Module Information

Module Identifier
RD23500
Module Title
Research Methods
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Mutually Exclusive
External Examiners
  • Dr Helen E Moreton (Senior Lecturer - Royal Agricultural University (RAU))
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Miscellaneous 1 x 2 Hour Miscellaneous
Lecture 16 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment On-line statistics exercise 1.  4%
Semester Assessment On-line statistics exercise 2.  4%
Semester Assessment On-line statistics exercise 3.  4%
Semester Assessment On-line statistics exercise 4.  4%
Semester Assessment On-line statistics exercise 5.  4%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   On-line statistics exam.  30%
Semester Assessment On-line reading exercise.  5%
Semester Assessment Literature review. Group wiki.  5%
Semester Assessment Literature review. Individual.  15%
Semester Assessment Research proposal. Group wiki.  5%
Semester Assessment Research proposal. individual.  20%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  70%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   On-line statistics exam.  Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Search and review the scientific literature to identify valid research questions

2. Identify appropriate methods of analysis for different types of research

3. Design statistically valid experiments

4. Identify and mitigate against confounding factors in research design

5. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues involved in research

6. Analyze data using a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques

7. Interpret the results of data analyses and apply statistical knowledge in the evaluation of research investigations

Brief description

The course will cover the principles and practice of a range of basic quantitative and qualitative procedures of data analysis, coupled with an understanding of good research design and planning. Delivery will rely heavily on student-centered e-learning, supported by computer workshops. Through e-learning, students will receive training in the use of statistical software packages, literature searching and research design. Use of subject-specific tutorial videos through Abercast will ensure that students receive explanatory examples directly relevant to their particular subject area. Formative assessment will be through the use of e-exercises in Blackboard using adaptive release, prior to the submission of a fully developed research plan and an exam to test statistical skills learnt.

Content

Data analysis

Following a core foundation in basic procedures of data analysis, students will have the opportunity to select a limited number of techniques relevant to specific schemes of study. The subject material will include:

The nature of variability
Populations, samples and sampling strategies
Types of data
Probability
Standard deviation
Normal distribution
Sampling from the normal distribution, standard error
Students t distribution, t tests
Analysis of variance
Multifactorial analyses, blocking
Correlation and regression
Chi-square analysis, contingency tables
Non-parametric tests
Questionnaire technique and structure
Interviewing techniques, focus groups
Content analysis (textual, discourse, conversation, visual)

Research planning

Running concurrently with the training in data analysis will be lectures on the basics of experimental design and research planning. These will include:

Literature searching and interpretation
Strategies and approaches to reviewing literature
Identifying hypotheses and research questions
Sampling strategies and size
Identification and mitigation of confounding factors
Appropriate research design
Ethical issues in research design
Protocol development
Identification of resources

These issues will be developed through a number of formative exercises delivered via e-learning. The final summative assessment will require students to produce, in consultation with individual members of academic staff, a comprehensive research plan in an unique area relevant to their scheme of study. If successfully completed, this plan will form the basis of the student'r final year dissertation when progressing to the final year of the BSc.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5