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SP10159: Becoming a social science researcher: Part 2

[Page last updated: 11 August 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW20PF80
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
SP10159 Reassessment only 100% cw (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:

* To introduce students to the foundations of quantitative data analysis and research design with a focus on using descriptive statistics
* To introduce students to a wide range of official statistics, and the advantages and disadvantages of these as tools for social research
* To introduce students to skills in the analysis, interpretation and presentation of material from secondary sources.
* To prepare students to make use of such material in other courses, placements and in the final year dissertation.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this unit, students will be able to:
1. critically apply principles of quantitative data analysis to specified data sets
2. critically assess some of the main sources of official statistics nationally and globally
3. complete a report based on re-analysis of descriptive statistical data
4. identify a research aim
5. identify and use existing data sources appropriate to the aim of the research
6. present the research and its findings in the format of a group presentation
7. make an effective presentation of complex information using appropriate techniques
8. work individually and in a team.


* To develop research skills with particular reference to those skills relating to official statistics.
* To think creatively and analytically.
* To construct and communicate an argument.
* To evaluate others' arguments and research.
* To develop collaborative learning skills and team and groupworking skills
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding
* To develop and apply ICT skills
* To develop presentation skills and verbal communication skills
* Time-management and work planning skills
* Report writing skills.


* Basic Epistemological and Methodological premises of Social Enquiry
* Social Production of statistics, including basic critical understanding of presentation of quantitative information
* Basic principles of a Quantitative Research Design.
* Spreadhseets, Excel, introduction to and production of basic graphs
* Basic understanding of the logic of measurement and introduction to the 4 types of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval/ratio, dichotmous)
* Introduction to frequencies, basic measures of central tendency (Mean, Median and Mode), and graphical presentation of distribution/dispersion
* Analysing specific topics (e.g. population, unemployment, poverty, crime, age) through the practical use of sustainable technological tools for presentation and analysis.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP10159 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 1)

SP10159 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB22 : BSc(Hons) Criminology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB22 : BSc(Hons) Criminology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)