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XX50134: Quantitative methods 1: introduction to quantitative methods

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (units for MRes programmes)
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Exam (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The unit aims to provide a thorough understanding of basic quantitative research methods and training in statistical analysis both in the classroom and in the lab, applying SPSS. By the end of the unit, students will be equipped with appropriate research design and statistical analysis skills to contribute to research projects.

Learning Outcomes:
* Thorough understanding of core quantitative methods used, focusing on large-scale surveys, secondary analysis of data and experimental design;
* Ability to identify, contrast and compare different levels of data;
* Critical understanding of differences between descriptive and inferential statistics;
* Thorough understanding of sampling error and the assumptions that underlie different statistical techniques.

* Understand the relationships between, and the rationale for, qualitative and quantitative research methods
* Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of different quantitative methods
* Appreciate cross-cultural issues in quantitative research
* Be able to define a researchable problem and formulate research questions and hypotheses
* Learn to read critically published quantitative research and be able to debate the appropriateness of different fieldwork methods
* Understand the role of sampling and the concepts of generalisability, validity and reliability
* Be able to carry out simple descriptive analysis including measures of central tendency and variability
* Describe the stages of hypothesis testing
* Select an appropriate statistical test
* Interpret cross-tabulations and correlations
* Interpret the results from chi-square tests
* Interpret the results from bivariate linear regression
* Be able to generate basic descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS
Professional practice skills
* Understand ethical issues in relation to quantitative research
* Acquire computing skills.

Content: The unit will take a critical look at quantitative methods in general including survey methods, experimental design and official statistics. The potential links between quantitative and qualitative methods will be explored. It will discuss issues of generalisability, sampling, fieldwork methods, data collection, validity and reliability. Students will also gain a grounding in descriptive and inferential statistics and they will also be introduced to SPSS for Windows.

Programme availability:

XX50134 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Education Department for Health Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • THXX-AFM50 : MRes Politics & International Studies
  • THXX-AFM51 : MRes Politics & International Studies (Leading to PhD)
Department of Psychology Department of Social & Policy Sciences

XX50134 is Optional (DEU) on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

XX50134 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.