Social Research in Education

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Social Research in Education at Winchester offers a programme of focused study of research methods applicable to educational settings and educational enquiry. You are equipped and encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of research methods, research design, and the cultural and ethical contexts in which educational research takes place. 


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Course overview

The course helps you to develop advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills, which support you in starting or enhancing a career in research or as a senior professional able to support others in research endeavours, for example in schools.

We focus on research design, which enables you to select appropriate approaches and methods to carry out investigations. It provides you with the opportunity to develop intellectual and practical skills, along with the ability to analyse and communicate complex ideas, and creatively plan and manage an independent postgraduate research project in education. It also equips you with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study.

You study core modules in Quantitative Methods in Social Research, Qualitative Methods in Social Research, and Theory, and Practice and Ethics in Social Research. You may choose to target a particular aspect of educational practice for data collection, although assignments analyse data collection methods, analysis approaches or ethical aspects of the research rather than the content of the practice.

There is also a final dissertation project, for which you choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology and explore it. This may also include an investigation of an aspect of education that interests you. You participate in workshops and seminars, and on-going online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students. These include debating issues such as ethical considerations in research, and help develop some of the underpinning research skills.

What you need to know

Course start date



On campus, Winchester

Course length

  • 1 year full-time
  • 3 years part-time


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Typical offer

A first or second-class honours degree


From £9,550 pa

Course features

  • Develop your skills in research design
  • Complete intensive training in social research methods and approaches
  • Learn to present aspects of research in a range of engaging ways

Course details

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Work experience

Students who are not currently working in an educational setting need to establish clear links with at least one setting for research purposes.

Learning and teaching

Start dates: September

Distance learning available: For research methods modules. Independent study supervisions may be conducted by Skype or email.

Teaching takes place: Weekends. However, the Theory, Practice and Ethics in Social Research module is taught at the summer school in June/July, and one weekend in September.

Workshops and seminars develop some of the underpinning research skills. Students are part of ongoing online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students, and are equipped to present aspects of research in a range of ways.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester


Assessed work includes portfolios of completed tasks, essays, presentations and posters; all assessments are given numerical grades. For the dissertation, students choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology, and explore this through a project which may also explore an aspect of education that interests them.

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes.

Further details on assessment types used can be found by attending an open evening or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures section.


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Introducing Mixed Methods in Social Research

In this module you will be introduced to the selection and use of qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis in social research contexts. This will be done in both empirical and theoretical research contexts and will explore the merits of employing a mixed methods approach. You will consider the theoretical and practical contexts in which researchers choose particular methods. You will reflect in depth on the experience of data collection, in order to refine your skills and to extend your repertoire. You will develop your understanding of different approaches to handling data for analysis using qualitative methods (such as thematic analysis) and quantitative methods (including using data analysis software).

Exploring Mixed Methods in Social Research

In this module you will experience, evaluate and analyse a range of qualitative data collection and analysis techniques, which you will then be able to apply in social research contexts. You will consider the theoretical and practical contexts in which researchers choose particular qualitative methods in both theoretical and empirical research. You will consider the merits of employing a mixed methods approach in greater depth. You will reflect on the experience of data collection, in order to refine your skills and to extend your repertoire. By the end of this module, you will have extensive experience of using different qualitative and quantitative methods, including the use of software-aided data handling. As a key element of this module, you will explore in detail one (or more) method of collecting data, presentation of which will form the basis for the assessment task. 

Theory & Ethics in Educational Practice

In this triple module, you will further extend your understanding of research practice by examining different theoretical positions and approaches to research. You will explore issues of ontology and epistemology and the ways in which these influence choices of research approach and methodology in greater depth. You will develop your understanding of the situated nature of research ethics, and different stances taken by researchers in relation to ethical issues, as well as exploring the ethical demands of research governance.


Independent Study (Dissertation)

The dissertation enables students present a detailed and critical reflective analysis of the use of one or more approaches to researching. In preparation for the award of MRes (Masters in Social Research in Education), students will focus on the research methodology to develop their understanding of research in social contexts. Students will be supported by a dissertation supervisor in the preparation of their work.

Entry requirements

A first or second-class honours degree

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree or professional experience in the area of study.

Course enquiries and applications

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International points required

If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent.

Applications need to be submitted before the deadline published on our website. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information see our How to Apply section. 

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at

2024/2025 Course Tuition Fees 

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland


Full-time £9,550 £17,450
Part-time £4,775 £8,725
Total £9,550 £17,450

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in January / September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,550**.

If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.


Printing and binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a free printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 500 A4 mono pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing. 


We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.


Graduates of the course are equipped to pursue careers in educational research, as research officers working for educational bodies such as local authorities, as contract researchers, or as project officers working on funded projects in higher education or research institutes.

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“The MSc programmes at Winchester provide you with an excellent foundation from which to pursue your career” Steve – MSc Graduate

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11 June 2024