Applied Social Sciences Core Modules 

Year 1

Social Research Practice

Although lectures and textbooks are useful for establishing knowledge, a thorough understanding of `social research methods’ requires critically informed experience of actually doing research as well as theoretical `know-how’. By providing you with the opportunity to develop direct experience of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, this module will provide you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and experience of: searching for literature relevant to research; the practice of questionnaire design; the utilisation and analysis of secondary survey data; ethnographic data collection; the design and delivery of interviews; and the process of qualitative analysis.

Foundations of Social Science

Whilst the subject matter of the social sciences is often diffuse, the assumptions and arguments that underpin all social science research should not be taken for granted. In attempting to encourage you to recognise the significance of these debates in a variety of applied contexts, this module aims to introduce you to the central debates in the broad field of `the philosophy of social science’. More specifically, the module aims to facilitate a critical and reflective awareness of the foundational ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions inherent within all areas of the social sciences and demonstrate how these issues are realised within the process of conducting social research.

Researching with Communities This module is concerned with the development of practical skills which will enable implementation of research action within the your own community setting. It will consolidate understanding of community-based enquiry based on action research principles and encourage students to critically reflect on aspects of your own research practice. The module requires you to select an issue in your community setting to research and to plan, implement and evaluate improvements through an action research approach.
Introduction to Social Research You will be introduced to theoretical, methodological and practical issues in conducting empirical social research and become equipped with some of the basic skills necessary to undertake qualitative and quantitative projects, from project planning through to writing up research findings. You will also be given the opportunity to explore different areas of social research in small groups through class presentations and debates.

Year 2

Doing Quantitative Research This dynamic inquiry-based course will provide you with practical experience of conducting quantitative social research that has real-life application to the social world. Using the latest UK datasets provided by the Office for National Statistics, as well as data that you will collect on the ‘streets of Sheffield’, the module will develop your experience of the realities of planning and conducting quantitative research, and allow you to develop your ability to communicate your findings in appropriate formats.
Doing Qualitative Research

Qualitative research remains a key method of data collection and analysis in the social sciences and the skills and techniques that researchers use to generate qualitative data have numerous other applications in the work-place and beyond. In this inquiry-based module you will continue to develop your ability to collect, analyse, and present qualitative data by working on problem-focussed research project. Building on your experience of social research practice you will have developed at level one, by the end of this module, you will have completed a team-based qualitative project from beginning to end and used the data to produce an internet-ready ‘research newsletter’ ‘Google Site’. More importantly, you will also demonstrate the ability to critically reflect on the process of doing qualitative research.

Placement Module

Should students wish to take a placement as part of their degree at the SMI they will be required to take modules in employability.  These are offered within the SMI as  SMI204 - Placement Module which is an approved unit within the University of Sheffield module catalogue.

Year 3

Collaboration and Dissemination in the Social Sciences This module is focused on you preparing and presenting a body of work in various forms, and to various audiences. The aim of the unit is to develop your ability to disseminate the findings of their Year 3 dissertation/independent project to both specialist and non-specialist audiences, and in a variety of written and verbal forms. This will culminate in a conference towards the end of the year.
Doing Mixed Methods Research

Research in the social sciences is increasingly using mixed methods to explore the social world. This module covers the principles and practices of conducting mixed methods research (MMR), through an enquiry-based learning approach. By designing and completing your own projects, you will learn how to apply mixed methods and appreciate the value of bringing together both qualitative and quantitative approaches in conducting research. You will develop their ability to collect, analyse, and present MMR data, alongside critically reflecting process of using MMR.

Subject-specific dissertation/project module

You will take a dissertation or project with the major subject route that you choose.