MSc Global Development (Politics, Governance and Development Policy) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Development Research

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI70982
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


How do we know that works for development? Understanding what drives and shapes more socially just and equitable development is essential. In this course you will gain deeper theoretical and practical knowledge of how research in Global Development is designed, conducted, and disseminated.




The overarching aims of this is to provide students with (i) an understanding of how research in development is conceived of and designed as well as introduction key methods used in development research; and (ii) an opportunity for students to develop competencies in transferable areas, including research design, methods and analysis, as well as teamwork and written and verbal forms of communication.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning will occur through weekly lectures and a series of tutorials and practicals that will provide a conceptual understanding of, and practical basis for conducting development research. The learning and teaching approach will therefore combine a series of different approaches, including the use of pre-recorded lecture material (e.g., introductions to epistemology and research design), group work (e.g., the development and formulation of research questions and interview protocols) and software training (e.g., basic coding in R).


Knowledge and understanding

• Explain principles of research design, including core concepts of rigor, replicability and validity

• Discuss strengths and weaknesses of different research approaches used in development research

Intellectual skills

• Formulate research question that address development research challenges

• Evaluate different sources of information and data that could be used to address development research challenges

• Articulate evidenced-based arguments

Practical skills

  • Implement development research approaches
  • Design rudimentary development research projects

Transferable skills and personal qualities

• Undertake both team-based and independent work to deadlines

• Evaluate and analyze different kinds of evidence

• Develop, articulate, and sustain logical, structured and reasoned arguments in both written and oral contexts

Employability skills

Analytical skills
- through a deeper theoretical and practical understanding of how development research is designed, conducted and disseminated.
- through the design of an original research proposal
] - through a deeper theoretical and practical understanding of how development research is designed, conducted and disseminated.
Written communication
- through completing two written assignments

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Report 50%

Feedback methods

Written formative and summative feedback will be delivered via Turnitin (Blackboard).

Students will be given the opportunity to submit short essay plans for feedback.

Tutorials and practical sessions will be primarily interactive and/or discussion-based.

Recommended reading

Hammett et al (2015) Research and Fieldwork in Development. Abingdon: Routledge.

Robson & McCartan (2016) Real World Research, 4th edition. Wiley.

Oldekop et al. (2016). 100 key research questions for the post-2015 development agenda. Development Policy Review 34: 33046.

Turabian, K. L. (2018) A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 9th edition. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Gerring (2006). Case – study research: Principles and practice (Cambridge University Press)

Wickham & Grolemund (2018). R for Data Science: Import, Tidy, Transform, Visualise and Model Data (O’Reilly Press)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 8
Practical classes & workshops 10
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 126

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Johan Oldekop Unit coordinator
Tomas Frederiksen Unit coordinator

Additional notes

GDI Programmes on which course unit is offered:

MSc International Development (core for all pathways)


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