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The Practice of Social Research

This module has been designed to provide students with the opportunity to think about what it means to do a PhD in the social sciences and to discuss key facets of the practice of social research. Its key aims are:

  • To provide students with knowledge that will help them develop their doctoral research
  • To enable them to think about about what it means to do a PhD in the social sciences
  • To reflect on the possibility of combining different research methods and paradigms
  • To consider the ethics of social science research.

Lecture Slides

Lecture 1: The PhD Process

Lecture 2: Theories and Methods


A 3,000 word essay: A list of titles will be provided.


The Practice of Social Research module handbook contains detailed information regarding each of the module sessions including suggested reading.

Some Key Books

Becker, H. S. (1998). Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You're Doing It. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Denzin, N. K. (1978). The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods. New York, McGraw-Hill

Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write, and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Morgan, D. (2014). Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: A Pragmatic Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Rueschemeyer, D. (2009). Usable Theory: Analytic Tools for Social and Political Research. Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Williams, Malcolm (2002) Making Sense of Social Research, London, Sage.


Please note the information on this page will be updated regularly as we approach the Spring term and is subject to change.

If you have any further questions please contact:



Key Information

First Session

Wednesday 7th January 2015


Wednesdays 10am-11am,

Arts Centre Cinema


Wednesdays 11am-12pm - S0.13


Wednesdays 12-1pm - S0.09 or S0.28


Professor Nicholas Gane

Core Training Timetable