Social Research and Evaluation MSc (Distance Learning) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

About the course

This course currently offers you the opportunity to:

•  Critically study research methods and data analysis within a multidisciplinary framework providing you with rigorous practical and applied training in social research.

•  Complete a course that is designed to meet the postgraduate training requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council and the training needs of those undertaking social science (and related disciplinary) doctoral research.

•  Access online teaching, discussion groups, tutorial support, tests and assessments via the University's virtual learning environment. .

•  Enhance your skills and gain a degree from anywhere in the world, university attendance is not required.

•  Receive teaching and support from experienced and active researchers who are acknowledged experts in their fields.

The course is designed to meet the postgraduate training requirements of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This may also meet your training needs if you are undertaking doctoral research related to social science, appraising research, undertaking workplace research or commissioning research in a wide range of professions including health, education and criminal justice.

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


1 year full-time (distance learning)
Also available 3 years part-time

Entry requirements

You must have either:

•  An Honours degree at 2:1 or above, where at least half of the module credits covered one or more social science disciplines.

•  Substantial relevant work experience where you have undertaken empirical social research or management experience, such as leading research projects and commissioning and appraising social research proposals.

For applicants whose first language or language of instruction is not English you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum of IELTS 6.5 overall with no element lower than 6.0, will be considered acceptable, or equivalent. You will require very good English language skills, especially on modules involving qualitative analysis.

If you have alternative qualifications or experience please contact us for advice before applying.

You will require access to a computer, which is capable of playing video and audio files via the internet, as well as word processing and e-mail. In order to run some of the analytic software, your computer must have a minimum of Windows XP or a similar up-to-date operating system so you can run Windows XP. You will also require constant internet access and a headphone/microphone combination.


Admissions Assistant
Tel. +44 (0) 1484 472272

Places available:


(this number may be subject to change)

Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

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Course content

Core modules:

Dissertation (SRE) (Distance Learning)

Through this module you will be expected to undertake the design, data collection, data analysis and write up for a piece of empirical research on a topic of your own choice, subject to approval by your supervisor. Your supervisor will guide you through the stages of the project and have regular contact with you. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework in the form of a dissertation, this will report, to a professional standard, the work you have undertaken and the results you have obtained.

Evaluation and Reviews (Distance Learning)

You will be introduced to the nature of evaluation research as an approach that uses standard research methods techniques but in a specific context. This may enable you to examine the various models of, and approaches to evaluation. You will also have the opportunity to become familiar with the requirements of systematic reviews of the literature. The module will be assessed through one piece of coursework: either a proposal for an evaluation or a systematic review in an area relevant to your personal and/or professional concerns. An outline of this will be delivered as a presentation, on which you will be given feedback.

Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis (Distance Learning)

This module introduces you to the basic methods used to analyse qualitative and quantitative data. You will be encouraged to examine the range of qualitative data and how you can prepare it for analysis. You will have the opportunity to study two key qualitative analytic techniques: thematic analysis and discourse analysis. In the case of quantitative data analysis you will be introduced to the basic use of statistics, both descriptive and inferential, using SPSS, a computer package. You will be assessed through two pieces of coursework, which will involve writing up the analysis of a given data set, one qualitative and one quantitative.

Social Research Methods (Distance Learning)

You will be introduced to the design of social research and examine the approaches used to collect social research data. You will have the opportunity to explore issues that affect the quality of research and the three design strategies: experiment, survey and case study. You will also be encouraged to study key techniques including questionnaire design, interviewing, ethnography and the use of documents. The module will be assessed through coursework, where you will assemble a critique of the research methods used in a provided journal article.

Optional modules:

Philosophy and Design in Health and Social Research (Distance Learning)

This module integrates the philosophical issues that underpin research design with the practical issues involved. You will be expected to examine some of the major philosophical perspectives providing a foundation for health and social research. You will also be introduced to a range of practical issues such as funding, budgeting and ethics that must be considered alongside research design when making research proposals. You will be assessed by one piece of coursework in which you will write a research proposal combining a discussion of relevant philosophical issues with the practical elements of the research design.

Qualitative Data Analysis (Distance Learning)

This module covers a range of techniques and methods used in the analysis of qualitative data. You will have the opportunity to examine thematic approaches such as grounded theory method along with discourse analysis, narrative approaches and the use of diagrams and tables. Assessment will involve producing one piece of coursework in the form of a report on the analysis of a provided qualitative data set.

Qualitative Data Capture (Distance Learning)

This module covers the range of ways in which researchers gather data for qualitative research. You will be encouraged to examine some of the common methods used such as face-to-face interviews and focus groups, and explore the key literature on the topic. You will also be expected to engage in field research where you will practice your own research interview and focus group. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework that consists of a critical assessment and account of your data capture with an appendix of transcripts from your interview and focus group.

Questionnaire and Survey Design (Distance Learning)

This module is appropriate for those wishing to undertake a research project using a questionnaire, as it provides the opportunity for you to learn how to design and implement a questionnaire, based on the principles of questionnaire construction and delivery. You may examine examples of questionnaires and experience the process of research as a designer, administrator and analyser of your own questionnaire. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework that includes a questionnaire design, its rationale and a discussion of its validity and reliability.

Statistical Analysis of Research Data (Distance Learning)

You will be introduced to a range of statistical techniques used for the analysis of quantitative data in social, health and behavioural sciences. You will be encouraged to learn about the treatment of regression in settings where several independent variables may be assessed or where the outcome is binary. You may also study treatments applicable to the analysis of multivariate data sets. The emphasis will be placed on the practical application of such techniques through the use of the statistical software SPSS. You will be assessed through one piece of coursework, where you undertake a detailed analysis of a large data set, using a range of statistical techniques.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Career opportunities

After successful completion of the course you may be currently qualified to undertake research as a research assistant on an existing project or a research student undertaking an MPhil or PhD. You may also have the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge you have developed to appraise or evaluate research in your work, as well as specify and commission research proposals.

Teaching and assessment

This course provides the opportunity for you to learn through a combination of videos and other learning resources, webinars, online demonstrations and tutorials. Videos and other learning resources offer a guide to the key literature, concepts, theories and research studies. Webinars, running on an interactive basis will facilitate the use of case studies and problem-solving exercises, as well as offering a mixed and more varied means of communication between you, other students and the teaching staff. Online demonstrations and tutorials demonstrate key analytic activities and software use (especially NVivo and SPSS). You will be offered individualised support in these activities.

A typical learning sessionmay involve reading some set text, watching some video footage and possibly undertaking an online test. This may be followed by an online webinar session where you and other students will have the opportunity to discuss what you have read and watched, ask questions of the tutor, and practice and receive feedback on some of the techniques you have learnt.

You will not be required to undertake any examinations, as you will be continually assessed throughout the course. Most of your assessment will be practically based, where you will practice the data collection and data analysis techniques you have learnt and present your results in a research report format to professional standards. In a few cases you may be required to produce critical essays and undertake presentations.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the full-time tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield will generally be £5,100 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions). Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are interested in studying with us on a part-time basis, please visit our Fees and Finance pages for part-time fee information.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Additional routes

Interim awards: A Master's course is 180 Master's level credits, which would normally take one calendar year full-time study. Interim awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level (60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma level (120 credits) should you decide to exit the course early or only need specific research skills.


This degree course is available to international students from outside of the UK or EU.

How to apply

We hope you're interested in what you've seen and want to apply to join us.

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to the workplace.

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