KB7030 - Research Methods

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What will I learn on this module?

Training in research methods provides researchers with an understanding of the 'dos' and 'don'ts' that are associated with employing particular approaches to the collection and analysis of data. Awareness of research methodologies and methods will enable researchers to practice appropriate techniques and to implement methods accurately. The primary aim of the module is to inform and sensitise you to the choices that are available when planning to undertake a research project. This includes making you aware of a selected range of qualitative and quantitative research methods that can be employed to collect and analyse primary and secondary data arising from studies using these methodological paradigms. Such awareness will enable you to make appropriate choices when executing your own research investigation. Of equal importance, the module will also introduce you to a range of academic skills that will support you during your programme of study in addition to the execution of your research project.

How will I learn on this module?

Knowledge and understanding of the subject will be developed by completion of a tutor-guided learning programme, i.e., formally scheduled teaching, and a constructively aligned programme of tutor-guided independent learning. The tutor-guided learning will include structured lectures and seminars/IT workshops. The IT workshops will show you how to use selected computer-assisted data management and analysis applications, such as EndNote, IBM SPSS, and QSR NVivo.

Lectures and seminars/IT workshops will be used to support the effective transmission of information and will be delivered by a combination of face-to-face ‘live’ sessions held in university classrooms. Lectures will be captured using the University’s Panopto video-recording platform (https://www.panopto.com/) and hosted on the Blackboard course (the University’s virtual learning environment). Distance learning students will engage in a programme of tutor-directed independent learning that will sometimes require students to participate in virtual group work.

Resources supporting the tutor-guided independent learning programme will be made available to you on the Blackboard course. Tutor-guided independent learning will provide an additional opportunity for you to reinforce your acquired knowledge and understanding of the subject. This will involve you reading pre-selected chapters from the essential reading textbook, refereed journal articles, and case study materials; watching online video presentations, including the video-recorded lecture presentations captured with Panopto; and completing online diagnostic multiple-choice tests. The tutor-guided independent learning programme and its associated resources, including the Talis Aspire online dynamic reading list, will be made available to you on the Blackboard course.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module will be delivered by a tutor-guided lecture and seminar/IT workshop programme. The lectures will involve elements of active participation by students that will be initialised and facilitated by a tutor. As a result, you will be expected to participate in small-group discussions and to feedback the outcomes during the lecture verbally. The IT workshops will require you to engage in structured tasks using selected computer-assisted data management and analysis applications, such as EndNote, IBM SPSS, and QSR NVivo. These tasks will sometimes require you to watch a series of short online video presentations that explain how to use the applications. Throughout the IT workshops, a tutor will be available to provide you with support and guidance, should the need arise. Distance learning students will complete the IT workshops using structured instructions and software that can be downloaded from the University’s software download centre. The Blackboard course will a platform to support you outside of your formally scheduled teaching. This will include the tutor-guided independent learning programme that will require you to read pre-selected chapters from the essential reading textbook, refereed journal articles and case study materials, and to watch online video recordings of the lecture presentations captured by Panopto. Additional support mechanisms will be employed to guide distance learning students that will include the use of asynchronous discussion board forums on the Blackboard course.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

On completion of the module you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Define and evaluate selected key theories and concepts associated with natural and social scientific research strategies, designs, and formulation.
2. Critically appraise selected key theories and techniques associated with the nature and process of experimental, quantitative, and qualitative research and data analysis.

Intellectual / Professional Skills & Abilities:
3. Critically review the literature and engage with what others have written through evaluative discourse.
4. Plan and execute a research project and formulate research questions.

Personal Values Attributes (Global/Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Develop and exhibit the professional and research ethics characteristics of a Northumbria University postgraduate student.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Formative assessment of your knowledge and understanding is a critical component of the assessment strategy. It forms an integral part of the formally scheduled teaching programme. An asynchronous discussion board forum will be enabled on the Blackboard course that you can use to ask questions to peers and tutors. Formative assessment feedback will enable you to undertake self-reflection and to feed-forward newly-acquired knowledge and understanding to refine your tutor-guided and self-directed, independent learning.

Summative Assessment
You will be summatively assessed by one Examination in the form of an online test and one item of Coursework. Both items will be taken/submitted towards the end of the formally scheduled teaching programme.

Examination: You will be summatively assessed by one Examination in the form of an online short-answer test that will be administered using the Test Manager tool in the Blackboard course. The Examination will be designed to unite your tutor-guided and self-directed, independent learning to demonstrate your achievement of specific module learning outcomes. The Examination will respect the diverse experience, cultural, and linguistic origins of all students enrolled on the module.

You will complete the Examination during a formally scheduled Examination in an IT laboratory if you are a full- or part-time student. If you are a distance learning student, you will be notified of a 24-hour period during which time you will be required to complete the Examination using the Test Manager tool in the Blackboard course.

The Examination will be conducted in restricted open book format; this means you will be permitted to bring a clean physical copy of the essential reading textbook to the venue (but you will not be permitted to bring notes, handouts, or other materials to the Examination venue).

You will receive your unconfirmed mark once the Examination has been internally moderated from My Grades in the Blackboard course. You will also receive generic cohort summative assessment feedback from the Module Assessment area of the Blackboard course. [MLOs: 1 and 2]

Coursework: You will be summatively assessed following the submission of key documentation associated with the development and production of a research proposal. You will complete and submit the Coursework towards the end of the formally scheduled teaching programme.

The Coursework will require you to formulate and define a substantive piece of investigative work that is directly related to your programme of study but limited to a tutor-specified topic area. It will require you to undertake an indicative literature review to focus and refine your initial idea for a research investigation into a fully researchable topic. In doing so, you will recognise the structure of various theoretical arguments and therefore be able to present a cogent, reasoned, and objective evaluative critique of published scholarly work whilst identifying any inherent biases, assumptions, and ethical considerations. You will also present a critical evaluation of the research methodology, proposed data collection and analysis methods that best support your proposed research investigation.

You will be required to submit your Coursework using the TurnitinUK tool in the Blackboard course. You will be given access to a revision submission opportunity to TurnitinUK on the Blackboard course before your final submission. Your summative assessment feedback will be released to you using the GradeMark tool in TurnitinUK. The Rubric Score Card tool will be used to provide consistent summative assessment feedback for all students enrolled on the module. [MLOs: 3, 4 and 5]





Module abstract

Throughout the world of science, engineering, and technology, the ability to pursue research is seen as a pre-requisite for professional development and career progression. This module will introduce you to the nature, approaches, and processes of research. Qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and methods will be introduced to you, including key research skills, such as literature searching and reviewing, and academic writing and referencing. The research approaches and methods that are introduced to you will be explored during tutor-guided lectures and seminars/IT workshops. These sessions will require you to apply your newly-acquired knowledge to the examination of case studies and the completion of structured self-learning activities. The Blackboard course will be used to support the delivery of the module. Access to video recordings of the lectures captured with Panopto and the Talis Aspire online dynamic reading list will support your self-directed learning.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years full-time (with advanced practice in second year)
2 other options available

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or January 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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