Sociological Research Design

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 26 March 2021
29 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA NP5312 Advertising, Marketing and the Media,
MA NP53MO Advertising, Marketing and the Media,
MA M90012 Criminology,
MSC L30812 Criminology and Socio-Legal Research,
MA MF9112 Organised Crime, Terrorism and Security,
MSC MF9012 Organised Crime, Terrorism and Security,
MA L30112 Sociological Research Methods,
MA L30012 Sociology,
MA L31112 Migration Studies,
MSC L31124 Migration Studies,
MA L31812 Sociology and Criminology,
MPHDML9048 Criminology,
PHD ML9048 Criminology

Module description

This is a foundation module on sociological research for postgraduate students. It introduces the relationship between contemporary theory and empirical inquiry, and emphasises the entire research process from identifying research questions to writing up research findings.

It examines some key assumptions and ideological underpinnings of social research, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches and their uses in a variety of design contexts. It is intended to provide students with a critical understanding of the process and complexity of doing research, and facilitate the design of their own social research.

Students will attend the module sessions having read the key readings, which will form the basis of the discussion in the seminars.

The assessment for this module has two components: one critical review and one research proposal. See the end of the document for more details.

Module aims

The module aims to explore different theoretical and methodological approaches in social research

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, it will:

1. Provide students with an understanding of the complexities of designing a coherent social research project;

B. Equip students with the skill to critically review the methodological strategies used by other social researchers;

C. Equip students with the ability to formulate researchable questions and design a feasible and appropriate research strategy.

Module information

Please note that assessment information is currently showing for 2019-20 and will be updated in September.

Seminars list

Autumn Term

Seminar 1 - week 2 Introduction: Approaching Sociological Enquiry

Seminar 2 - week 3 Ways of Knowing: Ontology and Epistemology

Seminar 3 - week 4 Research Questions, Concepts and Theory

Seminar 4 - week 5 Methodology and Methods

Seminar 5 - week 6 Sampling

Seminar 6 - week 7 Research Ethics I

Seminar 7 - week 8 Research Ethics II

Seminar 8 - week 9 Creative Methods

Seminar 9 - week 16 Writing a Research Proposal

Seminar 10 - week 17 Back to SQ1: Developing your Research Question

Key readings
You will be assigned one or two key readings each week– these will be available electronically via Moodle and/or Talis. Moodle and Talis are online portals you will soon become familiar with. I will send copies of the key readings via email in advance of the first seminar. This is to ensure that everyone has access to the readings in case they are unable or struggle to gain access to Moodle and Talis.

You will also have a hardcopy option, what we call a 'reader': a printed collection of all the course's key readings which you will be able to purchase online and collect from the Sociology General Office.

Learning and teaching methods

No information available.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Content review   10/11/2020  10% 
Coursework   Critical Review  25/11/2020  40% 
Coursework   Research proposal  16/03/2021  50% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Isabel Crowhurst, email:
Isabel Crowhurst



External examiner

Prof Paul Stretesky
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Professor of Criminology
Prof Benjamin Bradford
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 1879 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
1879 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

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