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Social research methods

Explore our work in social research methods, one of our 4 areas of expertise in Sociology


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

Partnerships

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

Publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Social research methods is one of 4 areas of expertise in our Sociology research area. Explore the others below.

Research groups

We're researching issues around citizenship and why people are considered to belong within certain nation-states.

Interested in a PhD in Sociology?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Sociology & Gender Studies postgraduate research degrees page.

 

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