Practicing Research and Working with Data in the Digital Age SOCIO5102

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course "Practicing Research and Working with Data in the Digital Age" is designed to complement the "Digital Society- Theory and Substantive Issues" course (SOCIO5103) with a skills-oriented approach. Consequently, this is the course where students encounter online data and learn how to systematically work with it, but also how to make sense of it from the standpoint of a social scientist. During this course, students will learn about the specificities of digital methodologies, but also about the ways in which they complement traditional data collection and analysis in the social sciences. The course will cover both quantitative and qualitative approaches and it will investigate how digital data can contribute to our understanding of the virtual realm, but also how it can reflect broader social phenomena.


2 hrs/week (1 lecture+1 seminar).

No specific timetable coordination.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



Full-time students must simultaneously complete the "Digital Society- Theory and Substantive Issues" course (SOCIO5103), which is the other 1st semester core course in the Digital Sociology MSc.


This does not apply to part-time students who may choose 1 core course per semester. 


The sole assessment (100% of the total module mark) will be in the form of a 4000-word research proposal with an emphasis on working with data and the ethical considerations on practising research in the digital age. For this assignment, students will be able to choose from four-five key research areas and required to devise their own research questions and strategies to address the key emerging issues in the chosen research area. The proposal should include an outline of the research questions, strategy and design as well as detail of the research methods chosen. In the assignment students will be asked to critically reflect on their research strategy as well as to consider the ethical considerations, practicalities and limitations of their proposal.

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to the issue of how technological advancements can be used to innovate and refine existing methodological tools. At the same time, it provides students the opportunity to develop the hands-on skills necessary to work with various digital tools to collect and analyse empirical data. The course also teaches students how to manage the ethical aspects of doing research in the digital age and how to apply good practices of data management.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Demonstrate an extensive and detailed understanding of different approaches to applied social research and how digital tools can assist in answering research questions;


■ Apply a wide range of standard and specialised digital research instruments and techniques of enquiry and/or adjust features of given instruments to suit the research purpose.


■ Critically review, assess and consolidate applied skills in their own research practices as well as in digital sociology in general.


■ Deal with complex ethical and practical issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment.