Module Details for the Academic Year 2018/2019

CSSL50020 Social Science Methodology

In this course we will discuss the logic of social science research and provide a brief overview of the various methods that are commonly in use. The focus will be on the logic of inquiry in the social sciences in general, while the details of the various specific methods one can apply will be discussed in separate courses, on qualitative methods and on quantitative methods.

Many of the topics discussed in this course are controversial—practitioners of social science research disagree on fundamental issues of research methods, design, interpretation, inferences, etc. The course will stimulate a critical view towards methods and you are encouraged to be critical in your writings for the course and your participation during the course meetings. While the assignments can be written from different points of view and while debate is encouraged, the course does provide a somewhat more positivist perspective on social science.

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- Formulation of independent views and arguments in discussion and in writing.
- Knowledge of the central themes and problems in the philosophy of
social science and research design.
- Understanding of the mechanics and underlying assumptions of
descriptive and causal inference in social science.
- Ability to independently develop a design of a research project.
- Preparation and delivery of an in-class research presentation and
engagement with questions from the audience.
- Ability to engage critically with different positions in the
philosophy of social science and to assess different methodological
approaches from a philosophical point of view. 
Item Workload
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Description % of Final Grade Timing
Continuous Assessment: Grant proposal


Week 6
Continuous Assessment: Proposal feedback essays


Week 9
Essay: Article review


Coursework (End of Trimester)
Presentation: Research presentation


Varies over the Trimester


This module is not passable by compensation

Resit Opportunities

In-semester assessment


If you fail this module you may repeat, resit or substitute where permissible.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles

Equivalent Modules

(CSSL40050), Social Science Methodology (GSHS50080)

Prior Learning

Curricular information is subject to change