Pages from the University of Portsmouth suitable for a-level sociology students. The resources mainly cover research methods (questionnaires, interviews, observation…) and a little bit of methodology…

Over the past few months you may, or more-probably may not, have noticed that I’ve posted a range of crime and deviance resources on theories of crime, policing and so forth from the University of Portsmouth.

Despite the well-documented problems encountered in tracking-down and assembling these resources, I decided to have a look around to see if there were any further resources available on other topics suitable for a-level students. As luck – or what I prefer to call good solid detective work – would have it, there were. On the flipside, however, is the fact they relate to most people’s least favourite module, Research Methods (or as the Unit is self-described, an Introduction to Research Skills).

As with the majority of the resources across different topics, they’re a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to content and presentation: some pages and modules seem to have had a lot of care and attention lavished on them, while others are just a page or so of plain text. Whether this reflects a deliberate policy or the fact that money and / or enthusiasm for the project ran out I’ve no idea. The resources are, however, generally pitched at a level suitable for a-level students and could be used in a variety of ways (such as flipped learning) to help students get to grips with research methods.

Tech Note: Depending on the age and type of your browser, you may find there are a few display issues with the resources listed below.

At a guess I’d say the problem is with the site’s use of Frames (and some less than competent programming…) to display menus and information: as a rough guide the newer the browser, the greater it’s reluctance to have any truck with Frames (although Google Chrome tends to cope better than Microsoft Edge). If you’re trying to view the resources on a mobile device – particularly a smartphone – you may find things don’t display as they were intended – if at all.

Be that as it may, these issues have a couple of work-arounds that should allow you to see the resources:

1. If the main information window doesn’t load correctly you may see a blank window with a menu to the left. If this happens try refreshing your browser and the main window should load correctly. Alternatively, click the on-screen arrow to close the menu, click it again to open it and select an option. This seems to refresh the main window correctly.

2. If you see an “access denied” message in the main information window click the module title link to the right of the page navigation menu (First, Previous, Next, Last…). This takes you to a page where you have the option to “View This Resource”. Clicking this link should make everything work okay.

1. Doing Methodology
• Reading Research and Understanding Research Methodologies
• Methodology and Method
• Primary and Secondary Data
• Triangulation
• Who Does Research?
• Disciplinary Influences

2. Questionnaires
• What is ‘Primary Data Collection’?
• Questionnaire Design
• Reliability and Validity
• Types of Question
• Pilot Study
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Questionnaires

3. Documentary and Content Analysis
• What is Secondary Data Analysis?
• Documentary Analysis
• Content Analysis
• Advantages & Disadvantages of Analysing Written Documents for the Purposes of Research

4. Interviews
• Interviews and Level of Structure
• Conducting Good Interviews
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Interview Structure

5. Observations
• Observational Research
• Types of Observation
• Observation and Research Design
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Conducting Observational Research

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