Module code: SOC1058

Module Overview

This module introduces students to qualitative and quantitative approaches to research design, methodology and data analysis. Part A focuses on qualitative field methods, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic observation, and their place within the wider research process. Students will explore the insights and possibilities generated by qualitative research as well as some of the challenges that qualitative researchers may encounter. Students will gain experience in designing, collecting, producing, and analysing their own data. Part B is designed to introduce students to the statistical techniques necessary for implementing and critically evaluating quantitative social research. Emphasis will be put on when and how data is collected, how to use basic statistical techniques to analyse the data appropriately, and how to interpret results. Students will also acquire a familiarity with R, a software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Module provider


Module Leader

HEMMING Peter (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 199

Lecture Hours: 33

Seminar Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative topics include the following:


PART A: Qualitative Approaches

  • Social and qualitative research

  • Developing research questions

  • Qualitative interviews

  • Focus groups

  • Reading qualitative research

  • Sampling and access

  • Ethnographic observation

  • Research ethics

  • Reflexivity and positionality

  • Thematic data analysis

  • Writing qualitative research

  • Finding information and academic referencing


PART B: Quantitative Approaches

  • The role of statistics in modern societies

  • The ethics of quantitative research

  • Surveys and questionnaire design

  • Secondary data analysis

  • Sampling theory and practice

  • Levels of measurement and types of variables

  • Estimators of central tendency and dispersion

  • Statistical inference, estimation, and hypothesis testing

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Journal Article Review 20
Coursework Ethnographic Observation Report 30
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test Portfolio of Completed Class Tests 10
Examination Online Short Answer Multiple-Choice Exam (60 minute exam, in a 75 minuet window) 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research. Specifically, it provides students with opportunities to: (a) demonstrate their developing understanding of qualitative field methods and the qualitative research process, (b) apply their knowledge of qualitative approaches in relation to conducting social research, (c) show their understanding of basic concepts used to describe the characteristics of population and survey data, and (d) choose appropriate statistical techniques to test hypotheses and interpret the associated statistical outputs.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Assessment 1: Journal Article Review (coursework), 20% (addresses LO1 and LO2) – Find/select and identify key substantive and methodological features of one empirical article from the student’s area of interest relevant to a substantive topic of their choice (the article should report back on research using qualitative interviews and/or focus groups).


  • Assessment 2: Ethnographic Observation Report (coursework), 30% (addresses LO1, LO2 and LO3) - conduct a short ethnographic observation of a public space (following strict ethical guidelines), discussing in a written report what the student has observed and reflecting on the process of doing the observation.


  • Assessment 3: Portfolio of Completed Online Quizzes (TESTO), 10% (address LO1 and LO4) – complete a set of up to 10 online formative quizzes over the duration of Part B of the module covering the key concepts and statistical techniques discussed in class. The assessment focuses on students’ engagement rather than competency at answering questions. Students will be awarded 10 summative marks for every test fully completed up to a total of 100 marks, regardless of how well they did in the quizzes (10 marks will be deducted for every missing test).


  • Assessment 4: Multiple-Choice Exam (online examination), 40% (addresses LO1, LO4 and LO5) – conduct a short answer, multiple choice exam on descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing.



Formative assessment and feedback


Students will take part in individual and group tasks in class throughout the module, on which they will receive verbal formative feedback in how they are progressing.

Detailed guidance on how to complete the summative assessments is given in class and on Surrey Learn, and students will be provided with opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback on their developing plans (Part A) or formative class tests (Part B).

Written feedback is provided for all summative assessment tasks.

Module aims

  • Provide an overview of qualitative and quantitative research methods used within sociology, media studies and criminology, especially qualitative interviewing, focus groups, ethnography and surveys, and consider their strengths and weaknesses
  • Introduce students to the qualitative research process and explore some of the practical and philosophical issues involved in the different stages of qualitative research
  • Enable students to experience conducting and reporting on qualitative field research
  • Introduce students to the statistical techniques required to conduct and critically evaluate social research and enable them to experience the various stages of survey design
  • Provide an understanding of when and how to use particular statistical techniques, including hand on experience with R

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand key methodological issues in social research, including the advantages and disadvantages of different qualitative and quantitative research methods CK
002 Become familiar with the qualitative research process, including designing research questions, reviewing literature, sampling, data collection, ethics, analysis and writing-up CKPT
003 Know how to collect, analyse and write up primary ethnographic data, adopting a reflexive and self-critical approach to this task. CKPT
004 Design a quantitative study, collect relevant data, and analyse them using univariate and bivariate statistical techniques CKT
005 Know how to use computer software for statistical analysis, including both descriptive and inferential statistics KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide students with a foundational knowledge of the importance of qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research for describing and explaining social life. This includes an awareness of key research methods including interviews, focus groups, ethnography and surveys, an appreciation of different stages of the research process such as designing research questions, sampling and reporting, an understanding of key concepts such as ethics, reflexivity, measurement and inference, as well as basic skills in thematic and statistical analysis and interpretation. The module also offers students the opportunity to further develop transferrable information literacy and numeracy skills.

The weekly lectures (in both Parts A and B) will provide a broad introduction to the topic and expose students to key research methods, concepts, and analysis techniques (including statistical), illustrated through contemporary research case studies and supported by required reading.

The weekly seminars (in Part A) provide the opportunity to explore and discuss research methods and approaches to analysis in more depth, through independent and group tasks that encourage critical and independent thinking, hands-on experience of the research and analysis techniques covered in the lectures, as well as activities offering preparation and support for module assessments. Each session has one piece of primary reading which all students are expected to read, which provides the basis for the activities and class discussions. Two extra workshops (in Part A) will focus on information literacy and referencing to help students enhance their study skills.

The weekly laboratory classes (in Part B) will facilitate students in familiarising themselves with the technical and practical issues using the software environment R to analyse quantitative data. This will enable students to apply their learning from the lectures using real-life examples and datasets from the UK Data Service.

A range of learning activities will be employed in lectures, seminars, and laboratory classes to help students develop their thinking, such as paired and group discussion, video and audio clips, interactive polls and quizzes, research roleplay, and formative assessment support.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1058

Other information

The School of Sociology’s Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:


Digital capabilities: Students will develop knowledge of the ways in which they can use digital technologies (such as Surrey Search and Google Scholar) to search for journal articles and other academic texts. They also become familiar with using the software environment R, which is one of the most used programming languages for statistical computing and graphics.


Employability: Students will begin to develop their qualitative and quantitative research skills, techniques of analysis (thematic and statistical), reflection and writing skills, and apply these in assessments (e.g. Assessment 2, 3 and 4). They will also benefit from enhanced information literacy and numeracy skills, which are essential in a broad range of professional roles.


Global and cultural capabilities: Students will learn about reflexivity and positionality in qualitative research and how social identity and difference can influence research encounters for ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ researchers and their participants. They will also learn how to design survey questions on sensitive topics such as gender and ethnicity, and how to use that information to explore inequalities in the population of interest.


Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will be required (with guidance) to plan, conduct and analyse their first research exercise, in which they are expected to conduct an independent ethnographic observation in a public space (Assessment 1). They will further build their confidence through experience of interpreting and analysing statistical data.


Sustainability: Students will be provided with the qualitative and quantitative research tools to competently and creatively investigate social issues and challenges relating to multiple UN sustainability goals (, and to conduct analysis to devise potential improvements and solutions in pursuit of these goals.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.