This unit will be taught and assessed to meet the needs of specific work based settings linked to the specific pathway being studied. The aims and learning outcomes will remain common, however the content will be contextualised where appropriate. The aims of this unit are, relative to their subject requirements, to:
* Enable students to research, analyse and evaluate information.
* Provide an overview of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and discuss their philosophy and methods.
* Address statistical analysis of data to the level required to understand and interpret research papers. Students will learn key research terminology.
* Explain principles of research design in their subject, including methodological and ethical issues, and prepare students to be able to plan and organise a small-scale research project in the workplace.
The content and assignment briefs for this unit will be contextualised to meet the needs of the pathway and the specific work-based setting.
On completion of the unit the student should be able to:
* Locate, select, retrieve and collate research material from primary and secondary sources.
* Analyse data, and synthesise findings, to inform research questions, or to address problems using an evidence-based practice approach.
* Critically appraise the quality and limitations of currently available evidence and identify need for further research.
* Demonstrate the ability to understand and interpret statistical information presented in the primary literature.
* Understand the process of designing a research project, including practical, methodological and ethical considerations.
Intellectual (facilitated, taught and assessed) - engage in critical analysis of wide range of texts and electronic information; synthesise information from a number of sources to gain a coherent understanding of research, policy and practice; reflect on appropriateness of theory, practice and outcomes; critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data, to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution or identify a range of solutions to a problem.
Professional (facilitated, taught and assessed) - Exercise appropriate judgement in planning, designing and implementing research in the workplace; Understand the application of relevant research findings in the workplace.
Practical (facilitated and assessed) - Conduct research in accordance with professional ethics and practice, and consonant with systems and procedures in the workplace.
Key Skills (facilitated - assessed through other units) - this unit will support students in the demonstration of competence in professional and practical skills to be used in the workplace.
This unit concentrates on the following areas:
* The nature of research, and the fundamentals of scientific method
* Varieties of quantitative and qualitative research.
* Sources of bias in research (test bias, selection bias, observer bias and placebo effects) and methods of recognising and reducing bias.
* How to conduct a literature review, both as a research project in itself, and to inform a new research project.
* Difference between research and audit
* Accessing and selecting material, in libraries and using the internet, identifying types of document (research study report, case study, review, editorial, journalistic reports, manifestos etc) and recognising interests and biases inherent in such types.
* How to read a paper in a peer-reviewed journal.
* Measurement: what, when and how? - Questionnaires, standardised instruments, data types, reliability and validity. Qualitative measurement.
* Statistical and other key research terminology.
* Reviewing and synthesising the information obtained.
* Reporting your review, presenting your findings in a structured and coherent way.
* How to plan a research project: formulating your question, developing a hypothesis, selecting a suitable andd realistic method, ethical issues, sampling, data collection, measurement, and reporting and discussing results.