Whether you're preparing for an undergraduate or Master's dissertation, a PhD or a professional task, this course offers a unique and fundamental overview of research methods for students from across the globe. This course is designed not only to develop your core understanding of research methods, but to build you confidence in designing research projects and executing appropriate methodologies whilst assessing their intellectual rigour.
The Understanding Research Methods Summer School course will be a unique offering to the summer school environment in London. The course is designed for a wide-ranging number of participants whether preparing an undergraduate or Master’s dissertation, or a Phd, or a professional task. It will outline the fundamentals of doing research for students from across the world. Students will collectively develop their understanding of research methods, confidence in designing a research project and executing appropriate methodologies and assessing their intellectual rigour.
For more information, please see the course handbook:
Understanding Research Methods online handbook (pdf; 89kb)
On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Their understanding that different methods and approaches to research reflect a range of intellectual traditions and societal interests
- The ability to assess which methods are suitable for their enquiries
- The ability to design a research project
- The ability to critically engage with discussions surrounding the quality and integrity of research
- Their readiness to tackle further, advanced, consideration of approaches to research
This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system.If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.
Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please fill out our enquiries form.
Start of programme: 29 June - 10 July 2020
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
- 2 weeks
A full programme schedule and updated handbook are being developed and will be available soon.
Sample Reading list:
- Braybrooke, David "Philosophy of Social Science". Prentice Hall. 1986
- Cartwright N and Montuschi E (eds),"Philosophy of Social Science: A New Introduction", OUP New York 2005
- Churchill, H and Sanders T, "Getting Your PhD: A Practical insider's Guide" Sage:London 2007
- Hollis, Martin "The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction." Cambridge. 1991
- Little, Daniel Varieties of Social Explanation: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Social Science. Westview Press 1991
- Patton M. "Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods". Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE 2002.
- Swales J. & Feak C. "English in Today’s Research World". Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. 2000.
- Swales J. & Feak C. "Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. 3rd edition". University of Michigan Press. 2012,
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
The programme is delivered online through a Virtual Learning Environment (intranet page) that sets out the readings for each week, the guiding questions for discussion and hosts the discussion boards. This page provides a platform to share other material such as videos, internet links, quizzes and feedback on assignments. Students also have access to a vast amount of academic and policy-related material through the SOAS library.
Courses are taught intensively over two weeks between Monday - Friday. Students should expect to spend between 4-6 hours per day completing course related activities including video lectures, live tutorials, readings, forum discussion and assignments. Students studying for credit will submit a 2000-2500 word written assignment one week after the course finishes.
Each course is assessed by two online assessments (‘e-tivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 2,500 word essay. The e-tivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve. E-tivities will vary in format but will include article reviews, quizzes, blog posts, essay plans and more. On successful completion of the assessments, students will receive a transcript confirming the credit awarded. Students that do not require credit are strongly encouraged to take part in the e-tivities, but are not required to complete the assessments.
* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)
Students will require regular access to a computer with a good internet connection, and the following applications installed:
- A word processor that accepts Microsoft Word formats (.doc and .docx)
- A PDF reader
Navigating Time Zones
Courses have been designed with varying time zones in mind. All lectures will be recorded for access at any time and the discussion forum is open to posts from students at all times. The limited 'live' sessions will be scheduled between 13:00 - 15:00 BST and will be recorded for any students unable to attend.
Students that successfully complete all course assessments will be awarded 15 SOAS credits. This is normally equivalent to 7.5 ECTS or 4 US credits. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply.
A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.
10% discount if you apply for two courses over 4 weeks
15% discount for SOAS alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)
20% discount for our partner institutions
Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.
The Ambassador Scholarship programme 2021 offers 3 full tuition fee waiver scholarships for highly morivated and academically driven students. Take a look at our Ambassador Scholarship page for more information on how to apply.
Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
How to Apply
Apply now to secure your place.
Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the course within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.
We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Apply now to secure your place.