Principles of Social Research Design

Subject POPH90200 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 09-Feb-2015 to 20-Feb-2015
Assessment Period End 04-May-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Feb-2015
Census Date 27-Feb-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 10-Apr-2015

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:

170 hours





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.


Prof Lynn Gillam, Prof Marilys Guillemin



Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population and Global 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 in general, and in the health context specifically. 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.

Learning Outcomes:

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
  • 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
  • have developed the ability to critically review a human research ethics application
  • have developed the ability to write a detailed research proposal
  • have developed a respect and understanding for the ethics of scholarly research

• Detailed written research proposal, up to 3,000 words due mid semester (60%)
• Structured written assignment related to review of human research ethics, up to 2,000 words, due at the end of semester one (40%)

Prescribed Texts:

Liamputtong, P. & Ezzy, D. (2005) (2nd ed) Qualitative research methods Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Recommended Texts:


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 evaluation and interpretation of data
  • skills with which to develop and operationalise a research question
  • effective written and oral communication skills

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Science
Master of Adolescent Health & Welfare
Master of Adolescent Health & Wellbeing
Master of Mental Health Science
Master of Public Health
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender and Women's Health
Health Social Sciences
Public Health
Public Health
Sexual Health
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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