POL50220 Social Science Methodology

Academic Year 2021/2022

In this course we will discuss the logic of social science research and provide a brief overview of the various methods that are commonly in use. The focus will be on the logic of inquiry in the social sciences in general, while the details of the various specific methods one can apply will be discussed in separate courses, on qualitative methods and on quantitative methods.

Many of the topics discussed in this course are controversial—practitioners of social science research disagree on fundamental issues of research methods, design, interpretation, inferences, etc. The course will stimulate a critical view towards methods and you are encouraged to be critical in your writings for the course and your participation during the course meetings. While the assignments can be written from different points of view and while debate is encouraged, the course does provide a somewhat more positivist perspective on social science.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, students will be able to:

- identify the central themes in the philosophy of
social science and research design.

- differentiate the main approaches and perspectives in this field.

- engage critically with different positions and methodological
approaches from a philosophical point of view.

- outline the assumptions and mechanics of
descriptive and causal inference in social science.

- formulate their own views and arguments in discussion and in writing.

- independently develop a design of a research project.

Indicative Module Content:

Philosophy of (social) science, asking research questions, the nature of explanation, theory building, descriptive and causal inference

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning


Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
discussion; active/task-based learning; peer and group work; reflective learning; critical writing 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Social Science Methodology (CSSL50020)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Peer review of three research proposals Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: Research proposal Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: Literature review Week 8 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in accordance with university policy’

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Wed 16:00 - 17:50