SO4008 - Biography, Sociology and Everyday Life

What will I learn on this module?

• You will develop and apply sociological knowledge and skills associated with qualitative research interviewing: analysing and presenting qualitative data; research ethics.

• You will develop knowledge and understanding of how biographies are affected by agency and the negotiation of social structures (such as ideologies and hierarchies and organisational, social, economic, historical and political processes, contextual and social change).

• You will demonstrate theoretical understanding in relation to social structures and social action.

• You will develop skills associated with the visual and verbal presentation of qualitative biographical research.

How will I learn on this module?

Lectures will be used to provide a broad overview of the key themes and theories which underpin the sociological imagination, changes to the way in which work and employment has changed and is changing and theories pertaining to this. Seminars will be used to clarify and discuss key issues raised in lectures in depth, utilising case studies and students’ experience as well as related reading.

The module will be supported by Blackboard on online reading lists in order to encourage students’ independent use of learning materials.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Students will be supported by the teaching team through seminars and Blackboard, supplemented by one to one tutorials and email. All students will be given contact details and office hours for the teaching team to enable them to book tutorials and ask questions by email.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge and Understanding

An understanding and application of theories which refer to social structures and social identity

Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of how biographies are formed and affected by agency and the negotiation of social structures.

Intellectual/professional skills and abilities
The application of sociological knowledge and skills associated with qualitative research interviewing: the use of visual material in social research, analysing qualitative data and research ethics
Personal Values and Attributes

Understanding of diversity, social inequality, social structures and research ethics.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment 1: (20%)
A twenty question in-class on line assessment which tests knowledge and awareness of ethics social research as defined by the British Sociological Association and British Criminological Association’s Guidelines on Research Ethics.

Assessment 2: Photo Essay (80%)
A ten-minute poster presentation which critically explores the relationship between agency and structure in the construction of a life story/biography.
The student will be required to follow research ethics guidelines in order to carry out a qualitative interview with a person in order to investigate their biography.





Module abstract

This module offers students the opportunity to ‘do’ sociology through sociological research and analysis and the application of social theory. The module supports students in the preparation of ethical qualitative research that sociologically examines the biography of a living person.

Students will develop and apply a range of professional skills and knowledge: research techniques, presentation skills, awareness of research ethics and the application of social theory.

Course info

UCAS Code L300

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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