Researching Social Life

PLEASE NOTE: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
14 September 2023


Requisites for this module


SC203, SC208

Key module for

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),
BA L332 Sociology with Counselling Skills

Module description

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? This module will help you to answer these key questions. The module provides introductory training in research design and the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. The Autumn term will focus on qualitative research, whilst the Spring term focuses on quantitative research.

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 practical labs will gain expertise in referencing, using archives and preparing professional reports reliant on social data.

Module aims

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 highlight the importance of research ethics in social research

To teach students how they can find existing qualitative and quantitative datasets and archives

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:

recognise the key stages of a social research project

apply ethical principles to social research

find relevant secondary sociological data sources

identify the key features of qualitative and quantitative data

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

recognise how different types of research data can be collected, analysed and presented

critically assess the connections between theory and research

Module information

Week Number Topic
2 Introduction to the social research process
3 Introduction to qualitative research
4 Conducting a literature search and recognising credible sources
5 Ethics and social research
6 Digital Research Ethics
7 Qualitative methods: Primary research
8 Qualitative methods: Secondary research
9 Qualitative archives
10 Exploring the archives
11 Writing Up Your Research

16 Fundamentals of Quantitative Data Analysis: Research Questions
17 Survey Research Designs
18 Questionnaire Design
19 Sampling and Inference
20 Reading Week
21 Describing and Summarizing Quantitative Data
22 The UK Data Service and Looking for Data
23 Experimental Research
24 Causal-Comparative and Quasi-Experimental Research
25 Literature Reviews and Basic Elements of Quantitative Research Reports

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching approach Lectures, classes, labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming current regulations around social distancing allow this). Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules). Please do spend some time familiarising yourself with the Moodle page as there are lots of activities and resources available here to support your learning on this module.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

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 Zsofia Boda, email:
Dr Xintong Jia, email:
Prof Renee Luthra, email:
Professor Renee Luthra, Dr Zsofia Boda & Xintong Jia
email: socugrad (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 331 hours, 268 (81%) hours available to students:
59 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
4 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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