Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module SOCI57815: Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Department: Sociology

SOCI57815: Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (SOCI 59215)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to introduce students to the general nature of the quantitative programme in social science.
  • to outline the role of quantification in the exploration of the social world.
  • to consider the possibility of quantitative specification of causality in social science.


  • Complex realism and quantitative social science.
  • Numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis.
  • Case-based methods and QCA.
  • Simulation techniques.
  • Social network analysis.
  • Representing complex systems and exploring complex cause.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students will:
  • understand how to employ appropriate procedures in quantitative research;
  • understand the essential principles of secondary data analysis;
  • understand the application of quantitative modelling procedures to real data sets;
  • understand and be able to use processes of numerical taxonomy;
  • understand the logic of configurational methods including qualitative comparative analysis (QCA);
  • have been introduced to the role of simulation in social science.
  • have been introduced to social network analysis methods.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be capable of designing a quantitative study of causal complexity using suitable data and appropriate techniques of analysis.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • During periods of online teaching, for asynchronous lectures in particular, planned lecture hours may include activities that would normally have taken place within the lecture itself had it been taught face-to-face in a lecture room, and/or those necessary to adapt the teaching and learning materials effectively to online learning.
    • The module will be taught by way of ten two-hour sessions. Sessions, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 will be taught in the form of an interactive lecture interspersed with small group activities and whole group discussions. Sessions 3, 5, 7 and 9 will involve practical instruction in the IT lab.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Other: Combined lecture/seminar (sessions 1-6 & 10) and IT practical (sessions 7-9) 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
    Preparation and Reading 130
    Total: 150

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Assignment 3000 words 100% Yes

    Formative Assessment:

    One 1500 word essay which asks students to outline the methodological and philosophical features of one of the methods taught on the module. This allows students to test their understanding of these conceptual and methodological issues which are examined as part of the later summative assessment.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University