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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5010M Research Methods

15 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Milena Buchs

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective


By the end of this module, students should be aware of what defines science as a knowledge production system as well as the existence of different research paradigms and strategies. They should understand relationships between theory, conceptualization, method, hypotheses or research questions, evidence and measurement in the context of social sciences, as well as issues related to objectivity, generalisability, reliability and utility of research.

After completion of this module, students should be familiar with appropriate social sciences methods (qualitative and quantitative) and have acquired the general research skills relevant to their dissertation projects. They should have the skills to use software packages for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. They should also have gained research skills contributing to their professional careers or further studies in higher education.

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- Understanding what characterizes social science as a way of producing knowledge;
- Understanding and getting familiar with the research process;
- Critically reviewing scientific literature to identify research gaps, formulate research questions and discuss new results;
- Understanding and getting familiar with quantitative and qualitative methods, their purpose, application and limitations in the context of social science research;
- Formulating and testing hypotheses;
- Applying knowledge and understanding to address sustainability challenges;
- Understanding issues around collecting qualitative and quantitative data
- Analysing data using appropriate techniques;
- Referencing work in an appropriate manner;
- Appreciating issues of robustness, reliability and uncertainty during the research process.
- Communicating research results appropriately in written, verbal and graphical form The module places moderate emphasis on:
- Solving numerical problems using computer based techniques;
- Using the internet critically as a source of information;
- Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles;
- Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills);
- Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development;
- Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.


1. What is Science?; main scientific paradigms; inductive/deductive reasoning
2. The research process; conducting a literature review
3. Introduction to quantitative research methods in social sciences
4. Basic use of statistics for addressing research questions
5. Introduction to qualitative research methods, including qualitative interviews, focus groups and documentary research
6. Qualitative data collection techniques; principles of analysis and reporting

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Computer Class42.008.00
Private study hours118.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Preparation of readings, data collection homework and assignments (118 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Literature review exercises; identification of stages of the research process; reflections on the research process

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignmenta) a) Submission of a qualitative and a qualitative data collection instrument; b) completion of an open book multiple choice test on qualitative and quantitative social research methods20.00
AssignmentIndividual research piece applying quantitative and qualitative methods (3,000 words)80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit will consist of an essay in which students are required to critically analyse the quantitative and qualitative research methods employed in three empirical research articles on adaptation to flooding (the topic of this module) published in peer reviewed journals.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/11/2020 10:01:18


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