SO5011 - Real World Research 2

What will I learn on this module?

Building on your learning from the previous year around critical thinking skills and research methods, the aim of this module is to enable you to become an effective qualitative social researcher.

First, we will revisit some of the key stages of the research process, including research design, planning a research project, writing a literature review, and the ethics and politics of social research.

Second, we will focus on the philosophies and methods used by qualitative researchers in a real-world context. We will cover ‘traditional’ qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups and ethnography, as well ‘contemporary’ methods including qualitative mapping, visual and digital methods.

Third, we will put that learning into practice. In groups you will plan and carry out a qualitative research project focusing on a key social issue in Newcastle upon Tyne. This will involve formulating research questions, planning a data collection strategy, collecting data, analysing data, and writing up your results. In addition, you will also complete a research risk assessment and an ethics form – all essential components of the research process.

Learning from this module will support you next year as you embark on your dissertation project, as well as in future employment where research, people and analytical skills are much needed.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a range of interactive workshops and online sessions in which we will explore key methods, processes and challenges surrounding qualitative research methods. In seminars we will put into practice this learning through research specific activities including: planning ethnographic research, analysing research transcripts from actual staff research projects, deconstructing research proposals and critiquing research findings. Activities will involve both individual and group work and all sessions will include a range of stimulus materials to guide and support discussion.

Throughout the module you will also learn through the planning and completion of the group research project. This will involve planning your own project, collecting and analysing data. The process of completing this assignment will involve understanding and completing risk assessments and research ethics processes as well as deconstructing the research process.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported throughout the module by module tutors through: interactive lectures and seminars with regular opportunities for question and answer sessions and group tutorials during the completion of the research project. In addition you will be able to access one-to-one tutorials with the module team through the weekly ‘office hours and feedback’ sign up process and via email and Teams.

If you have any further or specific learning needs then do discuss this with the module leader at the start of the semester.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding
1. You will develop a critical understanding of the histories and philosophies underpinning qualitative approaches to social science research.

2. You will understand the process of conducing qualitative social research including: the development of a research question, the importance of conducting risk assessments and securing ethical clearance.

3. You will develop a critical knowledge of a range of qualitative social research studies that have shaped the development of qualitative research practice.

Intellectual / Professional skills and abilities
1. You will develop the skills to be able to carry out qualitative social research projects (including data collection and data analysis) as well as understand the practical issues involved in conducting a research project.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)
1. You will develop an understanding and appreciation of the role and importance of social research and in a real world context and will be able to develop your own critiques of how research is used by governments and media organisations. You will develop the inter-personal skills that are needed to complete a task as part of a team in a work setting.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through the completion of 2 assessments:

Assessment one is an individual 2000 word research proposal worth 60% of the overall mark. During the semester, you will be given an excerpt from an interview transcript. You will then write a 2,000 word research proposal for a follow-up, qualitative research study, designed to explore an issue that features in the transcript in more detail. You must draw on relevant social sciences literature to develop the proposal.

Assessment two is a group research project and 3,000 word accompanying report.
Students will be divided into groups of 4 to 6 and will undertake a group research project. The project will explore the ways in which Northumbria Students engage within Newcastle-upon-Tyne, using a range of qualitative research methods. Students will write this up as a research report.

The skills required for the summative assessment will be developed through formative assessment tasks in seminars: for example, students will develop research questions, data collection and data analysis techniques.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LM39

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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