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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Undergraduate Course: Sociology 2b: Researching Social Life (SCIL08013)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course we introduce the various ways that sociologists do the research that lies behind most sociological ideas. In other words, we look critically at the various ways sociological evidence can be produced. We do this in the context of in-depth study of some key areas of sociological interest such as health and illness, nationalism and national identities, and globalization. The course will deepen students' understanding of these topics while at the same time using them to exemplify how sociologists do research and the key concepts and debates that relate to this research process. As well as helping students to prepare for doing their own research at Honours level, the course will also help them evaluate evidence they encounter in non-academic sources such as politics and the media.
The course builds on some of what has been covered in Sociology 1a, 1b, and/or 2a and acts as a preparation for Sociology Honours, as well as helping students to prepare for doing their own research at Honours level. The course also aims to provide a practical and stimulating stand-alone course on research design in a global context for students not intending to pursue Honours Sociology.
Course description Learning objectives
By the end of the course students should:

Understand the purpose and value of sociological research for academic knowledge and public policies, and engage with key debates in sociological research about research design, methods and ethics;
Be able to identify a range of research approaches and methods that can be applied to an issue or problem, and their strengths and weaknesses;
Have learned how knowledge and debates about some key sociological topics in local, national and global contexts are informed by various forms of research;
Be able to find and evaluate research evidence in relation to specific topics or problems, and discuss and design solutions to research problems; and
Have gained practical experience of implementing some research methods and be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of how they and their peers carried them out.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Sociology 1A: The Sociological Imagination: Individuals and Society (SCIL08004) OR Sociology 1B: The Sociological Imagination: Private Troubles, Public Problems (SCIL08005)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment in this course is based on coursework, and does not include exams. All components of assessment are aimed at building up to a final research proposal on a global or transnational topic.
Two practical research exercises, each worth 20%
An outline of the research proposal, worth 15%
A research proposal, worth 40%
Incorporating feedback from the outline in the research proposal, worth 5%
Feedback Course assignments are designed to build knowledge a global or transnational topic of the student┐s choice over the course of the semester. The two practical research exercises give an opportunity to try out various research methods related to the overall topic the students have chosen. For both of these assignments, students receive feedback on their evolving research question that their final research proposal will address. The third assignment is an outline of the research proposal, giving students the opportunity to obtain extensive formative feedback that they can use in completing the research proposal assignment. In addition, students are asked to reflect on how they incorporated this feedback into their final assignment.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the key issues and debates concerning sociological research design, methods and ethics
  2. Know a range of research approaches and methods that can be applied to an issue or problem, and their strengths and weaknesses
  3. Have learned how knowledge and debates about key sociological topics are informed by research taking a variety of forms
  4. Be able to find and critically evaluate research evidence in relation to specific topics or problems
  5. Be able to discuss and design solutions to research problems
Reading List
Blaikie, Norman (2009) Designing Social Research, Polity
Bryman, Alan (2012) Social Research Methods (4e), OUP
Gilbert, Nigel (ed.) (2008) Researching Social Life, Sage
Grix, Jonathan (2010) The Foundations of Research, Palgrave
Moses, Jonathon & Torbjorn Knutsen (2012) Ways of Knowing, Palgrave
Robson, Colin (2011) Real World Research, Wiley
Seale, Clive (ed.) (2012) Researching Society and Culture (3e), Sage
Bechhofer, Frank and David McCrone (eds.) (2009) National Identity, Nationalism and Constitutional Change
Billig, Michael (1995) Banal Nationalism, Sage
Edensor, Tim (2002) National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life, Berg
Skey, Michael (2011) National Belonging and Everyday Life, Palgrave
Appadurai, Arjun (ed.) (2001) Globalization, Duke UP
Perrons, Diane (2004) Globalisation and Social Change, Routledge
Ray, Larry (2007) Globalization and Everyday Life, Routledge
Sassen, Saskia (2007) A Sociology of Globalization, Norton
Savage, Mike et al (2005) Globalization and Belonging, SAGE
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sophia Woodman
Tel: (0131 6)51 4745
Course secretaryMiss Laura Thiessen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
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