University of Leicester Doctorate of Social Science
The aim of this doctorate degree programme is to provide complete mastery over the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary during conduct of professional social science related activities at the highest levels.
It provides a structured taught component on which to build a research thesis.
Using specifically designed materials, students will gain a thorough grasp of the theoretical foundations of the profession.
The programme will cover advanced theory from a number of different social science disciplines, e.g. sociology of work and employment; sociology of education; human resource management; human resource development; education, training and learning.
Doctoral students will gain knowledge of the range of research techniques available for enhancing professional knowledge and the ability to utilise appropriate research techniques to produce research of publishable quality.
Lecturing at university level and consultancy are obvious alternative career paths for those not wishing to pursue their current careers.
- Researcher in social sciences
We will require evidence of a relevant Masters degree, preferably at distinction level, together with a detailed outline of your initial research proposal. The validity and quality of the proposal will be of crucial significance in determining eligibility for entry.
Applicants will be invited for an interview (via Skype, telephone or face-to-face) before an offer can be made.
Applicants must meet the English language requirements. Unless you are a national of an English speaking country and/or have completed secondary or tertiary education where the medium of instruction was English, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language ability.
Module 1: ‘Introduction to Social Research’
This unit deals predominantly with concerns at the more practical and operational end of the continuum. Subjects covered include: our expectations at doctoral level, and in particular how to develop an appropriate style of writing, writing clearly, avoiding the academic ‘pose’, etc.; searching, evaluating, and managing the literature; addressing ethical considerations — confidentiality, data storage, building trust with respondents; and key considerations in developing a meaningful approach to a research problem.
Module 2: ‘Foundations of Social Research’
This unit deals more with the ‘philosophical’ end of the debates: questions such as what constitutes valid knowledge and how can we obtain it? What exists in social reality? What different approaches are there to these questions? Core conceptual dilemmas, such as the structure–agency dilemma, and the approaches that have been developed to resolving these are looked at. There is a comparison of the philosophy of social science with the sociology of knowledge as starting points for research. The aim of this unit is to encourage course members to adopt a critical and conceptually-informed approach to their intended fields of study, and to address some important fundamental questions which, ultimately, have a profound bearing on how their research should, could, and will proceed.
Module 3 ‘Quantitative Methods’ and Module 4 ‘Qualitative Methods’
These units address questions of methods and methodology. They examine qualitative and quantitative research strategies and techniques. A whole range of techniques is explored: everything from questionnaires and interviews to focus groups and documentary research. Different strategies of analysing qualitative and quantitative data are considered, and, in relation to this, different means of moving between and linking theory and research.
Module 8, The Thesis Proposal
In this module you will develop a relevant research question in the context of established theoretical positions. You will need to consider alternative rigorous research designs in relation to your research question and understand the ethical issues raised by your research question and design. You will also be required to develop potential adaptations to your research.
Modules 5-7 (Specialist Options)
This section of the Doctorate requires candidates to select three specialist options, each of which is assessed by assignment, in order to demonstrate knowledge of the chosen specialist areas within the field. Option availability may vary dependent upon the availability of the teaching and research interests of members of staff. The options currently available are listed below
This option aims to compare and explore what learning is, to identify how learning takes place within the workplace, to examine the mechanisms for assessing and identifying learning and to explore the pedagogies of workplace learning.
Gender, Work and Society
This option aims to explore the gendered nature of work, examine the utility of competing theoretical perspectives, to compare the gendered work experience of men and work to ascertain impacts on work life balance and to examine concepts of equality and diversity.
Knowledge Management and the Learning Organisation
Both knowledge management (henceforth KM) and the learning organisation (henceforth LO) have all the characteristics of managerial ‘fads’: each has been accompanied by an explosion of practitioner and academic literature devoted to their conceptual and operational implications; each has involved a proliferation of neologisms; each has guru proponents with disciple-like followers; etc. However, while KM and the LO may be — and to some degree already are being — replaced by new ideational/strategic models, these terms nonetheless point toward important shifts in the workplace, and highlight issues which, it is argued here, have enduring significance for HRD scholars and practitioners.
Comparing National Education and Training Systems
This option starts with the theory of national systems and then proceeds to see how these translate into classifications of national systems. This is followed by an analysis of globalisation, the force that is transforming national systems, and then moves on to examine how the national systems are responding. However, as you might expect, at the doctorate level the situation is far more complex, primarily because our theoretical knowledge is so under-developed.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Lifelong Learning
In response to economic globalisation, the development of new technologies and concerns about social inclusion, governments across the world are re-examining their approach to both the role and practice of Vocational Education and Training (VET). In addition, the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ is being advocated by policymakers as a solution to their concerns about the growth of the so-called knowledge economy, to the breakdown of traditional certainties such as the notion of ‘jobs for life’, and as a means of increasing social inclusion.
National Culture and HRD
This option aims to introduce course members to the concept of culture and to illustrate its relevance in key theoretical debates in the social sciences. As we narrow down from the more general to the more specific the option moves on to present a series of examples to illustrate how culture has been used as a means of exploring the world of work. In the final unit we explore the importance of culture for understanding patterns in the ways in which human resources develop and are developed at the level of the individual, the organisation, the nation and in the international arena. The pedagogical orientation of this option is to provide a ‘taster’ of some of the core issues and debates relating to the field. The expectation is that the material can be used to obtain an initial grasp on the subject as a whole, and subsequently to form a platform from which course members can explore the suggested reading and beyond.
Youth Transitions, HRD and the Labour Market
This option seeks to explore the problem of youth in the context of labour market and HRD debates. This option will focus on four main issues including – The Transition from School to Work, Young Workers in the Labour Market, Training the Young Worker and finally Young Workers Careers and Identities.
Globalisation: Work, Employment and HRD
This option aims to impart an understanding of work, employment, skills and learning within the global social context. A central objective is to heighten student awareness of the links and tensions between local and global social processes and their implications for HRD strategy and practice.
Work, Employment and Learning Issues in China and Hong Kong (SAR)
This option aims to examine the context of work, employment and Human Resource Development (HRD) in Mainland China and explore the implications of the rapid developments in this area for the Hong Kong (SAR). The option is divided into three units; the rise of China as a global economic powerhouse and its implications for Hong Kong, skill formation in China and Hong Kong and Globalisation and its impact on HR and organisational practices in China.
This module provides you with an understanding of industrial relations, trade unionism and the changing nature of the employment relationship covering issues such as governance, conflict and consent, industrial relations and the multinational organisation.
Developing Public Policy
This module examines the formation of public policy and the legislative framework that organisations have to operate within. The module starts with an overview of the development of different approaches to policy formation from the post-war Keynesian period through to the free-market based approaches of the early 21st Century. Following on from this the module discusses the roles available to the private sector in working with Governmental actors (either at the level of the nation-state or above (super) and below (sub)) and examines the extent to which organisations, particularly multi-national ones, can influence Government policy.
The thesis must be written on an appropriate field of study and is 50,000 words long. The thesis will demonstrate your ability to apply appropriate research methodologies and to analyse issues within the field of work, employment and learning. The thesis must contain original work and be of publishable quality. Doctorate theses have to be defended at a viva in the presence of two examiners. Vivas will take place at the University of Leicester.