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Researching Everyday Life

  • Module code: SO4005
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None


A key task of sociologists is to understand the routine aspects of everyday life. This module will focus your attention on how researchers have utilised a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop attentiveness to the seemingly mundane that is everyday life and how lives are lived at the junctures of self, family, culture and social worlds. This module aims to ground your understandings of everyday life through practical application of methods and data analysis. You will gain hands-on experience of research skills throughout the module that can be applied to future study and employability


  • To provide you with a critical understanding of everyday life through the broad range of methods researchers utilise
  • To develop your practical research skills in qualitative and quantitative methods
  • To raise your awareness of ethical issues in social research
  • To introduce you to the use of appropriate research software packages to analyse data commonly used in the social sciences

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Understand and discuss the role of research in relation to understandings of everyday life
  • Recognise different types of research methods and their strengths and weaknesses in studying everyday life
  • Consider the ethics of conducting a range of methods and among different groups and communities
  • Demonstrate practical skills in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis
  • Gain research skills applicable to future study and employability

Curriculum content

  • Conceptualisaing everyday life
  • Ethics and ethical dilemmas in conducting research about the everyday
  • Various case studies on how social scientists have researched everyday life will be addressed - such topics will include family, food, home, religion, consumer cultures, television, neighbourhood and city life through the use of interviews, focus groups, ethnography, observation, visual methods, questionnaires and SPSS.
  • Practical application of the above methods through in-class and local field exercises to investigate the everyday
  • Processes of data collection and analysis
  • Writing-up of analysis and findings

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is organised around a weekly three-hour workshop. Workshops will provide you with contextualisation and an explanation of methods and how they have been used to study of everyday life. They will also provide you with opportunities to practice and apply methods to social problems. In-class exercises will consist of lectures, discussions, small-group activities, and media presentations. Other class activities will take advantage of the local surroundings, giving you the opportunity to apply the study of everyday life to a variety of social contexts.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Workshop (3 hour) 66
Guided independent study Reading, skills practice and application, assessment preparation 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The summative assessment for this module is two pieces  of coursework: (1) RA1 is a research assignment where you apply ethical considerations and a variety of largely qualitative methods to assist exploration of the everyday life of a neighbourhood and (2) RA2 is a research assignment where you apply a variety of statistical techniques of data analysis to assist exploration of a topic. The coursework will assess your breadth of learning in terms of your understanding and application of different methods and techniques of data collection and analysis. Assesments 1and 2 provide opportunities for you to apply a range of techniques and methods to real life data and research issues, interpret findings and relate this to sociological and criminological theory, and communicate findings in written and graphical form. Ungraded formative feed-forward comments will be given during the workshops as you work on related class exercises. 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Understand and discuss the role of research in studying everyday life RA1, RA2
2) Recognise different types of research methods and their strengths and weaknesses RA1, RA2
3) Consider the ethics of conducting a range of methods RA1, RA2
4) Demonstrate practical skills in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis RA1, RA2
5) Gain research skills applicable to future study and employablity RA1, RA2

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Research Assignment Part 1 (Qualitative) 50
CWK Research Asssignment Part 2 (Quantitative) 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Brinkmann, S. (2012) Qualitative Inquiry in Everyday Life: Working with Everyday Life Materials. London: Sage.

Field, A. P. (2009) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS: (and sex and drugs and rock n' roll) (3rd Edn). London: Sage.

Pink, S. (2012) Situating Everyday Life. London: Sage.

Scott, S. (2013) Making Sense of Everyday Life. Cambridge: Polity.

VanderStoep, S. W. and Johnson, D. D. (2009) Research Methods for Everyday Life: Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Bibliography recommended reading

Ammerman, N. (ed) (2007) Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barbour, R. (2008) Doing Focus Groups. London: Sage.

Beardsworth, A. And Keil, T. (2002) Sociology on the Menu: An Invitation to the Studies of Food and Society. Hoboken: Wiley & Francis.

Blunt, A. and Dowling, R. (2006) Home. London: Routledge.

Briggs, M. (2009) Television, Audiences and Everyday Life. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Campbell, E. and Lassiter, L. E. (2014) Doing Ethnography Today: Theories, Methods and Exercises. Hoboken: Wiley.

Crang, M. And Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage.

De Certeau, M. (1988) The Practice of Everyday Life. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

De Certeau, M. (2014) Practice of Everyday Life: Volume 2: Living and Cooking. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

De Laine, M. (2000) Fieldwork, Participation and Practice: Ethics and Dilemmas in Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

De Nora, T. (2000) Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge-Obeikan.

Gillham, B. (2000) Developing a Questionnaire. London: Continuum.

Hammersley, M. and Traianou (2012) Ethics in Qualitative Research: Controversies and Contexts. London: Sage.

Highmore, B. (2010) Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.

Highmore, B. (2002) Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.

Hooley, T., Wellens, J. and Marriott, J. (2012) What is Online Research? Using the Internet for Social Science Research. London: Bloomsbury.

Mauthner, M., Birch, M., Jessop, J., and Miller, T. (2002) Ethics and Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Miller, D. (2008) The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity.

Neal, S. and Murji, K. (2015) Special Issue: Sociologies of Everyday Life. Sociology 49(5): 811-1007.

Noaks, L. and Wincup, E. (2004) Criminological Research: Understanding Qualitative Methods. London: Sage.

Pallant, J. (2010) SPSS Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Data Analysis Using SPSS (4th Edn). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Paterson, M. (2005) Consumption and Everyday Life. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.

Pink, S. (2001) Doing Visual Ethnography: Images, Media and Representation in Research. London: Sage.

Rose, G. (2011) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials 3rd Edition. London: Sage.

Rowntree, D. (1991) Statistics without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians. London: Penguin.

Salkind, N. I. (2011) Statistics For People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics (4th Edn). London: Sage.

Saris, W. E. and Gallhofer, I. N. (2014) Design, Evaluation and Analysis of Questionnaires for Survey Research. Hoboken: Wiley.

Silverman, D. (2011) Interpreting Qualitative Data (4th Edn). London Sage.

Truman, C., Mertens, D. M. and Humphries, B. (eds) (2000) Research and Inequality. Abingdon: Routledge.

Venkatesh, S. (2009) Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets. New York: Penguin.

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