MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Research and Evaluation Methods

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI60170
Credit rating 15
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? No


This course directly supports students in developing their research proposal for their final dissertation project. It discusses how to refine, hone and learn more about how to design a robust research project and what methods are most appropriate. It will look at how to develop a literature review, research questions, a theoretical framework. and how to use theory in research. The module explores different research methods in the social sciences, including quantitative and qualitative methods. Additionally, it considers ethical issues and questions of positionality that can arise when conducting research on topics such as disasters, humanitarianism, refugees, conflict and related issues.


- Provide students with a foundation for research design which will be useful in terms of preparing them for their dissertations and for equipping them with tools that can also be used following the completion of their MA in their professional lives.

- Provide students with an overview of central methods (both academic and those used in policy and practitioner environments) that are available for conducting research and evaluation in relation to humanitarian, disaster, and peacebuilding interventions.

- Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the strengths and limitations of a range of methods which can be used to research and evaluate humanitarian, disaster and peacebuilding interventions

Knowledge and understanding

- Identify and understand the range of purposes of a research project.

- Knowledge about how to build a research project.

- Knowledge of key methods to use when conducting research.

- Understanding of how to do qualitative and quantitative research.

- Understand how to analyse quantitative and qualitative data.


Intellectual skills

- Deepen critical thinking skills in relation to research.

- Critically use and assess methods in social science disciplines and methodological approaches.

- Understand how to build a research project.


Practical skills

- Critical reading of an array of sources (academic, journalistic, policy, practitioner).

- Search for, assess, and select literature from academic, practitioner and policy sources.

- Craft and complete rigorous academic research (i.e., choose research topic, develop research question, plan research steps and timeline, conduct research, develop argument, critical assessment of literature, writing and editing).

- Structure and present written arguments.

- Write a research dissertation proposal

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Apply analytical and synthesis skills in writing.

- Hone written skills.

- Be successful at complex discussion work on written tasks.

Employability skills

- Critical thinking and analytical skills. - Writing skills, including for policy and practitioner audiences - Critical assessment of resources - Effective oral presentation and communication skills

Assessment methods

Assessment Task

Formative or Summative










Feedback methods

Feedback Method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on written assignments


Verbal one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)



Recommended reading

Blaikie, N. (2003) Analyzing Quantitative Data: From Description to Explanation. London: Sage.

Bryman, A (1988) Quantity and Quality in Social Research. London: Routledge.

Denzin, N.K. and Y.S. Lincoln. (eds.) (2005) Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Elliott, J. and Marsh C. (2008) Exploring Data: an Introduction to Data Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Flick, U. (2006) An Introduction to Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Henn, Matt, Mark Weinstein and Nick Foard (2006) A Short Introduction to Social Research. London: Sage Publications. Available from Manchester University Electronic Resources.

May, T. (2002) Qualitative Research in Action. London: Sage Publications.

Rumsey, D. (2003) Statistics for Dummies. Hoboken NJ: Wiley.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nimesh Dhungana Unit coordinator
Duncan Shaw Unit coordinator
Gemma Sou Unit coordinator
Mandy Turner Unit coordinator

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