RESEARCH METHODS

SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 4.00
ECTS Credit Points 2.00
Module Code MMNY24888
Module Leader n/a
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject GCU New York
Trimesters
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

The purpose of this module is to develop advanced skills related to a range of contemporary research methods needed for academic and practical research at a Masters level. Students should be able to critically evaluate new concepts, ideas and evidence from a range of sources and crucially and transfer their skills into practice. Emphasis is placed on written and oral presentation skills at advanced management level. The module further enables students from a range of disciplines within the overall range of taught masters' programmes within the GSBS to receive and engage with a range of research approaches without being pigeon holed into one method. Trimester 1 underpins the basic core principles and allows for an understanding of the intricacies and complex relationships between components of the research process. Trimester 2 build on problem-based learning, experiential learning and learning in context to ensure reflection, synthesis and reflexive learning.

Syllabus

Trimester 1: Instructional Week 1: Lecture Critical literature review Week 2: Lecture Defining the research problem Research Ethics ( Ethics is introduced here but will be threaded throughout the module as appropriate ). Week 3: Lecture Research philosophies Week 4: Lecture Research strategies Weeks 5 and 6: Lectures Data collection methods and types of data Week 7: Lecture Sampling Weeks 8 and 9: Lab based Quantitative data analysis Weeks 10 and 11: Lab based Qualitative data analysis Assessment period: Class tests on quantitative and qualitative methods (25%) - testing core fundamental principles ( this would be supported by formative assessments sourced for independent learning ). Trimester 2: Synthesis Week 1: Lecture Writing the proposal Managing the research project Weeks 2-8: Workshops Research in context - These workshops would be based around the requirements of individual programmes (or perhaps as a Suite of programmes ) to provide context and further breadth/depth as required . Weeks 9-11: Presentations Research proposal presentations - These allow students to develop/demonstrate important communication and dissemination skills in presenting their proposed research. They also provide the opportunity for formative feedback, from both peers (enhancing skills in critically evaluating others' research) and tutors, which may enhance the proposal submissions. Assessment period: Submission of 3000 word research proposal (75%)

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate advanced working knowledge of a range of key concepts, qualitative and quantitative research methods available to researchers.2. Identify and clearly formulate a research topic in the context of particular research area of study.3. Critically evaluate literature, select and utilise appropriate methodologies in the formulation of an individual research proposal for a Masters dissertation.4. Control, organize, communicate and analyse qualitative and quantitative research findings in an efficient and effective manner.5. Apply the forgoing skill to the research proposal for the MSc dissertation.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy will utilize lectures, computing labs, group discussions and presentations from experts in individual fields to support the learning process. Conceptual and framework material will be produced with the lectures and students will be given directed reading of relevant journals and higher level textbooks to analyse prior to the sessions and ensure the process of deepening engagement. GCU Learn will be utilized as appropriate. The module has been designed for delivery in the following modes: a) Lectures delivered on campus for full-time students. b) Distance learning using paper-based learning materials with tutor support and Web-access to library resources. Every student will receive a comprehensive study guide in the form of a module handbook. Feedback strategy - aims Students will be provided with feedback within three weeks of submission. The feedback that they receive is designed to: A: Facilitate the development of self-assessment; B: Encourage dialogue; C: Clarify good performance; D: Provide opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance; E: Deliver high quality information about individual learning; F: Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem; G: Provide information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching. In order to achieve these aims, the following strategies will be adopted by this module: A: Facilitating the development of self-assessment The assessment requirements will be discussed in the introduction to the module. Students will be asked to reflect on the standard of their work. B: Encouraging dialogue Students are encouraged to discuss their comments with lecturers, arrange meetings with academic advisors to review performance. C: Clarifying good performance Students will be provided with information about marking criteria. They will also be provided with examples of assessments to review in order to identify and clarify good performance (as per A). D: Providing opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance Students may find it helpful to identify actions points based on the feedback they have received. E: Delivering high quality information about individual learning Feedback will be provided within 3 weeks of submission, covering strengths, weaknesses and corrective advice. F: Encouraging positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem Feedback will be designed to encourage and be constructive. G: Providing information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching Students, if they wish, may identify where they are having difficulties when they hand in their assignments. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing.

Indicative Reading

Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J., (2010) Practical Research: Planning and Design , Pearson. Sounders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A., (2009) Research Methods for Business Students , Prentice Hall, Remenyi, D. (2012) Case study Research: The quick guide , Academic Publishing International. Remenyi, D. and Bannister, F. (2012) Writing up your research for a dissertation or thesis , Academic Publishing International. Bryman, A. and Bell, E., Business Research Methods , (2011) Oxford University Press. Easterby-Smith, M; Thorpe, R; Lowe, A (2009) "Management research : An introduction", Sage, London. Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An essential guide for business students , Pearson Education. Jesson, J., Matheson, L. and Lacey, F. M. (2011) Doing Your Literature Review , London: Sage. Matthews, B. and Ross, L. (2010) Research Methods for Social Sciences , Pearson.

Transferrable Skills

In addition to the attainment of learning outcomes students will develop personal transferable skills in self management, advanced writing, case study analysis, use of quantitative methods, problem solving and critical thinking. They will seek to encapsulate clear, progressive conceptual approaches and thinking to research projects, while developing a mature and concise academic style of writing. In addition, the students will be able to identify the threats to the validity of research and will develop the ability to scrutinise and evaluate data, research methods and research findings. On completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate an enhanced ability to: 1. Evaluate academic papers. 2. Produce written work of good academic standard. 3. Engage in two way oral communication in discussion with a peer group. 4. Evaluate and select from a range of methodological approaches and provide relevant justification. 5. Perform effectively in the areas of data and time management.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
3 2-hr Computer Labs - Trimester A 6.00
Lectures (FT) 16.00
Assessment (FT) 56.00
11 2 Hour Workshops - Trimester B 22.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 75.00 n/a Research Proposal (3000 words)
Coursework 1 n/a 25.00 n/a Class Test