Research Methods Course Draft #1

Welcome to this draft course. I shall be constantly adding things,but I wanted to upload it in this unfinished form so you could see what the final version might look like. At the moment, the course focuses on Sociological methods, but other routes could easily be added as well:

Anthropological Methods
Evaluative Methods
Feminist Methods
Historical methods
Psychological Methods

What you do is to choose the options that follow various paths to online sources. You will see that each page offers choices. The final version will have guidance in the Introduction to each section, but the idea is that students can also choose routes for themselves, according to need. For example, students at Level 1 might well wish to press on and engage with material at other levels. In general, the structuring principles follow the old idea of the 'spiral curriculum':

Level 1 students need to see what sociological research actually looks like, and what methods are typically used. They will want to compare this form of understanding with their own 'common sense' and begin to see why sociological methods claim to be 'better', more rigorous, more 'scientific'  ways of finding out about the social world.

Level 2 students will be able to make more progress in critically understanding how sociological methods work. They will identify pros and cons in different approaches and begin to compare approaches in different traditions.

Level 3 students will be looking for examples and principles to guide their own research, say in the form of dissertations.

Level 4 students will be able to deal with the philosophical issues raised by sociological research. Many of these will have emerged in earlier stages -- such as whether we can be objective about human behaviour, how subjective meanings should be studied, how the values of the researcher can be seen to have had an influence and so on. At this level, students can examine the arguments in the most general and abstract ways.

You will find these levels indicated in the different paths. Final versions might well colour-code them, but for now, there are verbal clues in the descriptions.

To get you thinking, I have designed some basic starter exercises which you can find here. Otherwise, click here and begin...

NB We also have some methodological issues discussed in the form of multimedia files called reusable learning objects (RLOs). Some good ones developed by other places are listed in the files on offer here. Our own RLOs are available here