BESC2071 Applied Social Research

Bachelor Course Unit

BESC2071 Applied Social Research

Level: 2nd year
Credit points: 3
Prerequisites: Social Analysis

Unit description

This unit introduces students to the practice and theory of social research. It provides students with the necessary information to understand the importance of research to the field of applied social science and its applications to program evaluation, policy development, and practice.

In studying this unit students will have an opportunity to develop a complete research proposal in the subject area of fieldwork undertaken in Developing Professional Practice which utilises the skills and knowledge they will acquire throughout the unit.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the three primary approaches to social science research: positivism, interpretivism and critical social science and their respective positions in relation to the scientific status of research
  • demonstrate an understanding of the various steps involved in designing and implementing a social science research or evaluation study
  • be familiar with a range of qualitative and quantitative social research methods and understand when each should be used in social research
  • have developed some useful research skills, namely developing research questions, critically evaluating other research, conducting literature reviews and developing a research proposal
  • have had firsthand experience in using a number of common research methods, in particular, observation, questionnaire development, in-depth interview, focus groups, contents analysis and textual analysis
  • have an understanding of the different ways in which data can be analysed for quantitative and qualitative approaches and of the use of technology in the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data
  • understand the ethical issues involved in research and be able to apply ethical guidelines for social science research

Unit content

  • The Nature of Social Research
  • Research Paradigms
  • Research Ethics
  • Research Methodologies – Quantitative Methods
  • Quantitative Research – Data Collection
  • Qualitative Research – Observation/ Content Analysis; Data Analysis
  • Qualitative Research Methodologies
  • Qualitative Research – Data Collection: The In-Depth Unstructured Interview and Focus Groups
  • Qualitative Research Methods – Ethnographic Research, Textual and Discourse Analysis, Data Analysis, and Mixed Methods
  • Outcomes-Based Research in the Helping Professions
  • Participatory Action Research/Critical Research
  • Issues for Research in the Social Sciences – The Politics of Research

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Regular Term



Word count


Preliminary research proposal




Literature review




Final research proposal




Summer School (2014)



Word count


Short Answer Questions




Case Study/Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Knowledge of the framework of counselling theory, and a foundational understanding of the major theories of counselling
  • Understanding of and the appropriate application of counselling skills in a range of contexts and circumstances
  • Understanding what constitutes ethical practice in counselling interactions
  • The ability to effectively and appropriately apply the micro and macro skills of counselling
  • The ability to recognise major transition points in human development and major forms of mental illness and know when and how to appropriately refer clients

Recommended text

Babbie, E. (2010). The practice of social research (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Relevant journals

Communication Research
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Counsellor Education and Supervision
Quality of Life Research
Social Research
Social Work Research
Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Journal of Research on Adolescence
Social Science Quarterly
Social Forces


Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.