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How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation

Tom Clark, Liam Foster, and Alan Bryman

Publication Date - 01 December 2019

ISBN: 9780198811060

416 pages
9.2 x 6.1 inches

In Stock


How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation provides a straight-talking, easy-to-navigate, and reassuring guide to support final-year social science undergraduates. Uniquely shaped by real social science undergraduates from a range of institutions, the book includes their advice to help you through with what can be a daunting, but rewarding stage of your degree. From the look and feel of the book, to the development of the chapter content and the advice it provides, students have been involved at every stage of the book's development to ensure it is focused on what's important to you.

Expert advice from real supervisors across the subject disciplines in the 'Working with your supervisor' feature also helps you to make the most of research supervision, and learn from the experience of real researchers in your chosen field. By providing anecdotes, words of wisdom, scenarios, or simply reminders, hints, and tips on how best to prepare for meetings, and communicate effectively, How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation is the most complete guide to facilitate the student-supervisor working relationship.

Dedicated chapters cover all the typical stages of a research project or dissertation in the social sciences, while their carefully constructed structure allows you to quickly and efficiently navigate the content. Throughout the book, you'll focus on three key questions: 'What do I need to know?', 'What do I need to think about?' and 'What do I need to do?'. In so doing, each chapter gives you a clear and direct checklist of actions as you progress through your dissertation or research project, keeping you organized, motivated, and confident.

The book's online resources include a wealth of free-to-access materials, including:

DT Author-led videos for each chapter of the book focussing on key areas of social research including supervision, thinking up research questions and ethical challenges in social research among others.
DT Student videos focussing on key issues in undertaking a research project or dissertation and how these have been overcome.
DT 'Finding your Way' research pitfalls and how to avoid them.
DT General dissertation template.
DT Good and bad examples of various research tools: questionnaires, interview questions, observation plans.
DT Good and bad examples of extracts from literature reviews.
DT Downloadable research checklist.
DT Further reading/research suggestions, broken down by chapter.
DT A list of links to online time-management tools.
DT Research plan templates.
DT Links to freely available datasets.
DT Tips on increasing your sample size.
DT SPSS/NVIVO links/resources.
DT Interactive activity to help narrow down research topics.
DT Mind-mapping tool.
DT Interactive editing exercise to practise writing-up, and making efficient use of word count.


  • A straight-talking approach, and an easy-to-navigate structure, makes this book ideal for busy final-year social science undergraduates looking for focused and efficient guidance on completing their dissertation or research project.
  • The only book to include tips from real supervisors in the 'Working with your supervisor' feature, to help you get the most of your supervisor meetings, as well as advice from other students going through the process with the 'I wish I'd known...' feature, to help you avoid making the same mistakes!
  • Focuses on practical advice to prepare you for the realities of doing a research project: the book tells you what you need to know, what you need to think about, and what you need to do.

About the Author(s)

Tom Clark, Lecturer in Research Methods, The University of Sheffield,Liam Foster, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy & Social Work, The University of Sheffield,Alan Bryman, Professor of Organizational and Social Research, Formerly of The University of Leicester

Dr Tom Clark is a Lecturer in Research Methods at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is interested in all aspects of method and methodology, particularly with respect to learning and teaching. His other interests have variously focussed on the sociology of evil, student experiences of higher education, and football fandom. Tom's work has been published in a wide variety of journals, including, Sociology, Qualitative Research, Social Policy and Administration, Teaching in Higher Education, the Journal of Education and Work, and Qualitative Social Work.

Dr Liam Foster is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Sheffield, UK, who specializes in pensions and theories of ageing. Liam also has a longstanding interest in methods and has published widely in this area, including Beginning Statistics for Social Scientists (with Sir Ian Diamond and Dr Julie Jefferies). He has been an invited speaker at the Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions, the European Parliament in Brussels, the House of Lords and the UN in New York, as a world leading expert on ageing. Liam is a member of the UK Social Policy Association Executive Committee. He is also the Managing Editor of Social Policy and Society.

Alan Bryman was Professor of Organizational and Social Research at the University of Leicester from 2005 to 2017. Prior to this he was Professor of Social Research at Loughborough University for thirty-one years. His main research interests were in leadership, especially in higher education, research methods (particularly mixed methods research), and the 'Disneyization' and 'McDonaldization' of modern society. Alan was also the author of the bestselling textbook Social Research Methods (Oxford University Press, 2015) as well as contributing to a range of leading journals: he was an extraordinarily well-cited and internationally renowned social scientist.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The research process
    3. Getting started
    4. Developing a research idea
    5. Conducting a literature search
    6. Reviewing the literature
    7. Building your project
    8. Ethics
    9. Writing a research proposal
    10. Sampling: which and how many people do I need?
    11. Collecting quantitative data
    12. Collecting qualitative data
    13. Analyzing quantitative data
    14. Analyzing qualitative data
    15. Working with documents
    16. Evaluating your project
    17. Writing up your research