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Introduction to Social Research Methods

University of Edinburgh via edX

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How does ‘society’ function? What makes ‘culture’? These are crucially important questions that can help us to understand the most pressing issues that human beings face today – but how do we answer them? This course will explore the techniques and approaches used by researchers to answer difficult questions about the social world.

In this course, we’re going to explore:

  • The kinds of methods researchers tend to adopt
  • The contexts in which certain research methods are used
  • The benefits, drawbacks and ethical implications of research 

This course isn’t a practical or technical guide to doing research. Rather, it offers a way for us to think deeply about what methods are, and what they allow us to achieve.

When you complete this course, we want you to be critical users of research – and that means having the ability to always question the application of methods, and to hold ourselves to account as researchers and scholars.

That not only makes our research better, it also foregrounds the things that are most exciting and interesting about methods.

We’ve designed this course to provide you with a unique opportunity to develop your understanding of methods. This course is part of the Masters in Digital Education programme at the University of Edinburgh. You will study alongside students who are enrolled at the University and who are working towards a postgraduate qualification. By joining us you’ll get a sense of what it is like to study on our programme. 

The Masters in Digital Education has built up a reputation over the years for critical engagement in our field, and it is this way of learning that we want to foreground in this course. Introduction to Social Research Methods will be about developing a rounded understanding of methods, and their underlying assumptions and values.

Taught by

Dr. Jeremy Knox , Jen Ross and Kate Orton-Johnson

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