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Social research: crime, justice and society

In this module, you’ll take a journey across the social research process, exploring what social research is, how it’s conducted, and why it’s important. Social research forms a crucial part of efforts to shape and improve societies, and you’ll consider the many different ways that social researchers use their research to make a difference. You’ll also learn about gender, race and social class, which are core themes throughout. The module has been designed to leave you feeling curious, inspired, and empowered to think critically about the process of producing knowledge about the social world.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD215
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU FHEQ
2 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module is divided into the following four blocks of study:

In Block 1, you’ll begin with an overview of the social research process, exploring what social research is, how it is conducted, and why it is important. You’ll consider important issues including the factors that drive decisions about what social research receives funding and what doesn’t, how personal and political values might influence social research projects, and who benefits from social research and who doesn’t.

In Block 2, you’ll examine the early stages of the social research process, which involves a researcher’s choice of topic, research questions, aims and objectives. You’ll think carefully about how these choices connect with other important decisions during the planning phase of social research, including decisions around research design. You’ll move on to study a number of different research methods and approaches for generating or collecting data, including ethnography, focus groups, interviews, visual and online methods, questionnaires, and participatory action research.

In Block 3, your attention will shift from data collection to data analysis. You’ll consider various techniques that social researchers use to analyse their data, whether that’s data in quantitative (numeric) form or qualitative (non-numeric) form, such as text, images and sounds. You’ll also think critically about what different types of data can and can’t reveal about the social world.

In Block 4, you’ll explore what social researchers do in the latter stages of social research. You’ll learn about the different ways in which researchers write up and present their research, such as through the production of books, journal articles, blogs, podcasts, radio interviews and much more. You’ll be introduced to the topic of research ethics, considering what makes a research project ethical or unethical. Finally, you’ll explore the many different ways that social researchers attempt to use their research to make a difference in the world around them.

Along the way you’ll also learn about gender, race and social class, as these are core themes that help to structure content throughout the module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a dedicated tutor who will provide you with advice and guidance throughout the module. There will be a range of learning events, both face-to-face and online. Each face-to-face event will offer an online alternative. Although not compulsory, attendance at learning events will help consolidate your learning.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Social research: crime, justice and society starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2021. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    As this is an OU level 2 module, it would be an advantage if you have completed an OU level 1 module in social science as a solid foundation.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Jun 2022 £3168.00

    Registration closes 09/09/21 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2030.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 17/04/2021.

    What's included

    You’ll be provided with two core textbooks that take you through the social research process from beginning to end. You'll also have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • module materials
    • audio interviews and video recordings
    • interactive activities
    • an assessment guide
    • access to online tutorials and forums.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DD215 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.