Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SOCS100 Introduction to Sociology ORSOCS108 Contemporary Society and Change

Teaching organisation

A variety of teaching formats will be used including lectures, workshops, and seminars.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Sociologists examine at the local and global levels investigations of interesting social phenomena. Systematic, scientific research methods such as online surveys and digital content analysis allow sociologists to investigate social patterns and relationships in detail. Important questions are addressed using quantifiable methods such as how do the values and life satisfaction of Australians compare to people in other countries? How many Australians are adherents of various religions? Which age groups experience the highest levels of health and wellbeing?  

This unit introduces students to the richness and impact of quantitative research techniques and data analysis in sociology and social science. These techniques provide sociologists and social scientists with important skills for investigating various patterns in the social world. The course covers the conceptual and applied aspects of the quantitative research process and basic statistical analysis. The unit situates quantitative methods within the research process inclusive of research questions and hypotheses, theories and conceptual models, operationalising concepts, research design, sampling, data collection and management, ethics, and statistical analysis utilising computer software packages. The emphasis throughout is on the application of quantitative research methods to sociological issues and social problems. Students are introduced to the impact this kind of research has on designing, evaluating, and administering social policy for the benefit of individuals and social groups.

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the impact of quantitative research on designing, evaluating, and administering social policy for the benefit of individuals and social groups and the most effective ways to clearly communicate quantitative research findings and arguments.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the varied approaches to quantitative data collection and analysis relevant to the sociological perspective and social problems (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Apply quantitative methods to test and measure sociological theories and concepts (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Develop the ability to construct a sociological argument using quantitative evidence (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Critically assess different quantitative approaches to sociological and social problems including research ethics (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)  

LO5 - Communicate quantitative evidence clearly through written and/or oral forms including some terms specific to quantitative methodologies in sociology (GA2, GA3, GA7, GA9, GA10)  

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

  • The research process
  • Advantages and disadvantages of quantitative research
  • Measurement and concepts  
  • Impact of quantitative research on social policy
  • Use of software programmes (Excel and SPSS)
  • Data
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Quantitative data collection
  • Ethics
  • Researching and representing the vulnerable and minorities
  • Data presentation and visualisation 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content in the context of lectures, where ideas are presented to students and tutorials where ideas are explored and discussed. Students build skills in appropriate communication and use case studies to explore how what they have learned applies to real world situations.  

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to achieve the Unit Learning Outcomes consistent with Faculty assessment requirements. Such procedures may include but are not limited to: presentations, reports, worksheets, tests, examinations, essays, research projects. This unit is assessed via 3 forms of work, 2 research tasks and a class test.

The first research task requires students to select relevant official data to analyse and describe a social problem. This task encourages students to apply specific quantitative research techniques to relevant data. The purpose of this task is to introduce students to the methods of quantitative analysis commonly used to investigate social issues, and for students to apply these methods to a social problem so as to gain insight into, and answer a question associated with that social issue. This research task prepares students for the more in depth research task undertaken in Assessment 2.

The second research task requires students to again select relevant data to analyse and describe a social and or sociological problem. In this research task however, students use survey data and engage with the process of research design and data analysis specific to survey research. This research task goes into greater depth than the first research task and is designed to enable students to apply the different stages of the research process to produce an empirical study. Both research tasks aim to illustrate and apply the sociological perspective through the analysis of data pertaining to groups, and to interpret findings with sociological theory.

The final assessment is an in class test, wherein students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of a range of key ideas and concepts crucial to the course as a whole. The purpose of this assessment is for students to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the key ideas, concepts, and techniques associated with quantitative research in sociology and the social sciences. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Minor research task

Students are required to undertake a minor research task that covers an aspect of the course or uses available data to answer a sociological and/or social policy question


LO2, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Major research task

Students are required to undertake a major research task either using available quantitative data or design a formal research proposal for the collection of quantitative data towards a sociological and/or social policy question. Students will include aspects of the research process, ethics, and the relationship of theory and data in the major research task. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

In class test/examination

Students will undertake an in class test/examination covering the topics delivered in this unit 


LO1, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Required texts

Aarons, H., (2021) A Practical Introduction to Survey Design. London. SAGE Publishers.

Recommended references

Babbie, E. (2016) The Practice of Social Research, 14th edition, Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Babbie, E., (2017) Adventures in Social Research: Data Analysis Using IBM SPSS Statistics, 10th Edition. Los Angeles: Sage

Bryman, A. (2016) Social Research Methods, 5th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bulmer, M., Sturgis, P. & Alum, N. (Eds) (2009) The Secondary Analysis of Survey Data, London: Sage.

De Vaus. D., (2016) Surveys in Social Research, 6th edition. Sydney: Allen and Unwin

Frankfort-Nachmia, C. & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2014) Social Statistics for a Diverse Society, 7th edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Fielding, J. & Gilbert, N. (2006) Understanding Social Statistics, second edition, London: Sage.

MacInnes, J. (2017) An Introduction to Secondary Data Analysis with IBM SPSS Statistics, London: Sage

Kultar, S. (2007) Quantitative Social Research Methods, Los Angeles: Sage.

Pallant, J., (2016) SPSS Survival Manual: A Step by Step Guide to Data Analysis Using IBM Spss, 6th edition. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs