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SOC2069 : Researching Social Life

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Moreh
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Miranda Iossifidis
  • 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


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 collection, creation and analysis is a practical activity, and therefore the module is distinctive in involving a series of hands-on workshops, 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 software to process quantitative information, where to locate data on public issues and how to apply them.

Outline Of Syllabus

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

Workshops allow students to gain first-hand experience with applying research methods. Students will practice carrying out data analysis tasks using a statistical software package (such as R, BlueSky, JASP, SPSS, Stata etc.), collecting and analysing primary and secondary qualitative data, and learn about designing an empirical research project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00PiP lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00PiP lecture (Introduction)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion230:0060:00Assignment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading105:0050:00Assigned readings, worksheet exercises, out-of-class data collection and preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops102:0020:00Applied methodological training
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Assignment-related Q&A sessions (either PiP or synchronous online)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study156:0056:00N/A
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 workshops 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.

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

- 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

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
Prob solv exercises1MOral commentary on methodological exercises during workshops
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 workshops, 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.

Reading Lists