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The objectives are to:
* Provide you with the skills and knowledge base required to collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
* Enable you to examine critically the theoretical foundations that underpin social scientific research
* Enable you to examine issues concerning comparative social research
* Develop your understanding of the relationship between research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use
Over the past five years, over half of our graduates have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, for example, a manager commissioning research for a local authority, a research fellow at a university and a senior research executive for a European-wide commercial research organisation.
In general, one in ten graduates have enhanced their practice in current posts by undertaking studies in Applied Social Research, with support from their employer. Over one third of our graduates continue with academic study and undertake a PhD.
Structure and content The MSc/Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research comprises eight compulsory taught core modules, a group project and (for the MSc) a dissertation.
The modules are: The Nature of Social Enquiry; Research Design and Process; Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services; Quantitative Data Analysis; Qualitative Data Analysis; Comparative Social Research; Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research.
You must take one of three Applied Social Research option modules:
* Thinking Sociologically
* The Principles of Social Policy
* Theorising Social Work
These modules comprise a series of reading groups in which a number of central ideas are debated. In addition to the modules, you will complete both of the following:
* Group Project: An opportunity to obtain first-hand experience of research techniques, data collection strategies and group work with the guidance of staff.
* Research Dissertation: MSc students must undertake an original social science research study and complete a research dissertation with academic supervision.
Examples of recent dissertation topics include:
* A Study of High Risk Behaviour
* Young People and National Identity
* Substance Use Prevalence and Looked-after Young People in Scotland
* Womens Decisions about Returning to Work After Childbirth
Delivery and assessment Teaching methods are designed for each module to facilitate your acquisition of skills and progressive development. You are expected to participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work.
Full-time and part-time MSc/Diploma students experience a range of different forms of assessment across the compulsory taught modules. These include essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis, group project reports and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.
Entrance requirements An Honours degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject, from a university in the UK, or equivalent academic or professional qualification or equivalent relevant experience. Preference is given to candidates with upper second class degrees or better. Candidates with other qualifications or experience may be admitted to the Diploma in the first instance. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 577 TOEFL iBT® test: 90 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.
ESRC awards are available on a competitive basis via the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre for students who wish to pursue the MSc plus a PhD on a 1+3 basis. Please contact the School of Applied Social Science for details.
RAE rating In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of the research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was Internationally Excellent with the top 10 percent of that judged to be World-leading.
Accreditation The course is recognised as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for those who are studying or going on to study for a PhD (+3), and is also recognised by the ESRC for Masters Course plus Research Studentship (1+3) purposes.