Module Catalogue 2023/24

SOC2069 : Researching Social Life I

SOC2069 : Researching Social Life I

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Moreh
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



Sociology is based on systematic knowledge about the social world that we inhabit. ‘Researching Social Life I’ introduces the range of ways that sociologists do research by collecting empirical information so that they can develop their sociological ideas. Its core theme is the importance of evidence: the way we collect and analyse information has a huge effect on our research findings. Data analysis is a practical activity, and therefore the module is distinctive in involving a series of hands-on computer labs, as well as being focused on practical assignments. It is in these applied sessions that you will convert the principles explained in the lectures into skills, so that you too can carry out research.

SOC2069 ‘Researching Social Life I’ and its sister module SOC2070 ‘Researching Social Life II’ together will equip students with the methodological and data analysis skills required to plan and complete an independent research project, such as that required for the Final Year Dissertation.

The modules make three main contributions to the degree program:

1.       They lay a foundation of knowledge and critical awareness about how research gets done, which helps to appreciate and make sense of the other sociological sources used in the rest of the degree’s modules.

2.       They enable the best choice of research methods to be made for doing your research for the Final Year Dissertation in Sociology and Politics & Sociology.

3.       Finally, they offer the opportunity to acquire transferable skills for later employment in a range of professions. These include interviewing, analysing social behaviour, using computers to process quantitative information, where to locate data on public issues and how to apply them, and how to make sense of social surveys.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures introduce core research methods and concepts (such as sampling, social measurement, statistical modelling).

Computer labs will train students in carrying out practical data analysis tasks using a statistical software package (such as R, BlueSky, JASP, SPSS, Stata etc.). Through the use of high-quality secondary data sets, students will also gain familiarity with the most important sources of secondary sociological data.

These skills will be presented in the context of the research process, as exemplified by selected sociological studies.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should have achieved three core knowledge outcomes. They should possess and can demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the discipline’s main empirical and methodological approaches. They should be able to explain the foundations and building blocks of sociological research and how these relate to social knowledge. Finally, they should be in a position to give an informed account how research skills are deployed in the analysis of social interactions, social problems, and social institutions.
These outcomes develop the introductory concepts covered in the Stage One modules, particularly the knowledge gained in SOC1031. They prepare students for the skills and knowledge needed to undertake SOC2070 in the following semester and the fieldwork element of the Stage Three Dissertation in sociology. They will be capable of conducting small-scale social studies, and deriving evidence and using it to construct rational arguments about social processes and outcomes.

Intended Skill Outcomes

In addition to contributing to the general skills developed in a social science degree (time management, inter-personal communication, working in teams, written and oral communication, independence, critical thinking, etc.) at the end of SOC2069 students should have gained practical skills in applied sociological data analysis.

Students will become familiar with the fundamentals of sociological data analysis and the use of data analysis software.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials60:202:00Pre-recorded video content explaining core concepts and demonstrating data analysis procedures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:3015:00PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion166:0066:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical101:3015:00PiP computer labs
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading118:0088:00Reading and data analysis
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading26:0012:00Online data management and software workshops (freely accessible self-paced external training courses)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Online synchronous assignment-related Q&A sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

- The lectures provide the main framework and content with respect to the foundations and building blocks of sociological research and how these relate to social knowledge.

- The computer labs allow students to practise the discipline’s main empirical and methodological approaches, in order to achieve the learning outcomes through discussion, practical exercises and formative assessment.

- A total of around 2 hours of shorter pre-recorded video content help explain core concepts and demonstrate data analysis procedures

- The drop-in Q&A sessions allow students to clarify the assessment requirements

- Online data management and software workshops allow student to further enhance their knowledge and skills by completing online tutorials provided freely by external providers

- Assigned textbook and research readings help students to gain a deeper understanding of the methods covered and provide real-life examples of their application in recent published research

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M50Data analysis report, 2,000 words
Report1M50Data analysis report, 2,000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Lab exercise1MOral commentary on practice exercises during computer labs
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The importance of sociological skills and practice is recognised by assessing students’ capacities to put their newly acquired skills into action by performing set tasks. The topics for all the assessments are introduced and demonstrated in lectures, then practiced in computer labs and seminars, before students do an individual piece of assessment inter alia to discover how far they have achieved the learning outcomes and the relevant items in the graduate skills framework. Although the assessment focuses on skills outcomes, these skills cannot be deployed on the tasks without students also having achieved the knowledge outcomes.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.