BM9703 - Evidence-Based Policy and Research Skills

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What will I learn on this module?

There is an increasing need for public service leaders to understand good practice in research and to know how to use data to develop meaningful and robust policy and practice. In this module, you will gain an understanding of how knowledge is generated, presented and disseminated and the role that critical management inquiry and data analytics play in decision making for public leaders. You will acquire a skill set which will enable you to carry out and critically evaluate results from research and analysis. Specific topics covered will vary but are likely to include content such as: What knowledge sources to evaluate when investigating a managerial or organizational problem; The Politics and Ethics of Management Research; Systematic Literature Reviews; Evidence-Based Policy vs Policy-Based Evidence; Management Fads, Fallacies and Fashions; Data Management for Decision Making (using specialist software packages such as SPSS); Statistics for Business; Predictive Modelling.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a series of hands-on, experiential learning sessions where you will be guided in the understanding of key aspects of research design and practice and also through the use of various software packages to reach decisions. You will then consider potential applications and organisational implications. Some sessions will take place in computer workshops to facilitate the acquisition of the necessary practical skills. In each session, an experienced practitioner academic will introduce the key underlying theoretical concepts of the techniques to be covered but the emphasis will be on rigorous practical exploration of techniques for conducting research and interrogating data sets to reach meaningful and practical conclusions.

Importantly, you will also learn at work, through reflecting on your experiences and applying your knowledge from the module to your practice in the workplace. During the workshops you will be encouraged to discuss the theories and concepts with the tutors and your peers to understand how these relate to your own work based experiences. The module will provide directed activities to enable you to transfer the learning into your workplace and provide an opportunity for you to apply and evidence the development of your own professional practice. Finally, there will be an opportunity for you to reflect and review your learning with your executive coach.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of approaches are adopted to accelerate your learning in this module.

During the first week of this module, you will receive information about the module and Teaching & Learning Plan. The teaching and learning plan (TLP) sets out
• Learning outcomes and overall module and programme aims
• Teaching, learning and assessment strategy
• Teaching schedule
• Directed reading references (text and journals) and core texts for the module

Further supporting this learner journey, the first taught of this module will discuss the rational and learning objectives of this module and how it contributes to your overall programme goals. The formative and summative assessment strategy will be outlined as will a refresher on key academic skills and resources critical to your success as a learner on this module. This session will also be available as a video/podcast for further reinforcement.During this module your module tutor, a subject specialist, will provide academic support including:
• Delivering workshops
• Providing guidance in relation to assignments
• Development of key resources, made available through the VLE
• Specialist subject advice, particularly in linking your work to academic research, concepts and emerging knowledge in the field
• Assessing assignments and assess or review any other agreed summative or formative outputs as appropriate

For those of you studying on a Degree Apprenticeship you will also be supported by an Executive Coach who provides your consistent support throughout your Degree Apprenticeship. This Executive Coach will support with:
• Helping you to understand the requirements of this module and how it relates to your workplace context
• Helping you to understand how you can apply and evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours covered in the module to your own practice in the workplace
• Visiting you at work and engaging with your manager and/or mentor to ensure alignment between your learning and opportunities for applying and demonstrating a positive impact in your work organisation.

E-Reading Lists
The module will also have an e-reading list which directs learners to specific reading for each session. You will be provided with an advanced reading list structured to support each of the issues addressed in taught sessions. The reading list will contain academic articles as well as books, book chapters, case studies, video links and current newspaper articles. You will also be provided with access to a significant set academic research sources via the Northumbria University library portal.

Less formally, all members of the teaching team will provide support and assistance in the taught sessions. Given the practical nature of the work, there will be ample opportunity for discussion and provision of formative feedback in the class contact time.
You will also have opportunities to receive formative feedback from your tutor in response to opinions you express and issues you raise during workshop sessions and face-to-face or online tutorials. These formative feedback sessions are formally scheduled at key points throughout the module, including any support that may be accessed outside formal scheduled teaching.

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:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
Have a critical understanding of both social research and evidence-based policy;
Have a critical understanding of the ethical principles underpinning social research.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Be able to critically evaluate management thinking and knowledge in terms of research rigour and design.
Be able to use a range of decision-making software packages.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
Demonstrate intellectual curiosity, exploring theory and research broadly and not merely in pursuit of tackling a specific problem.

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback: Throughout the taught sessions formative feedback will be given by the module team related to the case study analyses and other activities.

Summative Assessment
You will be summatively assessed by a 5000 word work related assessment which addresses all module learning outcomes. This assessment will also require you to consider the subsequent implications on your professional practice.

Indicative Brief:

You will be assessed through two separate component tasks.

Task 1 will be an assignment (3000 words). This will focus on the practical application of the analytical techniques discussed in the module to a realistic policy issue.

While this assignment will be submitted as a single piece of work at the end of the teaching period, it will be possible for you to consider it as the topics are explored in class allowing you to complete it alongside the taught sessions (60% of marks, assessing MLOs 1, 3, 4)

Task 2 will be a 2,000 word individual critical synopsis of evidence-based practice relating to your own work organisation. MLOs 1, 2, 3, 5)

Formative feedback will be provided in the taught sessions by the module teaching team.





Module abstract

The growth of evidence-based policy, the increasing range and amount of data that public service leaders are expected to process on a regular basis and the need for policy decisions to be based on sound analysis all lead to a need for public service leaders to have analytical skills and a sound understanding of research.

This module will equip you with some of the practical skills needed to manage this complexity and to generate conclusions, which can be used for decision making. You will develop the ability to gather and analyse data using a variety of approaches, each best suited to particular problem scenarios. In addition, you will be provided with a broad understanding of the basic issues and considerations you will face when completing a later research project module. You will be introduced to philosophical issues as well as frequently used methodologies and techniques to inform whatever research strategy and methods you decide to adopt in your later investigation.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Part Time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

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