Centre for Continuing Education

Research Methods and Design in Social Science Course

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Learn Business Communication the smart way with Business Communication courses at CCE, the University of Sydney.

Research methods and design allow us to better understand the world – one that is increasingly online. This course is designed to provide participants with the necessary skills and competencies to formulate, design and execute social science and business research. Participants will also learn methods to collect, interpret and analyse data that will allow them to answer important questions within their organisations.


This course will provide a practical toolkit to collect, interpret and analyse data about our world, whether relating to businesses or relationships. Participants will develop core competencies to undertake research enquiry from beginning to end with skill sets that would benefit both the participants and the organisations for which they work. This course specifically focuses on qualitative empirical methods commonly used in the social sciences and business management.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • define research questions and set appropriate research objectives
  • collect, interpret and analyse data using main techniques within the social science empirical research inquiry
  • discuss methodological trade-offs and comprehend the logic of each methodological choice
  • recognise common qualitative and mixed-method approaches to social science research inquiry
  • test hypothesis relevant to participants' professional background and formulate research design
  • evaluate research proposal based on feasibility and merit
  • apply research techniques to real-world cases.


This course covers the following topics:


  • Class survey
  • What is research design and inquiry in social science?
  • Qualitative research


  • Empirical research
  • Causation, concepts, indicators, measurement
  • Empirical evidence vs non-empirical evidence

Case selection

  • How do we select cases?
  • Sampling
  • Bias
  • Methodological trade-offs
  • Key qualitative methods
  • Participant observation
  • Interview
  • Survey
  • Ethnography
  • Process tracing
  • Archival research

Ethics and conclusion

Intended Audience

The course is suitable for pre-intermediate students.

Delivery Style

This is an interactive course, and you will learn through a variety of methods including:

  • In-class assignments and hands-on excercises
  • Small group discussion
  • An oral presentation of participant ideas
  • Question and answer sessions with the tutor.


You will be provided with a course pack during class.

Important information

Please bring along your own fully charged laptop/device. There will be minimal power outlets available during class.

Recommended Reading

Punch, K 2013, Introduction to Social Research (3rd ed.), Sage, London, UK.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion
Research Methods and Design in Social Science Course

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