NS6401: Developing Social Research: Knowing the Social World

Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.

NS6401: Developing Social Research: Knowing the Social World

Module Title Developing Social Research: Knowing the Social World
Module Code NS6401
Module Tutor Charlotte Parker
School School of Natural and Social Sciences
CAT Points 15
Level of Study 6
Brief Description

This module explores the nature of the social sciences and the natural sciences, in relation to the philosophical, epistemological and ontological debates that dominate the processes of researching the human world. Debates include objectivity within the research process; the influence of facts and values in the social sciences; and whether the perturbations caused by postmodernism affect the way that social science research is (or should be) carried out.

Indicative Syllabus

The structure of scientific thought and the logic of scientific inquiry, explanation, prediction, falsifiability, theory, causation, laws and relationships

Origins and scope of the social sciences: conflicting perspectives on human sciences

Objectivity and value judgements in the social sciences

Ideology: beliefs and belief systems, sociological analysis of knowledge and knowing 

Understanding the social world: positivism, empiricism, idealism, relativism, post-structuralism and post-modernism.

Learning Outcomes

A student passing this module should be able to: 1. Provide an analytical account of the debates regarding research and epistemology 2. Critically reflect on epistemological and ontological approaches to understanding the social world 3. Critically examine philosophical, methodological and theoretical issues arising in the social sciences 4. Apply all of the above, to demonstrate a critical understanding of designing social research

Learning and Teaching Activities Scheduled Contact Hours: 24
Independent Learning Hours: 126
Assessment (For further details see the Module Guide) 001: 100% Coursework: Individual, standard written: 3000 words or equivalent
Special Assessment Requirements None
Indicative Resources The current reading list can be found in the Module Guide, which your lecturer should make available via Moodle.

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