The aims of this module
this is a core module. The key purpose of this module is to introduce programme participants to the theoretical foundations and development of personal skills involved in research work. The module content will follow the stages of research, starting with the research problem/question through to the presentation of findings. The process of carrying out a small-scale research project will provide the context for selecting a research question, refining it, designing the study, collecting and analysing data, interpreting and presenting the findings.
At the end of this module the student will be able to:
A critical understanding of the principal research methods.
An ability to identify and address their own learning needs as illustrated by a comprehensive proposal, which includes an appropriate choice of topic and setting for the inquiry, including consideration of the agency and policy contexts.
An ability to seek out and use appropriately relevant resources
The ability to critically review evidence from previous research and show familiarity with existing scholarly work.
The ability to communicate clearly the results of their inquiry, using the full repertoire of the ideas and concepts of the module, including an appraisal of their own role as a practitioner researcher.
An ability to follow ethical, academic and research protocols in their study.
Analytical reflection on their learning emerging from the research process and any future learning needs.
The primary method of teaching the module is via distance learning. The module demands preparation in advance by students and their active participation in seminars and on-line discussions. Intellectual skills will be practiced and demonstrated through these active learning processes. Preparation for classes is directed by detailed reading lists distributed to students at the start of each module.
Knowledge and understanding will be supported by directed study of a range of academic, policy and practical sources (such as research monographs, edited collections, journal articles and research reports) and by the essay.
Summative assessment of knowledge and understanding takes place primarily through the 6,000 word assignment which is submitted at completion of the module.
The assignment assesses the use of a wide range of relevant material, the ability to summarise this material effectively and, the ability to construct and defend a coherent academic argument.