Researching Social Life I

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
12 June 2019


Requisites for this module


SC203, SC204, SC205, SC208, SC213, SC224, SC233, SC277, SC291

Key module for

BA M900 Criminology,
BA M901 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA M903 Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA M904 Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA L3C8 Criminology with Social Psychology,
BA L3H8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA LHC8 Criminology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA MV91 History and Criminology,
BA MV92 History and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA MV98 History and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA MV9C History and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV31 History and Sociology,
BA LV32 History and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV38 History and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV3C History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L390 English Language and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LQ31 English Language and Sociology,
BA LP33 Communications and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Placement Year),
BA P300 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Year Abroad),
BA CL83 Sociology with Social Psychology,
BA CL93 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA CLV3 Sociology with Social Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L300 Sociology,
BA L301 Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA L304 Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA L306 Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM38 Sociology and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA LM39 Sociology and Criminology,
BA LMH9 Sociology and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LMHX Sociology and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LL23 Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL24 Sociology and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LL32 Sociology and Politics,
BA L3J9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L3M9 Sociology with Human Rights,
BA LMJ9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LCJ8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA LJ8C Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA LJC8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies,
BA P550 Journalism and Criminology,
BA P551 Journalism and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA P552 Journalism and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L315 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research),
BSC L316 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L317 Sociology (Applied Quantitative Research) (Including Placement Year),
BA L333 Criminology with Counselling Skills,
BA L334 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L335 Criminology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BA LM11 Criminology with Criminal Law,
BA LM12 Criminology with Criminal Law (Including Year Abroad),
BA LM13 Criminology with Criminal Law (Including Placement Year),
BA L330 Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year),
BA L331 Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Year Abroad),
BA L332 Sociology with Counselling Skills,
BSC L310 Sociology with Data Science,
BSC L311 Sociology with Data Science (including Year Abroad),
BSC L312 Sociology with Data Science (including Placement Year),
BSC L313 Sociology with Data Science (including foundation Year)

Module description

The module provides introductory training in research design and the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. Upon completion of the module students will be able to approach their studies and the materials they use with a more developed 'critical eye' and some practical skills. Students will be introduced to the nuts and bolts of social investigation, and through practicals will gain expertise in referencing and preparing professional reports reliant on social data.

Module aims

How do sociologists investigate the social world? What tools and methods do they employ to ensure their research claims are relevant? How can you interpret their findings? On completing this module, you will be able to answer these key questions. You will develop your research skills so that you will understand how sociologists move from an initial research idea through to collection, analysis and presentation of data.

The module aims to:

To introduce students to the social research process

To give students the tools to evaluate the strengths and limitations of different approaches to sociological research

To teach students the key features of qualitative and quantitative data, including how these are collected, analysed and presented.

To provide practical hands-on sessions that will help students to develop their research, study and employability skills

To develop students’ communication and critical appraisal skills

Module learning outcomes

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

formulate a research question

plan a social science research project

undertake basic analysis of qualitative and quantitative data

evaluate the strengths and limitations of different methodological tools for sociological research

recognise how different types of research data should be presented

critically assess the connections between theory and research

engage constructively and reflexively in debate with their peers

Module information

The teaching team has weekly office hours in which they guarantee to be sitting in their room waiting to deal with any inquiries you may bring. Please use this service, especially if there is anything in the module that you are unclear about.

Learning and teaching methods

The module is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical's through both Autumn and Spring terms. The Autumn term introduces the fundamentals of research design and qualitative research. The Spring term discusses quantitative research methods and how they relate to the fundamentals of the social enquiry.


  • (2014) 'Has multiculturalism failed in Britain?', in Ethnic and Racial Studies: Taylor & Francis. vol. 37 (1) , pp.161-180
  • Gillespie, Marie; Ampofo, Lawrence; Cheesman, Margaret; Faith, Becky; Iliadou, Evgenia; Issa, Ali; Osseiran, Souad; Skleparis, Dimitris. (2016) Mapping Refugee Media Journeys: Smartphones and Social Media Networks: Research Report: The Open University / France Médias Monde.
  • Sell, Anna; Mezei, József; Walden, Pirkko. (2014) 'An attitude-based latent class segmentation analysis of mobile phone users', in Telematics and Informatics. vol. 31 (2) , pp.209-219
  • Laurie, Charles. (2016) 'How to find a representative sample', in Doing real research: a practical guide to social research, London: SAGE., pp.87-111
  • (2016) 'Conceptualising social life', in Researching Social Life, London: SAGE.
  • (2014) Demonstration Qualitative Interview - how it should be done.
  • Babbie, Earl R. (2016) The practice of social research, Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  • (no date) How do focus groups work? - Hector Lanz - YouTube.
  • (2014) 01 Sampling What is Sampling.
  • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. (2013) Outsourced Self: Picador USA.
  • Kumar, Ranjit. (2014) Research methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners, London: SAGE.
  • Foster, Liam. (2014) Beginning Statistics: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Lancee, Bram. (2019-06-24) 'Ethnic discrimination in hiring: comparing groups across contexts. Results from a cross-national field experiment', in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies., pp.1-20
  • Arthur, Charles. (June 30, 2014) 'Facebook emotion study breached ethical guidelines, researchers say', in The Guardian.
  • Fink, Arlene; SMRO. (2002) How to ask survey questions, London: SAGE. vol. 2
  • Kumar, Ranjit. (2019) Research methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners, Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Lofland, John. (2006) Data Logging in Observation; Fieldnotes, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth., pp.108-117
  • Flick, Uwe. (2015) 'Designing Social Research', in Introducing research methodology: a beginner's guide to doing a research project, London: SAGE., pp.89-107
  • (2014) Demo qualitative interview with mistakes.
  • Thomas, Gary. (2017) How to do your research project: a guide for students in education and applied social sciences, London: SAGE Publications.
  • Goffman, Alice. (2014) On the Run: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Flick, Uwe. (2014) An introduction to qualitative research, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • O'Leary, Zina. (2017) 'Reviewing Literature', in The essential guide to doing your research project, ©2017: SAGE Publications., pp.94-113
  • de Vries, Robert. (2018) 'What does it mean to be average?', in Critical Statistics: Macmillan Education UK., pp.91-110
  • Fink, Arlene. (2003) 'What is a Survey? When do you use one?', in The survey handbook, London: SAGE. vol. 1, pp.1-29
  • (no date) Focus Groups with Mad Men - YouTube.
  • Howells, Stephanie. (2016) 'How to do focus groups: Making the most of group processes', in The how to of qualitative research, London: SAGE., pp.117-138
  • Clarke, Victoria. (2013) 'Interactive data collection 1: interviews', in Successful qualitative research: a practical guide for beginners, London: SAGE., pp.77-106
  • Zheng, Tiantian. (2009) Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Becker, Howard S. (1967) 'Whose Side Are We On?', in Social Problems. vol. 14 (3) , pp.239-247
  • Bryman, Alan. (2016) Social research methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Pager, Devah; Karafin, Diana. (2009) 'Bayesian Bigot? Statistical Discrimination, Stereotypes, and Employer Decision Making', in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. vol. 621 (1) , pp.70-93
  • Reichel, David; Morales, Laura. (2017) 'Surveying immigrants without sampling frames – evaluating the success of alternative field methods', in Comparative Migration Studies. vol. 5 (1)
  • Flick, Uwe. (2018) An introduction to qualitative research, Los Angeles: SAGE.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Online quiz (week 5)    5.00% 
Coursework   Online Quiz (week 11)    5.00% 
Coursework   Online Quiz (week 20)    5.00% 
Coursework   Online Quiz (week 25)    5.00% 
Coursework   In-lecture summer quiz (week 32)    15.00% 
Coursework   Observation exercise   28/11/2019  10.00% 
Coursework   Autumn Term Essay  12/12/2019  20.00% 
Coursework   Research proposal   05/03/2020  25.00% 
Practical   In-class Presentation     10.00% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Neli Demireva, email:
Dr Neli Demireva
Cydney Barrows, Student Administrative Assistant, email: socugrad (Non essex users should add to create the full email address), telephone: 01206 873052



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 356 hours, 295 (82.9%) hours available to students:
61 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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