Social Research Methods in Context

Unit code: APH4018 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park
For ABPC Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) students – completion of 288 Credit points For LHWP Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/ Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) students – completion of 480 Credit points.
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


This unit of study is designed to foster students' understanding and application of advanced research methods. Students will study either the quantitative or qualitative stream of this unit based on which stream will best support the methodology relevant to their research thesis. In both streams, the unit looks beyond strategies for data collection (methods) and analysis to consider the importance of epistemology, methodology and ethics in conducting research. This includes exploring the different assumptions that inform quantitative or qualitative methodologies, the appropriateness of different research methods in the context of the research questions being posed, the implications for knowledge claims, and for report writing. This unit also links to the research thesis component of the Honours course, in that students both give an individual oral presentation and submit a written assignment on their proposal for their thesis project.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critique the principles and assumptions that underpin different forms of research design and methodology;
  2. Exemplify knowledge of research methods, ethical considerations, study design, data analysis and presentation of outcomes;
  3. Postulate appropriate research questions and design and justify techniques used to answer set research questions; and
  4. Interpret the results of data analysis in an empirically valid manner.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 30%
Individual research proposal presentation (15-20 minutes)
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 25%
Individual research plan; Part A – Background, rationale and research questions (1000 words)
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 25%
Individual research plan; Part B – Research design, methods, and analysis plan (1000 words)
Assessment type: Test
Grade: 20%
Final Test (1.5 hours)

Required reading

Discovering statistics using SPSS
Field, A. (2018).| SAGE Publications Ltd.
Introducing qualitative research in psychology:
Willig, C. (2021).| Open University Press.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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