L3K807 Social Research Methods (Social Work) MA Postgraduate Taught 2019
This course provides an introduction to the principles and values of social work and an understanding of the organisation and delivery of social welfare and related services in the UK. It also provides you with a grounding in the social research methods necessary to conduct applied types of research that are a fundamental part of social work practice and evaluation.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting from the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which enables you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation. Part-time candidates take an equal balance of credits in each year.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
- Introduction to social scientific research
- Establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences
- Essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.
Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
- Spreadsheets and data analysis
- Populations, sample data and sampling distributions
- Point estimates and confidence intervals
- Significance tests, cress-tabulations, and Chi-Square tests
- Correlation and linear regression.
Research Design and Process (15 credits)
- Formulating research questions
- Evaluating and developing a research proposal
- Reviewing relevant literature
- Experimental vs. observational studies
- Sampling and selecting respondents
Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
- Introduction to theory and research practice in qualitative methods
- Ethnography and grounded theory
- Group discussions
- Data analysis and management processes.
Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
- Sampling and sample design, questionnaire design
- Numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis in practice
- Methods for representing complex systems.
Social Work Context and Practice (30 credits)
- Contemporary social work and social welfare in a diverse society
- Construction of social problems
- Ethical frameworks for social practice
- Contemporary social work theories and practice.
Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
- Relationship between theory and empirical research in evaluation
- Defining and measuring outcomes
- Case study analysis
- Poster presentation and participatory evaluation.
Dissertation (60 credits)
- 15,000 word dissertation based on a supervised research project.
To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.
Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.
Course Learning and Teaching
These MA Research Methods courses are full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.
The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance
Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.
Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the Department host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.
You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.
Subject requirements, level and grade
Normally an upper second-class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.
When submitting your online application, you will also need to provide:
- Current Transcript and Certificate (if possible)
- Two academic references (it is the applicants responsibility to obtain their references from their referees).
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£7,750.00 per year|
|Home Student||£7,750.00 per year|
|Island Student||£7,750.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£19,000.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
|EU Student||£4,300.00 per year|
|Home Student||£4,300.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£10,500.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology is an interdisciplinary department with over 50 years’ experience in teaching and research in sociology and social policy, expanding over time to provide a focus for collaboration across the related academic disciplines of criminology, social work, and community development. We are a leading international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary applied social research that shapes and informs social policy and practice, enhances individual, community and social wellbeing, promotes social inclusion, and forms the foundations of research-led education.