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SP50219: Academic research skills and dissertation preparation

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 50%)
  • Dissertation Synopsis (CW 50%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
To introduce students to research methods used in international development and policy analysis. To enable students to understand the application of these methods in relation to different research needs. To formulate a research synopsis containing a clear research question and with plans for a possible answer. To develop skills in preparing and giving presentations; to develop skills in locating and organising suitable data and literature for a dissertation. To develop skills in structuring a dissertation.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit students should have:
* An understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods
* A critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different methods with respect to different research objectives in international development and policy analysis.
* An awareness of the ethical issues raised by the use of different methods across a range of contexts.
* A deeper and more critical understanding of how to formulate and develop an original research question.
* Improved skills in researching, presenting and critically appraising possible topics.

Cross-cultural and interpersonal sensitivity (Taught/Facilitated)
Concise, time-bound and effective written communication (e.g. briefings / exams) (T/F/Assessed)
Effective oral communication (e.g. seminar presentations) (T/F)
Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models (T/F)
Ability to synthesise multidisciplinary perspectives on the same problem (T/F)
Ability to formulate a research question, then develop and present an original & coherent answer (T/F/A)
Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines (T/F)
Ability to work independently, without close supervision oR guidance (T/F).


* Introduction to research methodology;
* Quantitative methods: surveys and statistical analysis;
* Qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews; focus groups; ethnographic and participatory methods;
* Mixed method approaches;
* Formulating a research question and planning a dissertation.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP50219 is available for Auditing on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

SP50219 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

SP50219 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.