. Dissertation proposal 3000 word paper


Essential Reading

Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Easterby-Smith, M. Thorpe, R. and Lowe, A. (2001) Management Research, London: Sage.
Whitfield, K. and Strauss, G. (1998) Researching the World of Work: Strategies and Methods in Studying Industrial Relations, London: ILR Press.

Background Reading

Brewerton, P. and Millward, L. (2001) Organizational Research Methods, London: sage.
Bryman, A. (1995) Research Methods and Organization Studies, London: Routledge.
Burton, D. (ed.) Research Training for Social Scientists 2000: Sage.
Cassell, C. and Symon, G. (1994) Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research, London: Sage.
Carr, E.H. (1987) What is History?
Coghlan, D. (2000) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization, London: Sage.
Cuba, L. & Cocking, J. (1994) How to Write About the Social Sciences 1994: Harper Collins.
Cully, M. Woodland, S. O’Reilly, A. and Dix, G. (1999) Britain at Work, London: Routledge.
Curran, J and Blackburn, R. (2000) Researching the Small Enterprise, London: Sage.
Gabriel, Y. (1999) Organizations in Depth, London: Sage.
Gilbert, N. (2001) Researching Social Life, London: Sage.
Hirst, P. (1985) Marxism & Historical Writing
Kelly, J. (1998) Rethinking Industrial Relations, London: Routledge.
Knight, P. (2001) Small-Scale Research, London: Sage.
Maynard, M. and Purvis, J. (1994) Researching Women’s Lives from a Feminist Perspective, London: Taylor and Francis.
McLennan, G. (1981) Marxism and the Methodologies of History
Millward, N, Bryson, A. and Forth, J. (2000) All Change at Work, London: Routledge.
Potter, S. (2002) Doing Postgraduate Research, London: Sage.