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SS1103 - An Introduction to Social Science Research Practices

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 1
Administered by: School of Arts & Social Sciences

This subject is about how research is conducted in the social sciences. The subject is designed to provide students with the basic skills to identify and develop research questions, and organise, analyse, interpret and present the kinds of data encountered in social research. It is conventional to divide social research methods into two types: a) qualitative, and b) quantitative. This subject introduces students to both approaches. Qualitative research is an umbrella term covering different types of research, including for example, interviews, focus group discussions, life histories, and participant observation. It seeks to interpret the meanings people make of their own lives and how people interact with one another in natural social contexts. Quantitative research has been defined as empirical research where the researcher explores research questions using numbers. This type of research focuses on measurement of the variables of interest in larger samples or groups. In this section of the subject students will be introduced to the logic of the experimental and quasi-experimental methods as well as basic data analysis techniques.

Learning Outcomes

  • gain core competencies in social science research practice;
  • understand the nature of research questions in the social sciences;
  • appreciate the influence of research questions on research methods and identify which research methods are best suited to answer different research questions;
  • achieve a basic understanding of the nature of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in the social sciences;
  • attain basic competence in the use and calculation of descriptive statistics.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments, and to reason and deploy evidence clearly and logically;
  • The ability to deploy critically evaluated information to practical ends;
  • The ability to select and organise information and to communicate it accurately, cogently, coherently, creatively and ethically;
  • The ability to generate, calculate, interpret and communicate numerical information in ways appropriate to a given discipline or discourse.

Availabilities

Cairns, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Nonie Harris
Lecturers: <Person not found>, <Person not found>.
Workload expectations:
  • 13 hours lectures - One lecture per week for 13 weeks
  • 14 hours practicals - 2 hour practicals for 7 weeks of the semester only. Other exercises will be conducted via LearnJCU
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); quizzes or tests (25%); assignments (25%).

Mackay, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Nonie Harris
Lecturers: Assoc. Professor Theresa Petray, <Person not found>.
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); quizzes or tests (25%); assignments (25%).

Townsville, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Nonie Harris
Lecturers: Assoc. Professor Theresa Petray, <Person not found>.
Workload expectations:
  • 13 hours lectures - One hour lecture per week for 13 weeks
  • 14 hours practicals - 2 hour practicals will be held each week for 7 weeks of the semester only. Other exercises will be conducted via LearnJCU.
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); quizzes or tests (25%); assignments (25%).

Study Period 2, External
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Nonie Harris
Lecturers: Assoc. Professor Theresa Petray, <Person not found>.
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); quizzes or tests (25%); assignments (25%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.