Postgraduate Course: Research Design (PGSP11208)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course provides an introduction to the main issues involved in designing social science research, and is intended for students from a wide range of social science disciplines. Research design calls for decisions about how the research should be carried out, about what kind of data should be collected and analysed, and about how inferences should be drawn if the aims of the research are to be realised. The researcher has to be able to demonstrate that conclusions drawn from the research are robust and well-grounded epistemologically and theoretically. The course does not provide training in research methods, or an exhaustive checklist of points that need to be considered when designing a research project. It concentrates instead on the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of research design as they relate to the aims, objectives and theoretical underpinnings of any piece of research.
Identifying research topics and questions; the role of theory; contrasting and combining methodological approaches; replication and secondary analysis; comparisons and case studies; issues of time; multi-level research designs; values and positions in research; knowledge exchange and the uses of research; ethics and good research practice.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||The course is assessed by one 3000-4000 word course paper detailing and defending all or part of the research design the student intends to use in their own research project.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a sound understanding of the basic principles of research design
- Evaluate the robustness of research projects that use a range of approaches and methods
- Create a robust design for their own
- Defend the choices they have made in designing their research project to general social science audiences
|Bechhofer, F. and Paterson, L. (2000) Principles of Research Design in the Social Sciences, London: Routledge|
Blaikie, N. (2009) Designing Social Research, Cambridge: Polity
Hakim, C. (2000) Research Design: Successful Designs for Social and Economic Research, London: Routledge
Hancké, B. (2009) Intelligent Research Design. A guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Moses, J. and Knutsen, T. (2007) Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||The class comprises 10 x 1 hour whole-class presentations by the course teachers, weekly 1 hour discussion group sessions in smaller multi-disciplinary groups facilitated by advanced doctoral students or those who have recently completed their dissertations, and in which students are required to relate the concerns of the course to their proposed research.
|Course organiser||Dr Rebecca Hewer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3502
|Course secretary||Mr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485