PMCb1005 Basics in social research methodology

Faculty of Social Studies
Spring 2023
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 7 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Mgr. et Mgr. Alena Macková, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. Mgr. Peter Spáč, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. Peter Spáč, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Vlastimil Havlík, Ph.D.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course provides the basic insight into scientific research and methodology. The aim of the course is to introduce the students to key terminology of the field and to all necessary features of research planning. The course starts with introducing the theory of research and scientific literature. The next part is devoted to research design and finally the course concentrates on selected methods and techniques of data collection and data analysis.
Learning outcomes
After completing the course, students will gain knowledge of the basic terminology of research methodology and they will understand the main principles of methods in social sciences. They will further be able to apply this knowledge in planning and organizing their own research projects. More particularly, students will know how to choose a proper research aim, formulate research questions and hypotheses, do operationalization, find necessary data sources and select the appropriate method to realize the research objectives. Overall, the course will provide them with introductory knowledge of research methodology and thus allow them to continue to further improve their skills in more advanced courses concerning methodology and research activities.
  • 1. Theory of Knowledge and Role of Science and Scientific Research
  • 2. Information Sources and Academic Literature
  • 3. Logic of Research (Inductive and Deductive Strategy, Aim of Research, Causality, Quantitative and Qualitative Research)
  • 4. Research Design I (Selection of Topic, Research Aims, Role of Theory, Research in Library)
  • 5. Research Design II (Research Questions, Hypotheses, Concepts, Operationalization, Variables)
  • 6. Research Design III (Population and Samples, Sampling, Research Unit, Sampling Error, Time Aspects of Research)
  • 7. Reading week 8. Experimental Design in Research
  • 9. Survey
  • 10. Qualitative Research - Paradigms, Approaches, Design
  • 11. Qualitative Techniques – Observation and Interviews
  • 12. Analysis of Content – Qualitative and Quantitative
  • 13. Online Research and Research Ethics
    required literature
  • Rosenberg, A.. 2008. „What is the philosophy of social science?“, pp. 1–30, a „The explanation of human action“, pp. 31–64 in Philosophy of Social Science. Boulder: Westview Press
  • Wonka, A. (2007): Concept Specification in Political Science Research. In: Gschewnd, T. - Schimmelfennig, F. (eds.): Research Design in Political Science. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-61.
    not specified
  • Kellstedt,  P. M. - Whitten, G. D. (2013): The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-21, 70-82.
  • Neuendorf, K. A. (2002): The content analysis guidebook. London: SAGE. Chap. 2.: Milestones in the history of the content analysis, str. 27-40. Chap. 4 „Message units and sampling“, pp. 71-94. Chap. 8 „Results and Reporting“, pp. 167-182.
  • Flick, U, E. Kardoff and I. Steinke. 2003. „What is Qualitative Research? An Introduction to the Field”. pp. 3-16 in A Companion to Qualitative Research, ed. by U. Flick et al. London: Sage.
  • Bryman, A. 2012. Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chap.  2.: Social Research Strategies, pp. 18-43.
  • Creswell, J.W. and Poth, C.N.. 2016. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks – London – New Delhi: SAGE Publications, pp. 35-51, 117-146.
  • Complementary Explorative Data Analyses: The Reconciliation of Quantitative and Qualitative Principles, Sudweeks, F., Simoff, S. J. (1999) in Doing Internet Research, pp. 29-55
  • Punch, K. (2000): Developing Effective Research Proposals. London: SAGE, pp. 34-59
  • Blaikie N. (2000): Designing Social Research. The Logic of Anticipation, Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 58-84.
  • Overview: Online Surveys, Vehovar, V., Manfreda, K. L. (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods. pp. 177 – 194
  • Riffe, D. – Lacy, S. – Fico, F.G. (2005): Analyzing Media Messages. Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers: New Jersey. Chap. 1: Introduction, str. 4-9. Chap. 3: Designing a Content Analysis, str. 40-62. C
  • Deacon, D. et al. (1999): Researching Communications. A practical guide to methods in media and cultural analysis. London: Arnold. Chap. 3: Selecting and Sampling, pp. 40-61.
  • Bell, P. (2001): Content Analysis of Visual Images. In: Leeuwen, T. v. – Jewitt, C. (eds.): Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: Sage, pp. 10-31.
  • Babbie, E. 2001. The Practice of Social Research. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company; Chap. 1: “Human Inquiry and Science”, pp. 16-39, Chap. 3: “The Idea of Causation in Social Research”, pp. 68-87, Chap. 11: Unobtrusive Research, s. 304–315.
  • McDermott, R. (2002): Experimental Methodology in Political Science. Political Analysis 10(4), pp. 325-342.
  • Miller, B. (2007): Making Measures Capture Concepts: Tools for Securing Correspondence between Theoretical Ideas and Observations. In: Gschewnd, T. - Schimmelfennig, F. (eds.): Research Design in Political Science. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 83-10
  • Internet-based Interviewing, O’Connor, H., Madge, D., Shaw, R., Wellens, J. (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods. pp. 271 – 289
  • O’Leary, Z. (2004): The Essential Guide to Doing Research. London: SAGE, pp. 28-41, 102-112.
Teaching methods
Lectures, class discussion, individual projects.
Assessment methods
During the course, students will write a research project on a selected topic (40 %). Students will choose from a set of offered topics and they will write a research proposal (up to 2,500 words). The project will include all parts of research planning, e.g. research aims, research questions (hypotheses), operationalization, selection of data and methods. The students will also write two written examination (2 * 30 %). The first examination will take place after the first half of the course, the second examination will be held in the end of the course. In the end of the course, students will have to pass the final written examination (60 % of points). The examinations will include both multiple-choice and open questions. To pass the course, students need to obtain at least 60 % of all the points.
Language of instruction
Further Comments
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.

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