Social Research Methods

Subject NRMT90003 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, 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: 60 hours of lectures, workshops and tutorials
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Eligibility for a graduate degree.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have compelted the following subjects cannot enrol in this subject:
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 Kathryn Williams, Assoc Prof Ruth Beilin


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Land & Food Resources (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Understanding of social process and action is critical to effective land management and social research skills are therefore valued by resource management agencies. This subject aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to design social research, which can be used to improve management of natural resources, agricultural and food systems.

The subject presents a framework for understanding diverse approaches to social research; the relationship between theory and method is given particular emphasis. The research process is considered step by step including scoping research issues, the evolution of research questions, and selection of appropriate methods. A number of research strategies are considered in more detail including survey research, case studies and action research. Social research ethics, quality in social research and advances in social research methods are examined.


The aim of this unit is to assist students to develop an:

  • understanding of the process of social research
  • ability to select appropriate methodological frameworks and to match research tools to these approaches
  • understanding of ethical considerations in social research
  • ability to prepare research proposals
  • Assignment: Developing research questions – 250 words, 10% of final mark.
  • Essay: Qualitative and quantitative approaches to a research project– 2000 words; 30% of final mark.
  • Research Forum presentation – 5-minute presentation of research proposal (presentation of research question and preliminary thoughts on methodology), 15% of final mark.
  • Research Proposal - 3000 words, 45% of final mark.
Prescribed Texts:

Seale, C. (2004). Social Research Methods: A Reader. London/NewYork: Routledge Student Readers.

Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2nd edition)

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Urban Horticulture
Master of Agribusiness (Coursework)
Master of Agricultural Science
Master of Animal Science
Master of Food Science
Master of Forest Ecosystem Science
Master of Urban Horticulture
Master of Urban Planning
Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Animal Science and Management
Postgraduate Diploma in Food Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Education
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Governance, Policy and Communication
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Waste Management

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