Foundations in Qualitative Methods
This module provides a conceptual overview of the various approaches and debates associated with theory and practice of qualitative research.
It examines a range of contrasting perspectives on the design of research including problem identification, selection and sampling, and analysis.
Specific consideration is given to the ways in which qualitative and quantitative approaches may be seen as complementary, and the use of mixed methods. The module will also cover the ways in which qualitative research can be evaluated.
The module will also facilitate dialogue between members of different social science disciplines, to give an understanding of how some issues or practices may be viewed differently from different disciplinary perspectives.
Fundamentals of Quantitative Analysis
The objective of this module is to further students' familiarity with the practice of quantitative data analysis in the social sciences at an intermediate level.
The lecture component of the module will explore a variety of the most commonly used statistical methods; in the laboratory component, students will learn to apply these techniques to the analysis of social science data.
Through assignments, students will have the opportunity to develop and test their own hypotheses and explanations on major research data sets. The module should provide a sound grasp of the possibilities, methods, and dangers inherent in quantitative social science research.
Philosophy of Social Science
This module will introduce students to the philosophy of social science, and the ways in which this is interconnected with the politics and practice of social research.
Along the way we will be asking questions such as 'What standards must explanations in social science meet?' and 'What is the relationship between the values of a social scientist and the research they conduct?'
Different research methods entail particular ideas of social reality and how we should conduct our studies. This has important implications both for how we approach our own research and how we evaluate the work of others.
Research Design, Practice and Ethics
This module focuses on the analytical, practical and ethical organisation of social science research.
The analytical organisation is often referred to as 'research design' and constitutes the bulk of the content of this module. Research design consists of choices necessary to transform a research question into actual research. These choices relate to strategies and modes of case selection, observation methods, data collection and modes of analysis, and these choices pertain equally to so-called 'qualitative', 'quantitative' and 'mixed methods' studies.
Every research question can be elaborated in different ways (ie. with different designs), none of which will be ideal in all respects as the various choices involve trade-offs. Each design has its own implications in terms of costs and benefits, and in terms of potential threats to the validity of eventual conclusions. The module discusses these implications and how to handle the resulting choice problems in actual practice.
The practical organisation of research is closely related to design choices, but focuses particularly on logistical and timing issues. Ethical organisation of the research involves awareness of ethical issues, of ethical consent procedures and of their implications for research design and practical organisation.
Research Management and Personal Development Skills
This module covers general research, communication and personal development skills.
Students are required to take the following courses from the Graduate School Research Training Programme and additional courses to a maximum of 15 'training credits':
- Building a Bibliography (1 training credit)
- Presentation Skills for Postgraduates in Humanities (3 training credits)
- Planning Research and Time Management (1 training credit)
- Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright and Working with External Organisations (1 training credit)
- Getting more from Microsoft Office Applications (2 training credits)
- Using Word for Long Documents (2 training credits)
In addition, students are required to complete a 'Research Training Portfolio' which includes:
- appraisal of their current skills and planning for their development
- evidence of their activities undertaken during the year that develop their skills
- reflection on how their knowledge and skills might be used in different contexts
'Portfolio workshops' are offered to support students' work on completing the portfolio.
This module aims to:
- enable students to develop a range of generic and transferable skills
Research Methods in Law
This course is an introduction to diverse research methods in law. It will include sessions on computer-assisted legal research, cross-disciplinary research and empirical research.
This module aims to:
- give students the skills to consider the diverse range of legal scholarships and research methods and techniques that can be employed to investigate legal questions
- enhance students' legal research skills
- Any of the LLM modules
- Any Doctoral Training Centre modules
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.