Health & Social Sector Leadership (Dumfries Campus) MA

Research Methods for Social Sciences DUMF2037

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides an in-depth examination of social science research processes and builds on students' knowledge of, and practice in, various research approaches, methods and skills. Topics covered will include defining a research question, research ethics, qualitative methods such as interviewing and participant observation, quantitative techniques in survey and questionnaire design, and methods of data analysis (both qualitative and quantitative). Through the flexible construction of the course, students will be able to see how different research methods may be relevant/applicable to their own work.


The course will be delivered in 2 x 2 hour sessions (lectures and practical sessions) over 10 weeks, plus a one-to-one supervision meeting in Week 7 (during which no lectures or practical sessions will be scheduled).

Excluded Courses







[Week 6] Short Answer & Multiple Choice Test (20% weighting)


[Week 11] 2,000 word research proposal (40% weighting)


Exam (40% weighting)

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The aims of this course are:


1. To build a set of common research skills to support qualitative and quantitative investigation and gain practice in their application;


2. To equip students with the key skills needed to critically evaluate the appropriateness of research methods, and introduce them to the research process;


3. To learn how to devise appropriate and relevant research questions within the context of an existing body of literature;


4. To engage critically with ethical issues during the process of research development, and to consider the realities of ethical practice in research.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Devise a research question informed by a process of background research and critical reading;

2. Locate, analyse and synthesise information from a variety of sources to inform a research proposal;

3. Critically evaluate the use of different research methods, considering the diverse values, principles and limitations that they represent across a range of social science disciplines;


4. Apply creative, imaginative and innovative thinking to solve practical problems in the selection and application of diverse research methods;


5. Consider and act upon the ethical, social and global responsibilities associated with research design;

6. Design appropriate questionnaires and topic guides;


7. Undertake a range of qualitative research methods with professionalism and sensitivity to context;

8. Work with a range of sampling techniques and generate descriptive statistics.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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