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An online short course introducing you to the research methods used in social sciences and equipping you to apply these in your teaching or other professional practice.

Learn from experienced researchers and tutors in our School of Education, with a great track record in research to underpin best practice.

A brilliant foundation to develop, choose or change your career, with all the convenience of learning at your own pace, in any location, and fitting around your work and personal commitments.


This short course introduces you to methods used by researchers to grow your knowledge and understanding in the field of social sciences, helping you to explore how you could apply and use these in your own professional work context.

You’ll find this course very useful as a graduate considering or embarking on postgraduate study, as an introduction or refresher if you haven’t studied for a while.

It’s also an ideal introduction for many professionals, including teachers, who want to explore their own role in more depth, and bridge the divide between research in their professional area and their own daily working practice. Professionals in other sectors will also benefit professionally and in their career prospects, as will anyone thinking of a career change, or simply wanting to distinguish good from poor research in the news which bombards us every day.

You’ll learn from highly experienced academics in our School of Education, and benefit from our strong reputation in underpinning high-quality teaching in professional skills with ground-breaking research applicable not only in the classroom but in many learning and working environments.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of reputation, breadth of expertise, long experience, teaching and research strength, and strong international outlook makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education to grow your skills in research techniques.

We combine over 500 years of rich academic heritage with 21st century innovation and dynamism to create and deliver world class programmes, all underpinned by our inclusive and welcoming learning environment.

Aberdeen is highly rated for the quality of research across all disciplines. Over three-quarters of our research was deemed ‘world-class’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the most recent national Research Excellence Framework (2014) which assesses research strength across UK universities.  

Our School of Education is recognised as a national and international centre of excellence in creative and innovative thinking and practice, with a long and distinguished record in connecting theory and practice in learning in a culturally stimulating, hi-tech, creative environment.

You’ll learn from highly-qualified, experienced staff who bring a wide range of expertise in learning and teaching, and are recognised for research in their specialist fields and the strong partnerships developed with schools and communities, education authorities and other professionals.

You’ll benefit from a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning that will enhance your critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills, combining this with all the advantages of learning in an international online community to suit your location, employment and personal commitments.

You can study this credit-bearing online short course standalone, or as a taster to continue your professional development with a PgCert, PgDip, and progress to a full online Masters programme in our wide-reaching postgraduate portfolio.

What you'll study

Your online programme will guide you through the critical connections between policy, theory, research and practice in the context of investigating your own practice.

You’ll cover the philosophy and methodology of research, and how to implement a research project including design, methods, collecting your data, and the ethics involved. You’ll then explore analysing and interpreting your data, and undertake a reflective evaluation.

You’ll put your learning into practice through designing and conducting your own small-scale research project, enabling you to explore and evaluate how what you have learnt so far could be applied in your own work context.

How you'll study

This online, distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, employment and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an international online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

You’ll be expected to contribute around 150 hours of effort over 15 weeks, including studying online resources, taking part in online sessions with your course tutor, and on discussion boards with your classmates.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you are not alone in your study. Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.


Your end-of-course assessment will take the form of a 3000-word essay either exploring theoretical issues involved in research activity or as a critical appraisal of the small scale investigation which you have undertaken during the course.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will be graduates and will be qualified teachers or other professionals working in a school setting. They must be able to undertake studies related to their own practice in their workplace setting.

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with a 2:2 or above from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted at the discretion of the Programme Director subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of experience, appropriate to the field of study.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.