AT7027 - 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 sensitize you to the choices that are available when planning to undertake a research project. This includes making you aware of a selected range of natural and social scientific research methods that can be employed to collect and analyse primary and secondary data arising from qualitative and quantitative 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 generic academic skills that will support you during your programme of study in addition to the execution of your research project. The module will also provide you with instruction to help you formalize and write a creative research project proposal in readiness for undertaking the KB7052 Research Project module.

How will I learn on this module?

Knowledge and understanding of the subject will be developed as a result of a tutor-guided learning programme, i.e., formal scheduled teaching, and a constructively aligned programme of tutor-guided independent learning. Tutor-guided learning will include a structured lecture and seminar/ICT laboratory workshop programme which will include: Lectures*; seminars* peer group discussions and small-group student presentations; and ICT laboratory workshops using selected computer-assisted data analysis applications, such as EndNote, IBM SPSS, and QSR NVivo.

*Lectures and seminars will be used to support effective transmission of information and will be delivered via a combination of face-to-face ‘live’ sessions lectures held in university classrooms, and the use of digitally pre-recorded sessions or live video webcasts. All ‘live’ lecture sessions will be captured using Northumbria University approved teaching platforms (currently the Panopto video platform: https://www.panopto.com/) and hosted on ‘Blackboard’ our eLearning Portal (ELP) with materials being made available after delivery on campus. This content will remain available throughout the programme. For distance learning students equivalent seminar materials will be provided to facilitate learning.

Resources supporting the tutor-guided independent learning programme will also be made available to you via Blackboard. 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 by 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 via the Blackboard course for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module will be delivered through a tutor-guided lecture and seminar/ICT workshop programme. The lectures will involve elements of active participation by students that will be initialized and facilitated by a tutor. As a result, you will be expected to participate in small-group discussions and to verbally feedback the outcomes during the course of the lecture. The seminars will also require you to participate in small-group discussions in order to address focused tasks assigned by the tutor. These tasks will often involve the critical analysis of case studies and the exploration of educational scenarios. Once again, you will be required to participate in small-group verbal presentations to the entire cohort, under the direction and support of a tutor. The ICT laboratory workshops will require you to engage in structured tasks using selected computer-assisted data analysis applications, such as EndNote, IBM SPSS, and QSR NVivo. These tasks will require you to watch a series of short online video presentations which explain how to use the applications. Throughout the ICT laboratory workshops, a tutor will be available to provide you with support and guidance, should the need arise. Distance learning students will complete the ICT laboratory workshops using structured instructions and software which can be downloaded from the University’s software download centre. The Blackboard course will provide support to you outside of your formal scheduled teaching. This will include the tutor-guided independent learning programme, which 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 provide bespoke guidance for distance learning students. These will include the use of Blackboard's asynchronous discussion board forums and access to one-to-one support with the tutor(s) by telephone and/or Blackboard Collaborate.

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 key component of the assessment strategy. It forms an integral part of the formal scheduled teaching programme An asynchronous discussion board forum is also provided on Blackboard course which can be used to ask questions to be addressed by peers and tutors. Formative assessment feedback will enable you to undertake self-reflection and to feed-forward newly-acquired knowledge and understanding in order to refine your tutor-guided and self-directed independent learning and enhance your performance during the test towards the end of the module and your submission of the research project proposal.

Summative Assessment
You will be summatively assessed by one online test towards the end of the module and one item of coursework, which will be a research project proposal.

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

You will complete the online test during a formal scheduled examination in an ICT 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 online test using the Test Manager tool in the Blackboard course.

The test will occur towards the end of the module and will be conducted in open book format: this means you will be permitted to bring a physical copy of the essential reading textbook to the examination venue (but you will not be permitted to bring notes, handouts, or other materials to the examination venue).

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

Research Project Proposal: You will be summatively assessed following the submission of a research project proposal. You will complete and submit the research project proposal, which will include a project plan (with key stages and milestones), using a standardized template towards the end of the module.

The research project proposal will require you to formulate and specify a substantive piece of investigative work that is directly related to your programme of study. It will require you to undertake an indicative literature review in order to focus and refine your initial idea for a research investigation into a fully researchable topic. In doing so, you will recognize 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 be required to present a critical evaluation of the research methodology, data collection and analysis methods that best support your proposed research investigation.

You will be required to submit your research project proposal using the TurnitinUK tool in the Blackboard course. You will be first allowed a revision submission opportunity on Blackboard prior to your final submission. Your summative assessment feedback will be released to you using the GradeMark facility in TurnitinUK. The QuickMark and Rubric Score Card tools will be used to provide consistent summative assessment feedback for all students enrolled on the module. [MLOs: 3, 4 and 5]

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

Throughout the world of science, engineering, technology, and business, 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. Natural and social scientific research methodologies and methods will be introduced to you, including key researcher skills, such as critical literature searching and reviewing, academic referencing, and research project management techniques. The research approaches and methods that are introduced to you will be explored during tutor-guided seminars/ICT workshops, during which you will be required to apply your newly-acquired knowledge to the examination of case studies and structured educational activities. The Blackboard course, Test Manager, and TurnitinUK tools will be employed during the delivery of the module, including the availability of video-recorded lectures captured by Panopto and the Talis Aspire online dynamic reading list to support your learning outside of your formal scheduled teaching.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location Netherlands

City Amsterdam

Start September 2019

Fee Information

Module Information

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