Social research methods
Exploring the methods, tools and techniques for studying social life
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, education, social values, inequalities, food consumption, consumerism, work and employment, happiness and well-being, homelessness, ageing and embodiment, and environment.
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 theory 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)
- The Vegan Society
- Research Advisory Committee of the Vegan Society
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
- St Mungo's
- The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Sociology of culture
Identities and inequalities
This group is a hub for interdisciplinary exchange on questions of theory and methodology in the study of contemporary society.
This group seeks to open up opportunities to share and explore critical, radical, alternative and liberatory approaches to the research and practice of education across multiple global contexts.