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Module Title
Research Methods

Quantitative methods; qualitative methods; decision-making; research management.

SCQF Points15
ECTS Points7.5
CreatedAugust 2002
ApprovedJune 2012
AmendedAugust 2012
Version No.3

This Version is No Longer Current
The latest version of this module is available here
Prerequisites for Module

None apart from course entry requirements or equivalent.

Corequisite Modules


Precluded Modules


Aims of Module

To provide the student with an ability to identify and utilise appropriate strategies and techniques for the purpose of individual investigations and research in professional development and practice.

Learning Outcomes for Module

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

1. Identify relevant and feasible research questions, applying critical theories where appropriate, in relation to professional practise, organisational decision making, and policy analysis.
2. Demonstrate research skills of utility to professional practice.
3. Demonstrate self-sustaining and cogent research management skills at an appropriate level.
4. Critically evaluate and apply research design and methodology for their chosen dissertation topic.
5. Critically evaluate, where appropriate, the quality and value of research in professional practice.

Indicative Module Content

Research in a professional context, in support of planning, decision-making and policy analysis; the impact of research. Research principles (eg validity, reliability, generalisability); qualitative and quantitative approaches and rationale (eg case studies; action research; surveys; experimental and quasi-experimental design;hermeneutics; critical approaches; historical research; ethnographic and cross-cultural approaches); and data collection techniques (eg questionnaire, observation and interview design). Data management, analysis, interpretation and presentation and preparation; the application of statistical techniques; coding, categorising and pattern seeking in qualitative data; tabulation and graphing). Research writing, publishing and dissemination.
Research management; planning and organising a research project; identifying researchable issues; use of literature and libraries and ICT; time and task management; costing research; organising fieldwork and contacts; consent, confidentiality and ethical issues.

Indicative Student Workload

Contact Hours

Full TimePart TimeDistance Learning

Directed Study

Directed Study

Private Study

Private Study

Mode of Delivery

Lectures and talks, groupworks and seminars, practical exercises, tutorials and the preparation of a research/project proposal under supervision. For part-time distance learning students: the student is provided with a guided learning programme. The student is, accordingly, expected to take full responsibility for their own learning.
On-campus taught delivery hours are denoted below as full-time. Online distance learning delivery is denoted as part-time.

Assessment Plan

Learning Outcomes Assessed
Component 1 1,2,3,4,5

The component takes the form of a fully developed research proposal which provides a rationale for the choice of research topic, discusses the choice of methodology, outlines the project schedule and discusses the significance of the chosen topic for the course as a whole.

Indicative Bibliography

1.ALVESSON, M. and SKOLDBERG, K., 2009. Reflexive methodology: new vistas for qualitative research. 2nd ed. London: Sage.
2.CRESWELL, J., W., 2014. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 4th. ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
3.DE BELLIS, N., 2009. Bibliometrics and citation analysis: from the Science Citation Index to cybermetrics. Lanham, MD : Scarecrow Press. ebook
4.DENSCOMBE, M., 2010. The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. 4th ed. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. ebook
5.LEVIN, P., 2011. Excellent dissertations! 2nd ed. Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill Open University Press. ebook
6.OPPENHEIM, A.N., 1992. Questionnaire design, interviewing and attitude measurement. London: Continuum.
7.YIN, R.K., 2014. Case study research: designs and methods. 5th ed. London: Sage Publications.

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781