Principles of Social Research Design

Subject POPH90200 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hrs: 6 x 6 hrs symposia
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: -
Non Allowed Subjects: 505-948 Research Project Development
505-921 Principles of Qualitative Research Design

Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.


Assoc Prof Lynn Gillam, Assoc Prof Marilys Guillemin


Centre for Health and Society
Melbourne School of Population Health


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824

Subject Overview: This subject will give students an understanding of the principles underlying social research. The topics covered will be relevant for students interested in social research specifically, and for health research students who want to learn about qualitative and quantitative research as it applies to social health research. The first part of this subject will concentrate on the conceptual approaches to research design and process. These sessions will provide both theoretical background and practical advice for doing social research. The second part will discuss ethics in research. Areas to be covered will include the rationale for formal ethical review of research involving humans and details of the ethics committee process, as well as more general discussion of basic ethical principles in research. The subject will draw on different disciplines to highlight different disciplinary approaches to designing and formulating social research projects.

Objectives: After the completion of this subject students will:
  • understand the principles and processes of social research design
  • be able to formulate social research questions
  • have a capacity to design social research at a postgraduate level
  • understand the role of critical literature review in social research design
  • have developed an understanding of the different kinds of ethical issues involved in doing research with human participants
  • be familiar with the formal process of ethical review of research
  • be able to complete a human research ethics application form
  • have developed a respect and understanding for the ethics of scholarship
  • Completion of a Human Research Ethics application form or other structured written assignment related to human research ethics up to a maximum of 2,500 words (50%) due mid semester
  • Essay up to a maximum of 2,500 words (50%) due at the end of the semester.
Prescribed Texts: Liamputtong, P. & Ezzy, D. (2005) (2nd ed) Qualitative research methods Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Recommended Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completion of the subject students will have developed:
  • skills in collection, evaluation and interpretation of data
  • skills with which to operationalise a research question
  • effective written and oral communication skills
Related Course(s): Master of Adolescent Health & Welfare
Master of Genetic Counselling
Master of Health Social Sciences
Master of Public Health
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender && Women's Health
Sexual Health
Social Health

Download PDF version.