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Social Research: Methods

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor Tim May (University of Sheffield) explores several different methods commonly used in social research and outlines how they are applied in practice. In the first lecture, we look at official statistics, the ways in which they are important for researchers, and debates around their trustworthiness as factual representations of society. In the second lecture, we introduce surveys and how they are constructed. In the third lecture, we consider three types of interview – the structured, the semi-structured and the unstructured/focused. Next, we think about observation, both participant and non-participant, and examine some of the practical and ethical issues associated with it as a method. In the fifth and final lecture, we briefly survey some other important social research methods – documentary research, case studies, digital research, and comparative analysis.

About the Lecturer

Professor Tim May is Honorary Distinguished Professor at Cardiff University. He has a wide range of expertise relating to research methodologies, sociological theory, and the philosophy of social science. His recent publications include Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (2021, co-authored with Beth Perry), Thinking Sociologically (2019, co-authored with Zygmunt Bauman), Reflexivity: The Essential Guide (2017, co-authored with Beth Perry).