RESEARCH METHODS

SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 70.00
ECTS Credit Points 35.00
Module Code MMX221449
Module Leader Yvonne Robb
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Business and Management
Trimesters
  • S-B (January start)-A (September start)-B (January start)
  • B (January start)-A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Undergraduate degree at honours level or equivalent. Knowledge and experience of the professional work setting

Summary of Content

This module will initially focus on levelling students' knowledge and skills prior to broadening out their often narrow professionally focused approach to research methods. It will equip students with the knowledge and skills to undertake investigative studies using a full range of methods of enquiry. Beginning with a deeper understanding of the principles of research, the course will provide discussion and debate on the epistemological and methodological perspectives and various approaches to research enquiry. It then provides a broad based knowledge of the range of methods of enquiry available, studying qualitative and quantitative research designs and the methods of analysis associated with them. Throughout, the module will develop the students' critical understanding of the different interpretations and limitations of research, culminating in the ability to critique and review the literature in order to provide insight into a focused research question.

Syllabus

Unit 1 The Nature of Research Enquiry The Philosophy of Research a7 Types of theory and relationship with research a7 What is knowledge? Aspects of the epistemological debate and related ontological issues a7 Leading schools of thought: eg postmodernism, feminism, critical theory a7 Positivism and positivistic approaches a7 Alternatives to the positivist paradigm The Methodologies of Research -720a7 The relationship between theory, methodology and methods -720a7 Philosophical underpinnings in relation to quantitative and qualitative research question development and study design a7 Philosophy of Mixed Method approaches The Ethics of Research -720a7 Implications of the Declaration of Helsinki for Research on Human Participants -720a7 The roles and responsibilities of Research Ethics Committees eg NREC a7 Issues of confidentiality and informed consent. a7 The difficulties of ethical decision-making in research a7 Domain specific ethical issues relevant to the student's discipline. Unit 2 Qualitative Research Design and Analysis Qualitative Research approaches -720b7 Phenomenology, hermeneutics, grounded theory, ethnography, symbolic interactionism and critical social theory. Non-probability sampling -720b7 Convenience sampling, purposive sampling, maximum variation sampling and snowball sampling. Data collection -720b7 Unstructured, semi-structured, focused interviews; face to face, telephone interviews; individual, paired, focus group interviews; observation; documentary evidence (case-notes etc.); internet data sources. Data analysis -720b7 Thematic analysis; content analysis; discourse analysis; textual analysis; interpretative phenomenological analysis, CAQDAS. Ethical considerations Maintenance of rigour in qualitative research Domain Specific Methods and examples relevant to the student's discipline Unit 3 - Quantitative Research Design and Analysis Introduction to Planning and Design -360b7 Research process and planning principles. -360b7 Data collection concepts and principles. b7 Generalisation of results. Exploratory Analysis -720b7 Levels of measurement, techniques of graphical and numerical summarising of numerical information Inferential Analysis Elements -720b7 Null and experimental hypotheses. Significance level. Inferential evidence measures.. -720b7 Power. Sample size estimation. Choosing the right test. Analysis of Count Data -720b7 Two way contingency tables. Chi-square test of association. Measures of assocoation. Two Sample Studies Paired and independent samples studies. Parametric and nonparametric tests. Point and interval estimation of treatment effect. Correlation Introduction to correlation. The concept of cause and effect. Parametric and nonparametric tests. Partial correlation. Domain Specific Methods and examples relevant to the student's discipline -720 Unit 4- Critical Review -720b7 Developing a question. -720b7 Searching for best evidence. b7 Appraising evidence. b7 Organizing and summarizing this evidence. b7 Integrating evidence with subject specialist expertise and deciding how to incorporate the information into practice. b7 Presenting best evidence orally. b7 Presenting best evidence through posters and other formats. Publishing best evidence

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:Block 1 - The Nature of Research EnquiryCritically assess the key philosophical perspectivesDiscuss and evaluate the different methodologies available to the researcher in their professional areaMake informed choices regarding theory/methodology/methods in their researchDiscuss the philosophical underpinnings to their research question developmentEvaluate and apply the ethical principles and issues related to research using human participants in their professional areaBlock 2 Qualitative Research Design and Analysis Critically evaluate the main qualitative research approachesDemonstrate a detailed knowledge of the different types of non-probability samplingDemonstrate a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different methods of data collection in qualitative researchApply the skills required to effectively gather qualitative data (including researcher as instrument)Demonstrate a critical understanding of the different approaches to qualitative data analysisApply the skills required to effectively analyse qualitative data, including the use of qualitative analysis softwareCritically evaluate domain specific methods relevant to their discipline Block 3 - Quantitative Research Design and AnalysisExplain the role of quantitative design and data collection considerations in researchApply and justify design structures appropriate to the context in which research is plannedPerform and interpret a range of two group parametric and non-parametric hypothesis testsPerform and interpert simple association/correlation analysisPerform a simple correlation and regression analysis, and interpret the resultsCritically evaluate domain specific methods relevant to their disciplineBlock 4- Critical ReviewUnderstand the development of appropriate questionsObtain knowledge from a variety of sourcesCritically analyse published literatureSummarise main ideas from published literatureCommunicate competently and effectively on matters within their disciplineUnderstand the requirements and processes involved in disseminating best evidenceCommunicate competently and effectively 'bottom lines' related to questions and scenarios relevant to their discipline

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A range of teaching and learning strategies will be used in the cohort teaching time including lectures, group work, presentations and tutorials, encouraging debate and discussion of the philosophical and ethical issues and different interpretations and limitations of research. At the end of unit two students will be given two short pieces of formative work; one of the assessments will be quantitative in nature, whilst the other will be qualitative.Key experts from across the university will be invited as guest speakers, providing sector specific material. Examples will be drawn from the professional areas and work practice of the students. Appropriate computer software packages both for qualitative and quantitative analysis will be available to the students eg NVivo, SPSS. During the period of independent learning, the use of a Virtual Learning Environment VLE (GCULearn) will provide students with the opportunity to engage in online discussions, enhance their reflective learning and to obtain formative feedback on their work. There will also be the possibility of telephone tutorials

Indicative Reading

-357 Allison, B (1996) Research Skills for Students, Kogan Press. Babbie, E. (2013) Adventures in Social Research, Data Analysis Using IBM SPSS Statistics, 8th Ed. Pine Forge Press. -357 Blaikie, N (1993) Approaches to Social Enquiry, Oxford, Polity Press. The Campbell Collaboration http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/ Clifford, C (1997) Qualitative research methodology in nursing and healthcare, Oxford, Churchill-Livingston. -357 Cochrane Collaboration open learning material http://www.cochrane-net.org/openlearning/ Cox, D R & Reed, N (2000) The Theory of the Design of Experiments, Chapman & Hall. Cresswell, JW (2009) Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches, 3 rd ed, London, Sage. -357 Critical appraisal tools http://www.phru.nhs.uk/casp/critical_appraisal_tools.htm Crofty, M (1998) The Foundation of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process, St Leonards, Allen & Unwin. De Vaus, D. A. (2002) Analyzing Social Science Data . Sage Denzin NK, Lincoln YS (2008) Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. London, Sage. Easterby-Smith, M, R Thorp and A Lowe (2002) Management Research: An Introduction, London, Sage. -357 The EPPI-Centre http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/EPPIWeb/home.aspx Field, A. (2009) Discovering Statistics with SPSS , 3 rd Ed. Sage. -357 Flick, U (2006) An introduction to qualitative research, 3 rd Edition, London, Sage. -357 Greenfield, T (2002) Research Methods for Postgraduates, 2 nd Ed. Arnold. Heeringa, S. (2010) Applied Survey Data Analysis . CRC. Hughes, J.A. and W.W. Sharrock (1997) The Philosophy of Social Research, 3 rd edition, London, Longman. -357 The Joanna Briggs Institute http://www.joannabriggs.edu.au/about/home.php -357 Kvale, S (1996) Interviews: an introduction to qualitative research interviews, London, Sage. Neuman, W.L. (2011) Social research methodsqualitative and quantitative research approaches. London: Pearson education. Oakshott, L. (2012) Essential Quantitative Methods: For Business, Management and Finance , 5 th Ed. Palgrave Macmillan Sapsford, R. & Jupp, V. (2006) Data Collection and Analysis , 2 nd Ed. Sage Silverman, D. (2011) Qualitative research: issues of theory, method and practice. 3 rd Edition. London: Sage. Silverman, D (2010) Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook, 3 rd Edition, London, Sage. -357 What is a CAT? http://www.cebm.net/cat_about.asp

Transferrable Skills

Students completing this module will further develop the following skills: Critical thinking and creativity. Problem solving and decision making. Cognitive/intellectual skills. Knowledge and understanding in the context of the subject. Learning style and orientation to learning. Time management: organizing and planning work. Independent and group working. Planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating own learning and development. Information retrieval skills. IT skills. Communication skills, written, oral and listening. Numeracy skills. Ethics and value management Personal effectiveness Research skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (PT) 20.00
Independent Learning (PT) 490.00
Lectures (PT) 20.00
Seminars (PT) 30.00
Assessment (PT) 140.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
critical appraisal n/a 50.00 50% critically appraised topic (CAT), 4000 words
journal paper/report n/a 50.00 50% journal paper/report, 4000 words