Research Design in Social Sciences Codi:  63.500    Crèdits:  5
Consulta de les dades generals   Descripció   Camps professionals en què es projecta   Objectius i competències   Continguts   Consulta dels recursos d'aprenentatge de la UOC per a l'assignatura   Informació addicional sobre els recursos d'aprenentatge i eines de suport   Informació addicional sobre la bibliografia i fonts d'informació   Metodologia   Informació sobre l'avaluació a la UOC   Consulta del model d'avaluació   Avaluació continuada   Avaluació final   Feedback  
Aquest és el pla docent de l'assignatura per al primer semestre del curs 2024-2025. Podeu consultar si l'assignatura s'ofereix aquest semestre a l'espai del campus Més UOC / La universitat / Plans d'estudis). Un cop comenci la docència, heu de consultar-lo a l'aula. El pla docent pot estar subjecte a canvis.

This course is intended for students who begin to build their thesis projects in social science research. The objective of the subject is to give students the basic tools to conceptualize their stiffs in terms of research issues, analytical frameworks, empirical methods and global design. This course aims primarily to be practical: in the end you have to be more very trained to design your own research - and, in particular, the proposal of your master's degree or doctoral thesis.
In this course you will read and discuss different texts related to the design of the research. You will also work on your own research proposal, from an early and short draft at the beginning to a more developed and expanded draft at the end of the course. You will be encouraged to apply the tips and recommendations provided by the course materials to your own project, to improve the basics of research design.
Proposals will be discussed collectively throughout the course in the virtual classroom, in a type of expert (non-blind) review process. Participation in these discussions is therefore a key element of the course.


This course assumes that students have some basic notions about qualitative methods, so the emphasis (beyond discussing each technique that discusses what aspects are believed to be necessary in dialogue with students) will be established in the development of a general methodological approach to qualitative research in the social sciences; just by understanding what we do, what we can do, and we seek to do it in our research, we can use data collection and analysis techniques without losing a certain creative perspective that makes us teachers of our own research.


At the end of the course, the following skills are expected to be learned:

Enabled methodological block advances

  • Mastering of processes and stages of empirical research.
  • Successful design of an empirical research study, especially in terms of its descriptive and/or explanatory capacity, selection of cases and variables, combination of techniques and methods, and consideration of technical limitations and resources available to the researcher.
  • Mastery of logical empirical research processes: deduction and induction, coherence, observation, causation, data analysis, useful and communicable conclusions.
  • Awareness of decisions, challenges and empirical research problems.
  • Know the importance of theoretical development and knowledge other research and literature studies when conducting empirical research.

Social Science Research Design Course-Specific Competencies

  • Understand the basic principles of empirical social research.
  • Know the most important features of research on the interaction of social change and technological innovation.
  • Build and ask a proper research question.
  • Selection of relevant literature and construction of an analytical model.
  • Selection of the most suitable methodology.
  • Conceptualization, operationalization and evaluation of variables.
  • Empirical study design: determination of analysis units and time dimension.
  • Realization of a thesis project (research proposal).


1. Empirical research in social sciences: Introduction.

  • What kind of research are we doing?  What dream do you dream methodological focuses on?
  • Analytical models?  Theoretical frameworks?
  • Presentation of a pre-proposal.

2. Review of literature and formulation of a research question.

  • Research questions will be justified with relevant literature in your field of study.
  • Scary review for proposals.

3. Methods and analysis units.

  • Review (and rewrite) your pre-proposal - a proposal by checking how you have argued the case with the methods you will use and your analysis units.

4. The structure of a research proposal.

  • Study an example of a research proposal according to the elements Discussed so far. Review your proposal based on the elements explored in this example.

5. Presentation of a research proposal. Final draft.

  • Rewrite and release your research proposal.
  • Oral presentation of your proposal (maximum 10 minutes).
  • Presentation of your research journal.


Material Suport
How to teach research integrity? Audiovisual


In addition to the manual, other texts will be provided for each unit, which will serve as a starting point for our discussion.


Babbie, Earl R. (2015). The Practice of Social Research, 14th edition, Boston: Cengage Learning.

Davis, Gordon Bitter, and Clyde Alvin Parker (1997). Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach. Barron's Educational Series.

Denscombe, Martyn (2012). Research Proposals: A Practical Guide. McGraw Hill / Open University Press.


Learning unit tasks
The course is divided into learning units, each unit focuses on a particular skill that we will work together. At the end of each learning unit, you will present the assignment of your learning unit. This is designed to monitor your learning progress and so that feedback is given after each unit.

During the course students are expected to submit the intended assignments (after each unit, 40% of the final grade).

Active participation in class
During the course, several discussion sessions will be conducted in our virtual classroom to jointly address the most important and crucial moments (and difficulties) of designing your research. In addition, you will need to review your peers' proposals twice in the course (at the beginning and end). Their commitment and participation in these peer-to-peer discussions and reviews is essential for meeting the subject's learning objectives (10% of the final grade).

Final research proposal
This is the last task you will have to present in this course, and also the most important one. All other tasks will actually be a preparation for this. The main objective of this course is to help you develop a solid research proposal (50% of the final grade).

As a student
You are expected to be responsible for your own learning process. Reading is essential to assimilate the most important and necessary content and skills of this course. Please make the greatest effort to keep up with the readings, and share all your doubts and questions because we can all participate in this fascinating learning process. Don't forget that meeting the objectives of this course depends on your active work and participation.

It is acceptable and legitimate for you to read, assimilate and use other people's ideas in your work, but you always have to cite the source that has inspired you, and never present how you own the ideas of colleagues, writers or the Internet. Your work will be reviewed by plagiarism and, if detected, the student will fail immediately and be at risk of UOC dismissal. Please protect yourself and give credit to the original authors by always quoting your sources!

Our virtual classroom 
It has different spaces, and each of them will play an important role in our process of interaction and learning.

Bulletin board
The bulletin board will be our "slate." I'm going to publish the important pieces of information there; from deadlines to general feedback messages to important texts, including the important content I want to work with you. Don't forget to check your bulletin board regularly.

This space is, in a way, our virtual coffee. You can ask questions about the course here, but also ask for help, share your concerns, interests. You can use this space to communicate with each other, but please don't forget to treat everyone with respect, even if you strongly disagree with each other's opinions.

Here we will participate in discussions that will be strictly related to the contents of the course. It's a space for discussion, sharing ideas, questions and possible answers. Courtesy and respect are a "necessity" in all academic discussions.

Personal email
Your questions have to be posted to the forum or discussion space, so that we can all benefit from the discussion they will generate. However, do not hesitate to contact me via email regarding personal matters. Comments will also be emailed during the course regarding your assignments.


El procés d'avaluació es fonamenta en el treball personal de l'estudiant i pressuposa l'autenticitat de l'autoria i l'originalitat dels exercicis realitzats.

La manca d'autenticitat en l'autoria o d'originalitat de les proves d'avaluació; la còpia o el plagi; l'intent fraudulent d'obtenir un resultat acadèmic millor; la col·laboració, l'encobriment o l'afavoriment de la còpia, o la utilització de material o dispositius no autoritzats durant l'avaluació, entre d'altres, són conductes irregulars que poden tenir conseqüències acadèmiques i disciplinàries greus.

D'una banda, si es detecta alguna d'aquestes conductes irregulars, pot comportar el suspens (D/0) en les activitats avaluables que es defineixin en el pla docent - incloses les proves finals - o en la qualificació final de l'assignatura, sigui perquè s'han utilitzat materials o dispositius no autoritzats durant les proves, com ara xarxes socials o cercadors d'informació a internet, perquè s'han copiat fragments de text d'una font externa (internet, apunts, llibres, articles, treballs o proves d'altres estudiants, etc.) sense la citació corresponent, o perquè s'ha practicat qualsevol altra conducta irregular.

De l'altra, i d'acord amb les normatives acadèmiques, les conductes irregulars en l'avaluació, a més de comportar el suspens de l'assignatura, poden donar lloc a la incoació d'un procediment disciplinari i a l'aplicació, si escau, de la sanció que correspongui.

La UOC es reserva la potestat de sol·licitar a l'estudiant que s'identifiqui o que acrediti l'autoria del seu treball al llarg de tot el procés d'avaluació pels mitjans que estableixi la Universitat (síncrons o asíncrons). A aquests efectes, la UOC pot exigir a l'estudiant l'ús d'un micròfon, una càmera o altres eines durant l'avaluació i que s'asseguri que funcionen correctament.

La verificació dels coneixements per garantir l'autoria de la prova no implicarà en cap cas una segona avaluació.


Aquesta assignatura només es pot superar a partir de l'avaluació contínua (AC). La nota final d'avaluació contínua esdevé la nota final de l'assignatura. La fórmula d'acreditació de l'assignatura és la següent: AC.

Ponderació de les qualificacions

Opció per superar l'assignatura: AC

Nota final d'assignatura: AC


Qualification criteria

Learning unit tasks  


Final Research Proposal


Active class participation 


Qualification standards

90 -100%


80 - 89%


70 - 79%


60 - 69%


59% or less



Students are expected to submit assignments as planned. Out-of-time submission of orders will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. Students are expected to notify the instructor if they are not able to meet the deadlines.


As a student of this class I hope you feel responsible for your own learning process. Reading is essential to assimilate the most important and necessary content and skills of this course. Please do your best to keep up with the readings, and share all your doubts and questions with your colleagues and I because we can all participate in this fascinating learning process together. Don't forget that success in achieving the objectives of this course basically depends on your active work and participation.


This course is continuously evaluated and there is no exam. The final note will be made from the average between the three continuous evaluation tests.


Feedback will be given for each task with feedback on the positives and how to improve.
General header:

A header is a tool because the student understands what elements are considered in each evaluated task. The following is a rubric that explains how tasks are evaluated given a specific set of results.