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SOCL919/FASS515: Research Projects in Practice

Module convenors: TBC

Module Aims

  • Gain experience in research design and practice in the wild;
  • Survey and reflect on traditional and contemporary methodological techniques;
  • Collaborate in a research team and coordinate an academic research proposal;
  • Establish method skills in rapport, surveying and interviewing by coordinating with communities inside and outside of the academic environment.

Course approach

The purpose of this module is to give you firsthand experience of organising and undertaking a group research project on a subject of your own choosing.  During the course of this concentrated exercise, you will work through processes of research design and strategy, developing research questions, planning and undertaking fieldwork and analysis, presentation and research evaluation.   You will work together (in groups of 4 or 5) to produce a high quality project report in the form of, for example, an article for publication, a web-site, a CD-Rom, or a report suitable for presentation to a funding body. You will also make an oral presentation of your study.  In addition, each student will keep a detailed, critical, and analytic research diary.

Topics Covered

  • Practice theory
  • Social science methodologies
  • Mobile publics
  • Qualitiative techniques
  • Space and place
  • Mapping and surveying
  • Mobile methods and design
  • Community


The module assessment is in two parts.  50% of the marks are awarded for the group research and the other 50% of the marks will be awarded to each individual. The proportion of each assessment element is:

  • 10% group mark - For the research proposal (1,500 words)
  • 40% group mark - for the final report and oral presentation (6-8,000 words)
  • 50% individual mark - for the research diary (4,000 words).

Indicative Reading

  • Mills, C. W. (1959), The Sociological Imagination, New York: Oxford University Press
  • Gilbert, N. (ed) (2001), Researching Social Life (second edition), London: Sage Knight, P. (2003), Small-Scale Research, London: Sage
  • Devine, F. and Heath, S. 1999, Sociological Research Methods in Context, Palgrave: Macmillan
  • Bryman, A. (2001), Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Büscher, M. Urry, J. and Witchger, K. (eds) (2010) Mobile Methods, London: Routledge

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