Research Methods and Critical Analysis


This module aims to provide students with the theoretical foundations for their postgraduate research. Theoretical concepts; research paradigms and critical readings relevant to the field of academic or professional applied research 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 research in their particular workplace or specialist field of application. Students will reflect upon ethical, societal, egalitarian 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 guest speakers or workshops on technologies for data analysis. 

This module is designed to develop theoretical knowledge of research paradigms and to explore methodological possibilities in addition to developing skills in critically engaging with academic literature and relevant, peer-reviewed journals and technical reports.  It aims to increase proficiency in using critical evaluation skills within the context of a professional research project or practice-based innovation or applied research project. The module outcomes comprise a thorough ethical review of a research proposal in addition to presentation of a research proposal.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate the alignment of their own philosophical positions with their research methodological choices and project design decisions.

  2. Critically review their own personal positioning in the research context, and how this might shape the knowledge they are producing, employing a process of guided reflexivity.

  3. Evaluate the ontological, epistemological and methodological choices and assumptions made, in reviews of other papers in their field of study.

  4. Exhibit advanced knowledge of technical and professional advances in the field by creating a robust and practically applicable research design, in addition to communicating how the research project is situated, within wider global academic, emancipatory, environmental and professional discourses.

  5. Communicate effectively 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. Confidently leverage research skills and knowledge gained, to draft and present an applied research project proposal, having regard to ethical considerations and the potential individual, organisational, regulatory and societal implications of the dissemination of findings.

% Final Exam 100%