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guide is designed for Sociology, Politics and International Relations
students to help you find resources and support covering social research methods. It may also be useful for students of other subjects but note that social
research methods are often discipline-specific. Always check your module reading list and Moodle course for guidance on recommended resources and contact the relevant Module Leader or tutor for further advice.
The Library holds a wide range of books on social research methods and some selected key titles are listed below. In the JHB Library you’ll find these and other books on social research methods on Level 2. Check the Library Catalogue for full details of what’s available. In many cases earlier editions of these key textbooks are also available and there may also be e-book versions.
Check your module reading lists for titles recommended by your tutors. The module’s online reading list should be available via Moodle or search for it through the Library's Reading lists search.
General books on social research methods:
Alasuutari, P., Bickman, L. and Brannen, J. (eds.) (2008)The SAGE handbook of social research methods. London: SAGE. [E-book]
Bryman, A. (2016) Social research methods. 5th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [300.72/BRY]
Denscombe, M. (2014) The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. 5th edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press. [300.72/DEN and e-book].
Fielding, N., Lee, R.M. and Blank, G. (eds.) (2008) The SAGE handbook of online research methods. Los Angeles: SAGE. [E-book]
Gilbert, G.N. and Stoneman, P. (eds.) (2016) Researching social life. 4th edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/RES]
Gordon, L.E. (2016) Real research: research methods sociology students can use. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/GOR]
Kara, H. (2017) Research and evaluation for busy students and practitioners: a time-saving guide. 2nd edn. Bristol: Policy Press. [300.72/KAR]
Krippendorff, K. (2013) Content analysis. 3rd edn. London: SAGE. [300.72/KRI]
May, T. (2011) Social research methods: the essentials. 4th edn. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Open University Press. [300.72/MAY and e-book]
Outhwaite, W. and Turner, S.P. (eds.) (2007) The SAGE handbook of social science methodology. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/SAG and e-book].
Pole, C. and Lampard, R. (2002) Practical social investigation: qualitative and quantitative methods in social research. Harlow: Prentice Hall. [300.72/POL]
Robson, C. and McCartan, K. (2016) Real world research: a resource for users of social research methods in applied settings. 4th edn. Chichester: Wiley. [300.72/ROB]
Walliman, N. (2016) Social research: issues, methods and process. 2nd edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/WAL]
Books on quantitative and qualitative research methods:
De Vaus, D.A. (2014) Surveys in social research. 6th edn. London: Routledge. [E-book].
Fielding, J. and Gilbert, G.N. (2006) Understanding social statistics. 2nd edn. London: SAGE. [300.15195/FIE]
Holliday, A. (2016) Doing & writing qualitative research 3rd edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.723/HOL]
Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S. (2015) InterViews: learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. 3rd edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.723/KVA]
Mason, J. (2017) Qualitative researching. 3rd edn. London: SAGE. [300.72/MAS]
Ritchie, J. et al. (eds.) (2014) Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. 2nd edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/QUA]
Silverman, D. (2013) Doing qualitative research. 4th edn. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/SIL]
Books on Politics research methods:
Burnham, P., Gilland, K. and Grant, W. (2008) Research methods in politics. 2nd edn. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. [E-book]
Halperin, S. and Heath, O. (2017) Political research: methods and practical skills. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [320.072/HAL]
Johnson, J.B., Reynolds, H.T. and Mycoff, J.D. (2016) Political science research methods. 8th edn. Los Angeles: SAGE Reference/CQ Press. [320.072/JOH]
Reference books:These may be helpful for getting an overview and looking up unfamiliar terms:
Cramer, D. and Howitt, D. (2004) The SAGE dictionary of statistics: a practical resource for students in the social sciences. London: SAGE. [300.15195/CRA]
Elliot, M.et al. (eds.) (2016) A Dictionary of Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available online through the database Oxford Reference.
Given, L.M. (2008) The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods. Los Angeles: SAGE. [E-book]
Gomm, R. (2009) Key concepts in social research methods. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. [300.72/GOM]
Jupp, V. (ed.) (2006) The Sage dictionary of social research methods. London: SAGE. [300.72/SAG and e-book]
Miller, R.L. and Brewer, J.D. (eds.) (2003) The A-Z of social research: a dictionary of key social science research concepts. London: SAGE. [300.72/AZO and e-book]
Schwandt, T.A. (2007) The SAGE dictionary of qualitative inquiry. Los Angeles: SAGE. [300.72/SCH]
SPSS (produced by IBM) is a statistical package designed to present and analyse quantitative data. The software is available on networked computers across Brookes University. The
University's SPSS licence also allows you to install the package on your own computer
for free. This PDF guide shows you how to install the software and give details of help resources.
Mauthner, M. (2002) Ethics in qualitative research. London: SAGE. [174.930072/ETH]
T. (2012) Ethics in qualitative research. 2nd edn. London: SAGE. [174.930072/ETH
Oliver, P. (2010) The
student's guide to research ethics. 2nd edn. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. [e-book]
Check your reading list for other recommended titles.
Examples of ethics guidelines:
Oxford Brookes University Research ethics
ESRC The Research Ethics Guidebook: Key
Social Research Association Ethics guidelines
The following journals publish articles which
discuss and debate specific social research methods. They may be particularly useful if you need to do a critical review of the research methods used in a particular
Statistics and data
Survey Question Bank (SQB): UK Data Service Discover provides access to the questionnaires, in PDF format, from a range of major UK social surveys conducted, for the most part, since the mid-1990s. These questionnaires - which are fully searchable - are displayed in their original context, allowing users to better understand the context in which a particular question was asked. Other content includes expert commentary on studies and key variables, bibliographies and web links. Actual data files are not available.
Finding secondary sources
The Library’s Subject Help pages give you guidance on researching secondary sources in specific subjects, plus links to relevant resources.
You’ll also find contact details for your Academic Liaison Librarian who will be happy to give you further advice. Contact your Librarian for help with:
general help, tips and videos on finding information, check the Library’s Teach Yourself pages
Evaluating web sources
There’s a huge amount of information freely available on the Internet, but you need to be careful when selecting web sources for your academic work. To help you decide what web sources are appropriate at university level, take a look at our guide to Evaluating Web sources
is the University's study advice service offering help to student on statistics,
maths and study skills. They offer: