Advice Sought: Social Research Methods Watch

fistedbyfate
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My undergraduate background was in business and I'm posting this thread with regards to advice on taking a new direction for my postgraduate studies. I wish to pursue a sociological (or possibly a philosophical) direction.

A friend, who is studying social research methods, has recommended to me that I study the same for the following reasons: 1) it sufficiently prepares me concerning my dissertation and research methods 2) this preparation is advantageous when seeking funding through the ESRC if I elect to go for a doctorate 3) such a discipline will offer me flexibility in deciding which area to specialise.

I have been successful in applying to study sociology at Manchester and Newcastle although my friend's suggestion seems sensible. I would be grateful for opinions on this matter.

Another issue is that I struggle quantitatively and am wondering whether this would be very disadvantageous to succeeding on a social research methods course?

Finally, I believe my bachelors qualifies me to go to an arguably more prestigious institution - it's a nightmare trying to judge such a thing admittedly with numerous factors concerned, not least the variable league tables. Therefore, I was hoping to receive some feedback on what people think of the two universities mentioned along with LSE, Bristol, Warwick and Edinburgh please?

Any other relevant information I should be considering would be much appreciated.


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fistedbyfate
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Somebody please give me some sort of guidance?


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amypsmith
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Hi,

I might be able to help in general terms, I'm a second year PhD student in political science and have an MSc in Political Communication. You don't mention the level you're intending to study at, but if its a taught Masters then check out the module options - a research methods module might be offered as part of your course so you can learn as you go.

I'm not strong quantitatively either! But I haven't found that this holds me back, in fact I've enjoyed the challenge of learning to understand the methods. Whilst I don't use quants in my own research design, its definitely helpful to understand these methods so you can follow the literature.

Unfortunately I can't help with regards the other universities as I haven't attended them, nor do I know what the departments for sociology are like there. What I would say is that prestige is a somewhat different concept at postgrad level, at least in my opinion, and I'd focus on the standard of research/research-led teaching at the institution and the quality of the course when making your decision.

I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions I'm happy to try and answer them.

Cheers,
Amy
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fistedbyfate
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Hey Amy, thanks for your reply.

I was initially looking at taught masters although my friend suggested that a research masters would be more beneficial to me. I suppose this is something I'm questioning.

A research masters would give me more chance of receiving funding by the ESRC if I opt to do a doctorate I've been told?

Or would a taught masters with elena of research training be sufficient?


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amypsmith
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If you're set on a career in research then an MRes might be useful, or you could apply for 1+3 funding from the ESRC.

That said, I did a taught masters and now am a PhD student funded by the ESRC, most people in my department who are also funded (ESRC or other) did taught masters degrees.

Ultimately, it all depends where your interests lie, and which course you would enjoy most and get most out of. You might find it beneficial to ask the postgraduate admissions officers at your chosen institutions for advice.
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fistedbyfate
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Many thanks Amy, that reply is especially helpful. Best of luck for the rest of your PhD


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