This group of resources from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) looks at methods of conducting social research and the ethical questions to be considered. Resources explains the qualitatitive and quantitative methods used, and allows students to debate important questions about how research is conducted. A case study puts the methods and theory into context.

ESRC is part of Research Councils UK (RCUK).


Social Research: How Does It Work? What Is Research For?

This resource looks at what social researchers do and why they do it. Research is recognised as vital for expanding our knowledge, providing vital information for government and other agencies, as well as helping us to understand our own society and those societies which are beyond our own experience.


What Makes Good Research?

This resource explains how important it is that social research is conducted in a scientific way, following definite rules that have been developed over time with the aim of ensuring that the results are not just the product of the researcher’s own beliefs.

The paper stresses the importance of research being...

Ethics: Participants' Interests, Confidentiality and Consent

This resource looks at research ethics and the importance of confidentiality in research projects. Researchers must be aware of ethical issues and the effects that their research can have on research participants.

The information sheet raises questions that can be debated in classroom lessons and encourages...

Case Study: the Family, Continuity and Change

This resource presents a case study showing how one project used qualitative and quantitative methods of research to discover how much families have changed over the decades since the 1960s.

The case study shows how ethnographic research, studying people in their own environment, is conducted. Data gathered...

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