MSc Environmental Governance
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
Methodology and Research Design
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Full year|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course is a core unit in the MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics, and it is also available to several other postgraduate students. The unit aims to support students in the development of the skills needed to develop a good research proposal and to plan a research project successfully. The course is based on weekly sessions structured around three broad topics, always focused on social research methods and statistics (SRMS): (i) philosophy of social science; (ii) research methodology and practical research strategies; and (iii) research design, with an emphasis on comparative and longitudinal research.
A secondary aim of the course is to provide students with opportunities to develop their critical thinking and presentation skills. These skills are vital for researchers in order to communicate their ideas and research findings to a variety of audiences and in different settings. The sessions are therefore a mixture of formal lectures (with Q&A), group discussions, and group problem-based activities. Students will get opportunities to present the result of their discussions to a small group. At the end, students work in groups to provide a short, punchy presentation focused on SRMS to small audience. For better preparation for these activities students will also be given some key readings to study before selected sessions. Each week students are also encouraged to work together as a form of peer learning group.
The final session involves the students presenting their own research design. This is an opportunity to put your presentation skills into practice and receive feedback.
This course aims primarily to help students learn the skills needed to develop a good research proposal and to plan and deliver a research project successfully. This course is based on weekly lectures and seminars structured around three broad topics: (a) philosophy of social science; (b) research methodology and practical research strategies; and (c) research design, with an emphasis on comparative and longitudinal research.
A secondary aim of the course is to provide students with opportunities and guidance to develop their presentation skills. These skills are vital for researchers in order to communicate their ideas and research findings to a variety of audiences and in different settings. Most of the lectures will provide opportunities for students to present and discuss key articles to the group. The final lecture of the series has students presenting their ownresearch design. This final session is an excellent opportunity for students to put their presentation skills into practice and to receive feedback from the group.
The course can be understood as a gateway to other methods courses taught as part of the SRMS program and other Research Training (RT) programmes in the University of Manchester.
At the end of this module, students should be able to:
- Recognise the theoretical context of their research agenda
- Identify a worthwhile research question and operationalize its key components for analysis
- Understand how different research methods can provide different research conclusions
- Have a broad understanding of the different research methods available
- Present their research ideas to a group.Evaluate a research design
- Provide feedback on methodological issues and use the feedback received from others to improve your research designs
- Write a convincing research proposal.
Teaching and learning methods
A mixture of lectures, formative assessment work, seminars, and practical sessions involving group work and a presentation
Formative assignment in Semester 1 (0%)
Essay assignment in Semester 2 (100%, 3000 words)
Feedback available via Turnitin
• Blaikie, N. (2009) Designing Social Research. 2d Edition, Cambridge: Polity.
• Bryman, A. (2016) Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press.
• De Vaus, D. A. (2001) Research Design in Social Research, London: Sage. (Other works by DeVaus are also useful)
• Winch, P. (1958) The Idea of A Social Science. London: Routledge
• Methods@manchester - http://www.methods.manchester.ac.uk
• Sage Methods - http://methods.sagepub.com
• NCRM - http://www.ncrm.ac.uk
• UK Data Service - https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk
• Bryman OUP toolkit - http://global.oup. com/uk/orc/sociology/brymansrm4e/01student/toolkit/
Sign up to key journal alerts - for example
• https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/environment-and-planning- a/journal202436#description
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Maria Pampaka||Unit coordinator|
Compulsory for SRMS