SOC07007 2017 Understanding Sociological Research

General Details

Full Title
Understanding Sociological Research
Transcript Title
Understanding Sociological Research
N/A %
Subject Area
SOC - Sociology
SOCS - Social Sciences
07 - NFQ Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Maire Hanniffy
Programme Membership
SG_HJOIN_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics

This module introduces students to the nature of sociological research. Students will begin their studies with an in-depth review of the history of social research, enabling students to critically examine the construction of sociological theories and knowledge. Through the discussion of social research concepts and approaches, this module will provide students with an understanding of the range and purpose of sociological research that is carried out. Social scientific knowledge in Ireland, in particular, will be explored. Students will examine rationales for conducting social research and the role of social research in society taking into consideration the wider issues that impinge on this. This will also explore the linkages with policy and practice, and consider the concept of the 'hierarchy of evidence'. This module lays the foundation for students to progress on to study social research methods and to develop a research project

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Describe the history and development of social research


Discuss the approaches of qualitative research, quantitative research and mixed methods research


Establish the relationship between research, and policy and practice


Illustrate the role of social research in Ireland


Design a literature review of relevant social scientific literature

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Through the use of seminars and class discussions, students will engage with the content of this module.

Module Assessment Strategies

The module has two assessed components:

  1. Essay (60%) LO 1,2,3,4

  2. Literature Review (40%) LO 5


Repeat Assessments

Students will be expected to repeat the essay/literature review

Indicative Syllabus

History and Development of Social Research

  • Students will explore the history of sociological research. This involves the examination of the move from commentary on sociological issues to the development of social research methods which arose from the concern with social measurement and the move towards scientific knowledge.

Research Approaches

  • Students will explore the main tenets of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. Within this, students will identify the role of theory in research, the type of research and research design most suitable for research topics, and come to understand the research cycle.

Relationship between Research, Policy and Practice

  • Students will explore how research findings can be translated into policy and practice. Students will interrogate the development of evidence-based policy and practice that arises from research. The ethics and limitations of this approach will also be investigated.

Role of Social Research in Ireland

  • Students will explore the work of 'think tanks'; government research agencies and funders in Ireland (eg Health Research Board, ESRI, TASC, Atlantic Philanthropies).

Literature Review

  • Students will explore strategies to acquire and critically analyse relevant literature, and structure and produce a literature review.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Essay Continuous Assessment Assessment 60 % Any 1,2,3,4
2 Literature Review Continuous Assessment Assessment 40 % Any 5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Seminar Lecture Theatre Seminar 2 Weekly 2.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom Tutorial 1 Weekly 1.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Alasuutari, P., Bickman, L. & Brannen, J. (ed.) (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Social Research Methods. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Bulmer, M. (ed.) (1999). Sociological Research Methods An Introduction. London: Macmillan

Bryman, A. (2016) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crothers, C. (ed.) (2010). Historical Developments and Theoretical Approaches in Sociology - Volume 1. UK: Eolss Publications/UNESCO.

Denzin, N. (2006) Sociological Methods A Sourcebook. New Jersey: Aldine Transaction.

Hammersley, M. (2002). Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice. London: Sage Publications.

Hart, C. (2014). Doing a Literature Review Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Neale, J. (ed.) (2009). Research Methods for Health and Social Care. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Platt, J. (1996). A History of Sociological Research Methods in America 1920-1960.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sarantakos, S. (2012) Social Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seale, C. (2012). Researching Society and Culture. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Additional Information