module specification

SS5017 - Researching Youth and Community Issues (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Researching Youth and Community Issues
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
40 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
170 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Community profile, 2000 words
Coursework 60%   Research Proposal, 3000 words
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will introduce research and specially applied research to students from Community Development and Leadership and Youth Studies areas. Students will be introduced to the research process and research knowledge and skills relevant to professional and academic development. These research principles will provide a foundation for understanding approaches to social research, community profiling and evidence based practice and research design. It will introduce research methods and the basics of preparing a research proposal on themes related directly to community and youth work. It will further focus on how to decide the appropriateness of different research approaches in a variety of environments.    

Aims of the module
The aims of the module are to:
1. provide a foundation for understanding approaches to social and community research and evidence based practice;
2. facilitate the development of research skills and knowledge for professional and academic development with a focus on community and youth work;
3. provide students with a practical understanding of doing primary social research and understanding their underlying philosophies;
4. explore the design and organisation of research approaches;
5. examine a range of participatory, ethnographic and other methods of data collection and analysis;
6. reflect on ethical and cultural issues inherent in doing social research;
7. contextualise research within Community Development National Occupational Standards (CD NOS) and National Occupational Standards for Youth Work.


• An introduction to different styles of community-based research including community profiling LO1
• Formulating a research question, aim and objectives LO2
• Principles and practice of doing various types of fieldwork, such as interviews, focus groups, participant observation; methods of collecting data from the field and data analysis LO1, LO3
• Literature search strategy and how to look for literature (library-based) LO1, LO4
• Primary and secondary research analysis LO5
• Triangulation in research LO4, LO5
• Introduction to research strategy and methodology and research methods and the differences LO6
• Introduction to feminist research LO7
• Dealing with ethical and cultural issues in research LO8
• Analysing and critiquing research reports LO3
• Exploration of links between research and CD NOS and YW NOS LO1, LO7

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module teaching and learning is based on lectures and seminars and interactive workshop sessions. Some sessions will be based in the library and IT studios to enable simultaneous online activity for all students.

Theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. The lecture programme provides practical guidance and knowledge of practitioner-based style research which aims to show students how research can be applied to a professional occupational setting. The face-to-face teaching pattern comprises a one hour lecture/presentation and a two hour workshop weekly.

The seminars are designed to develop students' practical research skills in research design, data handling and analysis of fieldwork. There will be opportunities for students to engage on informal peer review and evaluation to enhance their work.

In addition students will be expected to undertake regular independent study, including weekly practical tasks related to the workshops, to a total of 210 hours per year. Students are expected to offer research summaries and reflective accounts of their learning in the seminars and discuss the appropriateness of methods, quality of findings and other related issues. They will receive peer feedback and feedback from the lecturer on their reflective accounts.

On-line activity will include access to module materials and multi-media with links to ethnographic, community based and other research resources, e.g. online reading and research and analysis activities in preparation for class discussions.

Students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of WebLearn for online and ongoing access to lecture notes, additional materials including articles and research reports, links to E-books.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. carry out a small scale community profiling exercise
2. formulate and justify a research topic and a research question related to community work and construct research aims and objectives;
3. describe and contrast a range of research methods used in applied social research and refer to relevant ethical and cross-cultural issues in research;
4. design, write and submit a research proposal for a small scale piece of primary research supported by secondary research;
5. discuss the use of data analysis in research;
6. identify and offer an analysis of the broader issues of social research including research paradigms and research strategies and methodology;
7. make reference to CD NOS and YW NOS in community profiling and research proposal.

Assessment strategy

The assessment is based on two submitted written pieces. The first assignment is a community profile exercise submitted as a report which has 40% weighting and will be 2000 words submitted on week 16. The community profile will focus on secondary research and assess students ability and competency in getting relevant information from other sources.

The second assignment is a research proposal which has 60% weighting and 3000 words submitted on week 30. The research Proposal will incorporate a research question, aims and objectives, rationale, a brief literature review that relates to the student’s proposed research topic, a short research method section, a brief discussion of ethics in relation to their research question. Completion of this provides impetus and direction for final year’s dissertation.


Core Texts
• Barbour, R. (2008) Introducing Qualitative Research: A student guide to the craft of Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
• Bradford, S., Cullen, F. (eds.) (2012) Research and Research Methods for Youth Practitioners. Abingdon: Routledge.
• Bryman A., (2016) Social Research Methods. 5th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Burgess R. (1991) In the Field: An Introduction to Field Research. London: Routledge.
• Crang, M. and Cook, I (2007) Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage.
• Denscombe, M. (2010) Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice. 2nd Ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
• May, T (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process. 4th Ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press/McGraw Hill.
• Nazroo, J. (ed.) (2006) Health and social research in multiethnic societies. London: Routledge.
• Neuman, W. (2007) Basics of social research: qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
• Ritchie J. & Lewis J. (eds) (2003) Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. London: Sage.
Additional Texts
• Becker H.S. (1963) Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: Free Press.
• Beresford, P. (2003) It's Our Lives: A short theory of knowledge, distance and experience, Citizen Press in association with Shaping Our Lives.
• Bell, J. (2010) Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 5th Ed. Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.
• Chambers, R (1995) Paradigm shifts and the practice of participatory research and development in Nelson, N and Wright, S (eds). Power and Participatory development: Theory and Practice. ITDG Publishing.
• Gobo, G (2008) Doing Ethnography. London: Sage.
• Hammersley M. (1992) What's Wrong with Ethnography? London: Routledge.
• Riessman, C. K. (1993) Narrative Analysis. London: Sage.
• Whyte W.F. (1955) Street Corner Society Chicago. Chicago: Chicago University Press.


Community Development Journal
British Journal of Sociology
Social Research
Journal of Youth Studies
Youth and policy

• Bryman, A. (2016). Bryman: Social Research Methods: Student Researcher's Toolkit. Available: Last accessed 9/03/2018.
• Government and Local authority websites

Electronic Databases:  Academic search Complete, Sage journals Online, Cambridge Journals Digital Archive, Oxford Journals Archive, Taylor & Francis Online Journals, Social Sciences Citation Index, Wiley Online Library.

Others: A range of research reports available on the module Weblearn.