Manchester Metropolitan University

MA

Social Research

2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • The programme has been designed to meet the Economic and Social Research Council’s new postgraduate training and development requirements
  • It draws on expertise from three faculties across Manchester Metropolitan University: Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care and Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • This programme will be delivered in collaboration with the ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership to provide first-class teaching

About the course

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Term 1 Units: 

  • Principles and Debates in Social Research
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research
  • Professional Skills for Researchers

Term 2 Units:

  • Disciplinarities: Re-searching Beyond Boundaries

You will take two optional units that develop your ability to critically engage with published research and to develop your own research skills in support of your fields of interest:

You will choose one unit from each of the following:

  • Contemporary Issues in Education, Childhood and Youth
  • Social Policy and Social Work: research, policy and practice
  • Further Qualitative Methods
  • Further Quantitative Methods

Term 3 

  • Independent Research Project

Core Units
Disciplinarities: Re-searching Beyond Boundaries

This unit will explore how more expansive understandings of issues in social science research are developed through cross-, inter- and transdisciplinary working. As the demands on research to take account of ever more complex issues increase, students will examine ways it is able to respond more fully to the challenges faced in an increasingly mixed-up, boundary-blurring, heterogenous, interdependent and ethically confronting more-than-human world. 

Introduction to Qualitative Research

This unit introduces students to a variety of qualitative research approaches for the investigation of human and more-than-human worlds, developing an appreciation of how qualitative methods are used to create knowledge. It aims to familiarise students with a full range of qualitative research methods and analyses in common use in social science. Current theoretical, methodological and ethical concerns will be debated. Students will learn how to use and evaluate the tools, techniques and processes of qualitative research, as well as applying them to their own research projects. This unit provides the basis for more subject-specific and advanced training in this field.

Introduction to Quantitative Research

This unit will provide students with an appreciation, and experience of, the theoretical underpinnings and practical application of the range of common quantitative tools and techniques that can be used as part of the research process. Students will gain an overview of the foundational concepts and practice of quantitative research.

Principles and Debates in Social Research

This unit introduces students to key principles and debates in relation to the design and practice of research, including a consideration of the key philosophical positions in Western thought that have informed existing research traditions. The unit covers three broad areas of content that underpin the pursuit of research: a range of philosophical and theoretical frameworks within which research is conducted; a variety of strategies and approaches to designing, conducting, evaluating and analysing research; and critical reflections on the position of the researcher in the research process. 

Professional Skills for Researchers

The Unit will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their current level of skills development and will give them the opportunity to cover a range of sessions provided through attendance on workshops or online via the Research Student Skills Development Programme within the Graduate School, from provision offered by Faculties or events attended externally.  

Likely Optional Units
Contemporary Issues in Education, Childhood and Youth

This unit will examine research approaches to issues and associated social policy and legislation (in education, health or social care settings) that affect the experiences, as well as public and other perceptions, of babies, children and youth in the UK.

Further Qualitative Methods

This unit aims to provide students with the skills needed to engage critically with contemporary theoretical trends in qualitative research in the social sciences, and to relate these to research and practice. The unit extends students’ knowledge and skills in qualitative research for investigating human and more-than-human worlds, developing an appreciation of how qualitative methods are used to create knowledge. 

Further Quantative Methods

This unit will provide students with an introduction to further quantitative social science research methodology and design. The unit will examine survey based research and working with primary data; including Sampling or selecting cases or subjects, Dealing with non-response and missing data;  Random and systematic measurement error, how it should be mitigated through instrument design and corrected for during analysis;  Inductive and deductive methods; Hypothesis testing, exploratory and inferential methods, and measuring causality; Population inference from cross-sectional and longitudinal sample surveys and inference from research using experimental designs; Inferential statistical tests for parametric and non-parametric data;  Linear and non-linear forms of multivariate regression;  Data reduction and grouping methods, such as factor and cluster analysis.

Social Policy and Social Work: research, policy and practice

This unit will provide students with experience in how research is translated and used in the areas of social policy and social work. It will enable them to understand the relationship between theory and practice through the analysis of contemporary case studies. Weekly workshops will provide students with materials to inform the development of research agendas that can generate impact.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

The assessment strategy incorporates a range of assessment tasks to support the range of different types of tasks encountered by professional researchers. Assignment tasks such as portfolios, essays, presentations and proposals are included in the assessment scheme where appropriate. The nature and extent of feedback available for each assessment task, and the dates by which marks and feedback will be provided is clearly indicated in each unit handbook, and is aligned with institutional requirements. 

Typical entry requirements

MMU standard entrance requirements for postgraduate taught programmes apply. (Applicants need to have an honours degree or a postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification recognised as being equivalent to a UK honours degree. Other qualifications or experience may be acceptable if students are able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills to a UK honours degree standard.)

Language requirements

International applicants need to demonstrate English Language requirements at IELTS 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any component, or equivalent.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Download our course application form. There are instructions on what to do next and who to send the form to in the Word document. 

Career options after the course

Graduates of the programme will be enabled to move in to senior positions within education and related fields; nationally and internationally. We maintain contact with our graduates at Faculty level via our Alumni office, and also informally, and work with MMU Careers and Employability Service to make sure that DLHE (Destination of Leavers in Higher Education) survey data informs curriculum approaches and content.

Confirmation of Regulator

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.