Core Module Information
Module title: Applied Social Research Methods

SCQF level: 07:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC07500
Module leader: Katrina Morrison
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science

Students will be recruited following an oral interview assessing RPL in line with the Quality Framework Section 7(18), and RPL processes already in existence in other parts of the University.

Description of module content:

You will will learn the principles and methods of social research methods in this course. There will be a strong focus on application, achieved primarily through the requirement to carry out a small-scale research project. The final summative assessment will be based around your reflections on your own research project through an oral presentation to their peers. The topics learned in this module include: research design, research ethics, the key methods of primary and secondary data collection and analysis, and evaluating and presenting findings.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Understand and explain the issues and complexities of ethical social research and the ethical responsibilities of the researcher.

LO2: Reflect on how to design, manage, and execute, a research proposal.

LO3: Communicate ideas through a verbal presentation supported by IT.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2020/1, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 002
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: HMP SHOTTS
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Katrina Morrison
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This course will take an inclusive approach to the learning and skills development of social research methods. The approach will be collaborative and you will be viewed as active participants in your own learning, with embedded opportunities for you to feedback, contribute to, and lead discussions, and ultimately to co-produce the learning on the module with staff.
Each seminar will be interactive, in which you will participate actively in learning exercises throughout. Each seminar will be two-hours long with a mid-way break. The first hour will provide an overview of the methods or topics of that session, including how they fit in with different research designs, epistemological positions, and their strengths and weaknesses. Active use of case studies drawing on key seminal research will be used to bring these topics to life. These will use video clips and / or audio-recordings as well as overheads, providing a variety of learning materials. In this session, regular check-ins will be used to ensure you are following the class through asking questions and asking for your own examples and thoughts. Dialogue between you and the lecturers will be encouraged throughout.
The second half of the seminar will be based around groupwork, discussion and learning exercises. In this hour, you will work in small groups (pairs, or groups of three/ four), and think about the applicability of these methods to the prison environment. This second hour will conclude with each group sharing their thoughts with the rest of the group and a whole-group discussion around shared themes, so that you can learn from each other as well as the module leader.
This approach will support the you to meet all the module LOs.

Formative Assessment:
Learning will be supported through formative tasks in class which will help students to develop skills and knowledge which directly align to assessment requirements. For example, learning will be gauged, and feedback provided, during class discussions, group-work exercises, mini-presentations to their peers etc.
The key formative assessment will be the requirement to submit a research ethics form in order to proceed with their summative assessment. Students will complete the ethics form which will then be submitted to the Scottish Prison Service Research Access and Ethics Committee (RAEC) for permission to carry out their own small-scale research project. Assessment of the RAEC form will assess: the viability of the project, discussion of ethical implications, and research design.
The ethics forms will be graded on a pass/ fail basis, and it will not count towards the final module mark from their summative assessment. If you fail to submit, or your submission does not pass ethical approval, alternative provisions will be made for you to complete a desk-based research project, not requiring ethical approval, and your final summative assessment will thus be a presentation on your reflections of this experience.

Summative Assessment:
You will present your reflections on a short piece of research you have undertaken over a one-week period. In most cases, this will be an empirical research project proceeded following successful approval from the Research Access and Ethics Committee. However, in the event that this approval was not secured, a desk-based research project will be completed instead. The assessment brief will ask you to reflect on your research experience of this project this process in a short presentation (15 mins) in front of your peers. You will not be assessed on how successful or not your research has been, but on your reflection of the experience and what you have learned from this.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Seminar 20
Independent Learning Guided independent study 180
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Oral Presentation 100 LOs 1, 2, 3 12 HOURS= 00.15
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader