02506 - Social Sciences Methodology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Andrea Bassi

  • Credits 8

  • SSD SPS/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on some central themes of the Methodology of empirical Research in the Social Sciences.

At the end of the course - which does not presuppose any previous skills - the student:

- has a basic knowledge of some central themes of the Epistemology of empirical Research;

- is aware of the main techniques of data collection; knows how to apply logic elements in the preparation of research design and in the interpretation of the results of an investigation;

- is aware of the characteristics and problems inherent in the operation of the research properties;

- is able to use monovariate and bivariate statistical analysis techniques.

Course contents

The course is dedicated to students who have never dealt with topics related to the Method and techniques of Social Research, neither from the theoretical point of view nor from the empirical point of view.

Those who, during the three-year course, have passed an examination of the Methodology of Social Research or Social Statistics are already in possession of the skills transmitted in this teaching and are, therefore, invited to attend advanced courses.

The course aims to reconstruct the debate on the Method in the social sciences and aims to offer students a framework of the strategies and techniques of detection and analysis most frequently used in socio-political empirical research. The teaching will deal with the following topics: logic of social research; analysis of the method for social research; standard and non-standard approaches to social research; operationalization and operational definition; concepts and indicators; construction of a questionnaire and coding of the data in the matrix; sampling techniques; types of properties and variables; presentation and discussion of the results of an investigation; basic statistical data analysis techniques (descriptive).

At the end of the course the student is expected to: be able to set up a research design; to critically evaluate the quantitative and qualitative empirical investigations presented in journals and/or academic publications; have the ability to find information by consulting the available databases; manage to independently apply the basic statistical analysis techniques for the description of economic, political and social phenomena.


Foundamental Texts:

1a) Corbetta P., La ricerca sociale: metodologia e tecniche. Voll. I, II, III, IV, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2015 (seconda edizione).


1b) Corbetta P., Metodologia e tecniche della ricerca sociale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2014 (seconda edizione).

2) Bassi A. (2019), Questioni di metodo 2.0, Franco Angeli, Milano.

3) Bassi A. (2016), Il vero, il bello e il giusto. Tre criteri relazionali per valutare la validità del discorso scientifico nelle scienze sociali, «SOCIOLOGIA E POLITICHE SOCIALI», 2016, 19, pp. 98 - 126.

Readings: one text among the following ones:

1) Max Weber, Il Metodo delle Scienze Storico-Sociali, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino, 1997 (Ed. originale 1922).

2) Emile Durkheim, Le Regole del Metodo Sociologico, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino, 2008 (Ed. originale 1894).

3) Charles Wright Mills, L'immaginazione sociologica, Il Saggiatore, Milano, 1995 (Ed. originale 1959).

4) Edgar Morin, Scienza con Coscienza, Franco Angeli, Milano, 1988) (Ed. originale 1982).

5) Pierre Bourdieu, Il mestiere di Scienziato, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2003 (Ed. originale 2001).

Teaching methods

During the lessons electronic and audio visual instruments, Databases and Software for statistical analysis will be used.

The active participation of the students in group and laboratory activities will be fostered.

Assessment methods

The final exam will take place in oral form.

Attending students will be able to take a partial test, which will take place at the 2/3 of the program.

The partial proof will consist in elaborate a written essay starting from a track containing four questions with open answers. During the mid-term test, the use of the mobile phone to perform calculations will not be allowed. We therefore recommend that you have a calculator with you.

In the case of attending students, the final grade will be given by the average of the marks obtained in the intermediate exam and in the oral question.

Teaching tools

Video Projector, PC, Statistical Software, Flip chart.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Bassi