Research Methods and Critical Analysis


This module aims to provide students with the theoretical foundations for their postgraduate research. Theoretical concepts and paradigms and critical readings relevant to the field of academic research and to practice-based research in particular, will be explored.  Epistemological and ontological considerations will be discussed in relation to research design and learners will reflect on the challenges of carrying out empirical social research in their particular workplace or field of application. Students will reflect upon some of the ethical, societal and practical problems of data collection, including sampling, gaining access to the field, designing a research instrument and the principles of qualitative and quantitative analysis. The module may also include introductory workshops on technologies for data analysis. 

This module is designed to develop theoretical knowledge of research paradigms and possibilities in addition to developing skills in critically engaging with academic literature and relevant, peer-reviewed journals.  It aims to increase proficiency in using critical evaluation skills within the context of a professional research project or practice-based innovation investigation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Contribute to an informed debate about the relationship between philosophical positions and methodological and research project design decisions.

  2. Understand and communicate how their own personal position might shape the knowledge they are producing, employing a process of guided reflexivity.

  3. Ask informed questions about ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions underlying other research papers in their field of study.

  4. Create a robust and practical research design and communicate how the research project is situated within wider global academic and professional debates in the relevant field.

  5. Explain and communicate within a formal research proposal, the philosophical assumptions that shape the research design; rationale and purpose, referencing academic, professional and other relevant  literature within the field or discipline studied.

  6. Confidentially leverage research skills and knowledge gained, to independently manage a professional applied research project having regard to ethical considerations and the potential individual, organisational, regulatory and societal implications of the dissemination of findings.

% Final Exam 100%