Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
January 2023
University Certificate of Study
NFQ Level 8
Faculty: Sociology
Course Type: Professional/Flexible


Name: Professor Ross Macmillan
Email: Telephone: 00 353 61 213578

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Brief Description

Next Intake January 2024

Please ensure you enter the Module Code above when applying for this module. Applications without this cannot be processed. You may apply for more than one module under the same application.

Social dynamics of the modern world both challenge existing data collection practices and provide new opportunities for innovation and creativity. This module provides a broad and synthetic overview of data collection approaches that span the social sciences.

The module discusses broad issues around data collection that highlights the unique features of contemporary, IT driven world that shapes data, its meaning, and its uses. Learners will discuss the dominant modes of data collection across the social sciences and interrogate why particular disciplines prioritise particular methods over others.

Focus will then turn to the digital world and consequent opportunities and strategies for unique data collection (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Learning outcomes:

On the successful completion of this module participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the social factors that influence data collection  
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how social differences may influence the collection of data and what types of data can be collected
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how different types of data speak to different types of issues or questions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how and why certain types of fields prefer different data collection strategies and why
  • Gain a broad understanding of how social differences and social stratification in general (e.g., ethnicity, nativity, social class) influence social data, its availability, and its validity and reliability
  • Develop a value orientation towards data that allows one to understand how different types of strategies capitalise on (or minimise) differences based on social location
  • Develop an understanding of the ethical issues around social data in the modern world


There is no final exam for this short-course. You will be assessed through 1-2 continuous assignments, provided by your lecturer and tutor.


A minimum Level 7 qualification. It is recommended that applicants first complete the “Data Literacy for the 21st Century” Micro-Cred.