SOC-20060 - Producing Sociological Knowledge
Coordinator: Rebecca Leach Room: CBA0.017 Tel: +44 1782 7 33359
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

This module focuses on approaches to the production of sociological knowledge and sociological truths and shows that the way that we approach a sociological problem impacts upon the kinds of insights we produce. In order to understand the different ways sociological knowledge is made, we start off by looking at the differences between social science, and specifically sociological knowledge, and the natural sciences before moving to consider a range of approaches to the production of sociological knowledge. These include Durkheimian positivism, the Weberian tradition, Popper's theory of falsification, phenomenology, and critical theory. The over-arching aim of the module is to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental relationship between theoretical assumptions about the world and approaches to producing new knowledge through research in the field.

This module aims to:
Teach students about the nature of sociological knowledge and how it is distinctive from knowledge produced by the natural sciences.
Teach students that knowledge is produced on the basis of particular ontological assumptions.
Teach students the range of approaches to the production of sociological knowledge from Durkheim through to contemporary concerns with complexity.
Teach students that approaches to sociological method are underpinned by methodological assumptions concerned with the nature of reality and the best way to access truth.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Identify and explain the distinctiveness of sociological knowledge in relation to (1) the natural sciences and (2) other social sciences, humanities and other forms of knowledge through reference to key sources: 1
Compare and contrast different approaches to the production of sociological knowledge and debate their relative merits: 1
Demonstrate comprehension that truth claims made by sociologists are based upon theoretical assumptions made in the process of producing their knowledge: 1
Mobilise different theoretical approaches for the production of sociological knowledge and demonstrate the potential to apply them in appropriate research design: 1
Explain the meaning of key terms relating to debates around the production of sociological knowledge and demonstrate the developing potential to use these appropriately in their own projects: 1

Study hours

10 x 1 hour Lectures
10 x 1 hour Tutorials
10 hour Lecture preparation (read lecture notes)
40 hour Tutorial preparation (read source materials)
30 hours independent reading
50 hour preparation for assessment

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 100%
2000 word essay
Students will produce an essay of up to 2000 words, outlining and discussing key concepts in response to a defined list of questions roughly corresponding to the number of topics taught. Students will specifically be asked to reflect on questions of research design as part of their essay.