Social research methods
In our social research methods work, we're investigating the different methods, tools, and techniques for studying social phenomena and generating information and data about all aspects of social life.
The distinction needs to be drawn between qualitative and quantitative social research methods. It is the nature or character of the research – the questions to be explored, the phenomena or processes to be studied – that determines the research design and which methods will be most appropriate.
We use a range of research methods to investigate empirical phenomena and social processes relating to a range of social science topics – including social class, taste, identity, race and racism, postcolonialism, gender inequality, the night-time economy, social values, inequalities, food consumption, consumerism, work and employment, happiness and well-being, and ageing and embodiment.
Our research covers the following topics
- Interviewing/interviews, including life history/oral history and focus groups
- Ethnographic approaches such as observation and participant observation
- Surveys and questionnaire design
- Case studies, archival research and historical method(s)
- Content analysis, textual analysis and semiotics
- Discourse analysis, discursive psychology, and conversation analysis
- Arts-based methods and photo-elicitation
- Social network analysis
- Epistemology and the philosophy of social science
- Ethical issues in social research
- Social criticism and critique
We have partnerships with:
- International Sociological Association (ISA)
- European Sociological Association (ESA)
- British Sociological Association (BSA)
- Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU)
- University and College Union (UCU)
- Vegan Society
- Research Advisory Committee of the Vegan Society
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
Sage Benchmarks in Social Research Series, four volume reference work, edited by Barry Smart, Kay Peggs and Joseph Burridge (Sage 2018), Vol 1 pp liv + 254; Vol II p 335; Vol III pp 379; Vol IV 313
Sage Benchmarks in Social Research Series, four volume reference work, edited by Barry Smart, Kay Peggs and Joseph Burridge (Sage 2013), Vol I pp xiv + 393; Vol II pp 448; Vol III pp 355; Vol IV pp 355
Journal of Urban Design (2018), 1-16, Leddy-Owen, C., Robazza, G., Scherer, L.
Medical Humanities (2018), 44. 158-164, Rutherford, Forde, E., Priego-Hernandez, J., Butcher, A., Wedderburn, C.
Discover our areas of expertise
We're probing the link between culture and power, confronting societal issues, and looking at the ideological function of culture in naturalising them.
We're asking questions around who we are, who is different from us, and who we want to be, to challenge structural violence and reduce inequality.
Interested in a PhD in Sociology?
Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Sociology & Gender Studies postgraduate research degrees page.