SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MML321384
Module Leader Margaret-Anne Houston
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Economics
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Undergraduate Degree or equivalent.

Summary of Content

Research design is concerned with how we conceptualise the research process prior to and also during research practice. It is about the fit between research questions, the research focus, the relation between questions and methods of data collection, and the 'fit' between all of the latter and the underpinning theoretical and methodological foundations on which the research is based. Of course all of the latter are adjusted and altered during the course of carrying out the research. However adjustments and alterations are not ad-hoc knee-jerk reactions, but occur against the backdrop of a coherent design and so are more likely to be practical and reasoned responses to the situation at hand. In this sense, research design provides the glue that holds the research project together. A design is used to structure the research, to show how all of the major parts of the research project -- the samples or groups, measures, treatments or programs, and methods of assignment -- work together to try to address the central research questions. Research also requires effective management to complete the range of tasks involved. Students are introduced to the research project management cycle and its constituent parts. Here, the aim is to improve the competencies of researchers to enable them to better manage their work.


1. Introduction 2. Formulating research problems 3. Health & Safety, Research Ethids and Utilisation 4. Methodologies, Methods and Sampling Choices 5. Evaluation and Theorising Research Design 6. Research and Community/Space 7. Research Cycle and Time Management 8. Managing your Research Project Selection of informal mini-lectures from GCU researcher Formative Assessment on Research Project Design

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:- plan the management of a research project- design a research plan/proposal- undertake a critical and reflexive appreciation of alternative approaches to research design. - reflect on the relationship between research design and the research process - Identify and appraise the methods and methodological strategies that are used in research

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module includes a series of tutorials led by subject experts. Through this module students will glean knowledge by learning from more experienced researchers. Typically, an informal presentation by the subject expert is followed by a group discussion and question/answer session. Some classes will comprise workshop activity in which resources are used and appraised. All classes will direct students to relevant follow-on reading. Although tutor-led, students will be expected to devise their own programme on post-class learning, following-up on issues raised in the class.

Indicative Reading

-772 Electronic Sources -771 'Social Research Update' -153-771 The ERSC Research Methods Programme Seale, C. (2004) Researching Society and Culture. Sage companion website: Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press companion website: <> Leadership Development for Principal Researchers : Developed by the University of Leicester, University of Cambridge and Loughborough University in partnership with Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and University College London and funded by HEFCE's Leadership, Governance and Management Fund. The project is conceived as a resource, which according to the website: "aims to help new Principal Investigators navigate the bewildering array of leadership and management responsibilities that come with this role. It provides guidance and support in five key areas: (i) Leading a Research Team; (ii) Legal and Ethical Issues; (iii) Developing Your Researchers; (iv) Managing Your Research Career; and (v) Managing Research Finances. References to some (but not all) of the resources are listed in the pages that follow <> Vitae (http:// <> ) -the national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education and research institutes. Leadership Development for Principal Researchers ( <> ) - provides guidance and support in leading research teams. -153-772 Key Texts Bell J. (2005) Doing your Research Project. Edn 5. Open University. -153 Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods . Oxford University Press. Corbetta, P. (2003) Social Research: Theory, Methods and Techniques . London: Sage. Cresswell,J.W. (2009) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 3 rd Edition. Sage. [300.72 CRE LOND.] Gatrell, J.D. et al. (2011) research Design and Proposal Writing in Spatial Science. Springer EBooks. Hallowell, N. et al (2004) Reflecting on Research , Maidenhead: Open University Press. Hunt A. (2005) Your Research Project- How to Manage it. Routledge. Knight P. (2002) Small-Scale Research. Sage. -153 Kumar, Ranjit (2005) Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners, 2 nd Edition . London: Sage. Leedy, PD and Ellis J, (2010) Practical Research: Planning and Design. 9 th Edition. Pearson. (001.4 LEE LOND.) May, T. (2001) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process . Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Seale, C. (2004) Researching Society and Culture, 2 nd Edition , Sage, London. Seale, C. (2003) Social Research Methods: A Reader , London: Routledge. Sharp J. (2002) The Management of a Student Research Project. Gower. Tarling R. (2005) Managing Social Research: A Practical Guide. Gower. Yates S. (2003) Doing Social Science Research. Sage.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students should have gained competence in the following: Intellectual abilities and skills , i.e. those which are acquired through use of learning resources and immersion in research/study contexts. In particular this will involve assessment of the merits of contrasting explanations, and critical interpretation of resources, but it will also involve the development of reasoned argument. Key skills , i.e. those acquired through HE level study. In particular this will involve learning skills, but it will also involve numeracy, written skills, oral skills, observational skills, and skills in information management. Social skills , i.e. personal attributes that are fostered via advanced study in HE. In particular this will involve empathy and insight, but it will also involve working independently and with others, self-management, motivation, awareness of responsibilities, intellectual integrity, and adaptability

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 16.00
Seminars (FT) 4.00
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% Research Proposal: 3000 word research proposal and project management plan