Social Research Methods

Subject NRMT90003 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours of lectures, workshops and tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Eligibility for a graduate degree.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

It is strongly recommended that students have at least 25 credits or equivalent in social science subjects (eg sociology, psychology, human geography, political science, law, policy studies, education).

Assessment in the subject requires students to develop a proposal for a social research project. Students must be able to identify a social science project relevant to their broader studies or professional practice. It is recommended that they have some understanding of social theories related to their project.

Students should seek approval from the subject coordinator if uncertain whether their previous coursework and project ideas are appropriate.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed 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 website:


Prof Ruth Beilin


Subject Overview:

Understanding of social process and action is critical to effective land and environment 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 environments, 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.

Learning Outcomes:

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; due approximately week - 10% of final mark.
  • Essay: Qualitative and quantitative approaches to a research project– 2000 words; due approximatley week 8 - 30% of final mark.
  • Research Forum presentation – 5-minute presentation of research proposal (presentation of research question and preliminary thoughts on methodology); due approximatly week 11 - 15% of final mark.
  • Research Proposal - 2500 words, near the end of the semester - 45% of final mark.
Prescribed Texts:

Subject reader

Recommended 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).

Neuman, W.L. (2006). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (6th Edn). Boston, Pearson Education Inc.

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 Food Science
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 Science (Ecosystem Science)
Master of Science (Geography)
Master of Urban Horticulture
Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Food Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point (B) Master of Agricultural Sciences
100 Point Master of Social Policy
150 Point Master of Agricultural Sciences
150 Point Master of Social Policy
200 Point Master of Agricultural Sciences
200 Point Master of Social Policy
Education and Social Change
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Governance, Policy and Communication
Governance, Policy and Markets
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Master of Science (Ecosystem Science) - Discipline Elective subjects
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation
Waste Management
Waste Management

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