Social Sciences Research Methods

Subject POPH90201 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 28 (10 lectures and 1 symposia)
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: This subject may be taken concurrently
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 505-922 Research Methods in Social Health
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.


Centre for Health and Society
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 0826


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 theory and practice of selected methods of social research. Specifically, the subject is focussed on students gaining practical skills in selected research methods and an understanding of the strengths, limitations and appropriate uses of each method. The subject is intended for students who will be developing and carrying out their own research project as part of their course of study. Students will be taught how to develop their own research proposals, using appropriate methodological approaches, which can be used for their research thesis. Teaching will concentrate on practical skills related to various social sciences research methods, and critical analysis and evaluation of research proposals. As part of this subject, students will be expected to participate in (a) non-assessed practice exercises designed to enhance skills and techniques; and (b) workshopping, analysis and criticism of each others’ research proposals, providing feedback in the refinement of the research design and methodology.
Objectives: Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  • Undertake commonly-used social sciences research techniques
  • Evaluate the advantages and limitations of a variety of social science research methods
  • Understand the relationship between research design and research methods
  • Justify the choice of research methods for a particular research question to be used for their research project
  • Apply problem solving skills to deal with practical issues that arise when conducting social research
  • Conduct a critical review of the literature for the purpose of designing social sciences research
  • Develop a detailed proposal for their research project.
Assessment: Completion of a case study task designed to compare and evaluate different social sciences research methods up to a maximum of 2,000 words (40%) due mid semester. Completion of a detailed research proposal using social sciences research methods up to a maximum of 4,000 words (60%) due at the end of semester.
Prescribed Texts: Students will have access to electronic copies of relevant readings
Recommended Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Upon completion of this subject, students will have developed skills in:
  • Critical thinking and analysis,
  • Initiative, autonomy and organization,
  • Problem-solving,
  • Oral communication,
  • Finding, evaluating and using relevant information,
  • Written communication,
  • Persuasion and argument.
Related Course(s): Master of Adolescent Health & Welfare
Master of Health Social Sciences
Master of Public Health
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender and Women's Health
Health Social Sciences
Public Health

Download PDF version.