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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SPA2005: Asking the Right Question: Surveys in the Social Sciences

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to equip you with the skills to use, analyse and design surveys for social science research and beyond. It will provide a comprehensive understanding of the theory and practice of survey methodology. You will learn the types of research questions that can be answered using surveys, utilising secondary survey data, and harmonising survey sources. You will also gain skills in survey design, such as question wording and ordering, sampling and survey mode. Throughout, there will be practical applications of concepts such as measurement, statistical power and sources of bias. The module will also cover how to analyse and present the findings of a survey.

Part of the assessment will be designing a survey and providing a reflexive account of the research choices you made. By the end of the module you will be well equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful quantitative dissertation and any research question that can be answered with a survey; these are also skills that are highly marketable to employers across sectors such as government and policymaking, business and finance, and consultancy.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate an understanding of the theory and practice of survey methodology in the social sciences
2. Design a survey to address a research problem
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Critically reflect on the research process of survey methodologies within the wider context of social science research
4. Identify and construct reliable and valid measures of social science concepts
5. Explain how to use surveys to yield useful and practical insights
Personal and Key Skills6. Demonstrate written analytical skills by producing an essay and reflexive survey design to a deadline
7. Apply evaluative and critical thought processes to practical, goal-oriented tasks