Research Design and Methods (Nankai) SPS5029

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course will provide an overview of research methods in social science, covering the philosophy of social science, concepts of causation and interpretation, research design, comparative method, quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches and different strategies for data collection. The course is designed for students engaged in study across a wide range of social analytic programmes and is intended as a platform to build on as they embark on an independent dissertation project.


Ten two-hour sessions

Requirements of Entry

Only open to students enrolled on Nankai Joint Graduate School programmes.

Excluded Courses





A written Research Proposal (essay) of 3,000-3,500 words at 70%

A written critical analysis of published article (approximately 1,000 words) at 30%

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to provide students with skills in research design, the ability to think critically about the uses of social research and the contexts within which it takes place, and a grounding in approaches to social science research which will be useful when they begin their own dissertations. The course will provide students with the necessary skills in and knowledge of research methods to develop their independent research and dissertations.   

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify the philosophical roots of and major differences among social science epistemologies

■ Select and justify appropriate techniques for empirical analysis

■ Construct a rigorous research design for an original project of their own choosing

■ Identify the merits and limitations of quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method approaches

■ Assess critically the methodological standards, trends and biases within their own disciplines

■ Articulate appropriate ethical considerations and standards in independent research

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.