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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryStudents in this course learn how to design research in a global context. Lectures explore elements of research design through a variety of specific transnational topics, while tutorials support students in developing their own plans for a research proposal on a topic of their choosing.
Course description In this course we introduce the various ways that sociologists do their research, looking 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 in the context of globalization, including transnational migration, social inequalities, health and the university itself. The course aims to deepen students' understanding of these substantive fields, while at the same time using them as case studies on how research is carried out, as well as identifying key concepts and debates that relate to the research process. The course will also help students evaluate evidence they encounter in non-academic sources such as politics and the media.

By the end of this course, students write a research proposal on a global/transnational topic they have chosen that relates to the themes of the course. Three short research exercises build up to this final assignment, with students receiving feedback on a developing research question that they incorporate into their final work. Tutorials provide practical support for working towards the research proposal as well as trying out some research methods.

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.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  200
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
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. Assignments are:

Two research exercises:
- a research question and literature review in the form of an annotated bibliography, worth 20% (750-1000 words)
- One exercise designing either survey questions or an interview guide, with rationale as to the choice worth 30% (750-1000 words)

A research proposal, worth 45%, 2000 words (must be passed to pass the course) and incorporating assignment feedback into the final research proposal, worth 5%, 200-300 words.
Feedback Course assignments are designed to build knowledge of a global or transnational topic of the student's choice over the course of the semester. Three research exercises build towards a final research proposal. In response to these research exercises, students receive feedback on the evolving research question that their final research proposal will address. 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 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
  2. 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
  3. have learned how knowledge and debates about some key sociological topics in local, national and global contexts are informed by various forms of research
  4. be able to find and evaluate research evidence in relation to specific topics or problems, and discuss and design solutions to research problems
  5. 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.
Reading List
Holmes, Helen; Hall, Sarah Marie. (2020) Mundane methods: innovative ways to research the everyday. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Kara, Helen. (2015) Creative research methods in the social sciences: a practical guide. Bristol: Policy Press.
Lumsden, Karen. (2019) Reflexivity┬┐theory, method and practice. London: Routledge.
Lupton, D. (editor) (2021) Doing fieldwork in a pandemic (crowd-sourced document), revised version. Available at: DOING FIELDWORK IN A PANDEMIC
May, Tim (2011) Social Research: Issues, Method and Process, 4th edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Punch, Keith F. (2016) Developing Effective Research Proposals. London: Sage.
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. (2012) Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books.
Treiman, Donald J. 2009. Quantitative Data Analysis: Doing Social Research to Test Ideas. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
White, Patrick (2009) Developing Research Questions: a Guide for Social Scientists. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave McMillan.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Karen Gregory
Tel: (0131 6)51 1334
Course secretaryMr James Heitler
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