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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (PGSP11016)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionData Collection is concerned with the techniques and practices of doing empirical research. This course teaches professional competence in gathering information by talking to people, collecting documents, conducting surveys and observing social interaction. We cover a range of associated issues, including identifying and using different sources; recruiting and negotiating access to research respondents; formulating questions and managing interviews and focus groups; sampling populations and designing surveys; recording observations; research ethics.

PLEASE NOTE that the course provides a basic introduction to key methods of data collection in social and political research. It is a core course for all students taking MSc by Research, MSc Social Research or PhD programmes in SSPS. Students who have taken research methods courses at undergraduate level or on other postgraduate programmes are likely to be exempt from this course, and are recommended to choose more advanced options. Exemptions are made at the discretion of a student's supervisor and/or programme director.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  173
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes "Assessment includes practical work
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Please contact the School directly for a breakdown of Assessment Methods
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students who complete this course successfully will be able to:

- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principal methods of data collection used by social scientists;
- plan and use one or more of these methods in developing an empirical research project;
- critically reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of different methods in different circumstances;
- discuss the essential problems and methods of data collection with peers and others, both orally and in writing;
- display appropriate levels of responsibility in working alone and in collaboration with others, notably in the application of ethical and other professional guidelines.
Assessment Information
Data Collection is assessed by a course paper of 4 000 words which also requires students to carry out a short practical exercise. This is an integral part of the course, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate and reflect on all their learning in lectures and workshops and through independent study.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Introduction; Documents; Visual data; Interviewing; Focus groups; Ethnographic methods; Survey and questionnaire design; Research ethics
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Becker, H.S. (1998). Tricks of the Trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it, Chicago University Press
Jane Ritchie and Jane Lewis (eds) (2003) Qualitative Research Practice: A guide for social science students and researchers, Sage
Alan Bryman (2008) Social Research Methods, third edition, Oxford University Press

Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Richard Freeman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4680
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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