Singapore University of Social Sciences

Research Methods for the Social and Behavioural Sciences

Research Methods for the Social and Behavioural Sciences (HBC201)


HBC201 Research Methods for the Social and Behavioural Sciences will acquaint students with research methods for the social and behavioural sciences. It will provide students with the necessary foundation in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In this course, students will acquire the research skills necessary to conduct independent research on social issues and phenomena that are of interest to them. The pertinent takeaways for students include an appreciation of the research processes in the social and behavioural sciences; the ability to distinguish between acceptable and poor quality research; and, more importantly, mindfulness of the importance of conducting ethical research with an eye to safeguard the well-being of not only vulnerable populations, but also the wider population.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY REGULAR SEMESTER
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done ENTIRELY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. There are no face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Research: Why Should We Care?
  • From Philosophical Foundations to Real-Life Applications
  • Research Ethics in the Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Research Orientations: Numbers or Words
  • Research Design and Measurement
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Types of Qualitative Research
  • Case Study: Ethnography/Semi-Structured Interviews
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Sampling
  • Types of Quantitative Research
  • Case Study: Survey Research
  • The Politics of Research

Learning Outcome

  • Explain the importance of social and behavioural science research to everyday life.
  • Discuss the key aspects involved in the research process, including problem definition, measurement, sampling, research instruments, and data collection methods.
  • Examine the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative versus qualitative methodologies.
  • Recognise and appreciate the ethical issues within social and behavioural science research.
  • Propose an appropriate research design and method to address different research questions.
  • Analyse existing published research and critique the research methods.
  • Apply the relevant concepts, theories, and research designs to study social phenomena.
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