RESEARCH IN PRACTICE - 2018/9

Module code: POLM011

Module Overview

The module has a strong practical focus and students will, as part of the course, gain experience of using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and applying their knowledge of research methods.

Over the course of the module, students will conduct a small individual research project. To support this process, they will be allocated to a group of 3-4 students (ideally conducting research on a similar theme). Group members will be expected to meet regularly, act as ‘critical friends’ to one another, and discuss the similarities and differences in their individual approaches to the research project. In the final session, the small groups will be required to give a group presentation, exploring some of the methodological issues which emerged through their regular group discussions.

In each session, approximately 15 minutes will be devoted to checking on progress with individual research projects and group discussions, and dealing with any problems that have arisen.

 

Module provider

Politics

Module Leader

MIDDLETON AF Dr (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: X200

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

POLM009 Introduction to Research

Module content

The sessions will run as follows:

Introduction to the module; allocation of students to small groups and the setting up of the research project.

Using the internet and official statistics in political research (a hands-on session run in the library)

Qualitative Research in Practice: Interviewing – designing interview schedules and conducting interviews; Analysing documents; Using computer packages for the analysis of qualitative data

Quantitative research in practice: Questionnaires – designing and piloting; Using computer packages for the analysis of quantitative data (two hands-on sessions using the SPSS programme)

Presentation of research projects: Group presentations and methodological reflections on highly marked PGT dissertations

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 15
Coursework RESEARCH PROJECT (4000 WORDS) 85

Alternative Assessment

An alternative assessment for the group presentation is as follows: an 800 word evaluation of selected existing dissertation, particularly focusing on a critique of the methodology employed.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

·         The ability to select appropriate methods to answer a research question

·         The selection of practical research methods (i.e. in the face of time pressure/availability)

·         Develop a project of interest from start to finish (including analysis)

·         Work as a group to resolve issues in regards to projects

·         Present as a group and participate in discussion

·         The ability to effectively critique methodologies and offer alternatives

Students will be assessed through completion of two pieces of assessment:

Participation in a Group Presentation (15% of final mark)

Individual Research Project, 4000 words (85% of final mark)

Module aims

  • This module aims to build on the introductory research methods module and develop students' practical skills at conducting research. It will provide an opportunity for students to design instruments for collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, and then to gain experience of analysing both types of data through relevant software packages. Students are also expected to apply at least some of these methods of data collection and analysis to their own research project, which they will conduct over the course of the module.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify the basic principles underpinning the design of various research instruments adopted by political scientists KC
002 Understand the theoretical and practical implications of using particular methods of data collection and analysis, and apply this understanding critically to own research project as well as the evaluation of published work KCPT
003 Practice in the design and use of different research methodologies (see module content below) and use SPSS to construct databases and analyse qualitative and quantitative data KCPT
004 Design a research project, following the format of a PGT thesis, select appropriate methods of data collection and analysis (experiments, surveys, interviews, document analysis) and present the findings orally and in writing KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Provide students with practical experience of various research methods
Give students confidence in applying research methods to projects
Enhance student understanding of methodological practicality
Encourage collaboration via group project
Develop critical analytical skills in assessing existing methodologies


 

The learning and teaching methods include:


2 hour seminar sessions
Interactive learning environments
Practical sessions on a range of research methods
Class discussions and exchange of ideas
Self-help groups for student projects/group assessments

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for RESEARCH IN PRACTICE : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/polm011

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
International Relations MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations (International Intervention) MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.