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SP10159: Becoming a social science researcher: Part 2

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, PF 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • CW 20% (CW 20% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • PF 80% (PF 80% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
SP10159 Reassessment only 20% (where allowed by programme regulations)
SP10159 Reassessment only 80% (where allowed by programme regulations)
* 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.

Programme 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)


  • 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.