MPlan Planning with Professional Placement

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Applied Research for Planning and Real Estate

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN20172
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


An understanding of research methods is essential to the practice of collecting and analysing primary and/or secondary data. Approaches to planning and real estate research incorporate qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This course unit introduces students to the breadth of techniques available to students undertaking research across the planning and real estate disciplines, enabling them to design and implement independent research, while embedding an understanding of ethics into their research practices. The course provides a foundation in research methods training, so students have the knowledge and understanding to design, implement and evaluate their own independent research. Through the incorporation of a residential field visit, students will consolidate their learning on a variety of research methods and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of undertaking research in the field. By the end of the course unit, students will have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to produce a research proposal for their undergraduate dissertation, with the potential for data collection during the summer vacation.


The unit aims to:

  • Introduce principles of research design, including the formulation of research questions and hypotheses.
  • Develop knowledge of a range of research skills needed to collect, analyse, present and interpret quantitative and qualitative data relevant to the study of planning and real estate.
  • Apply knowledge of research design processes through the development and execution of an independent piece of research in the field.
  • Assess, in a fieldwork setting, the interrelationships between social, economic and environmental processes in a specified location
  • Reflect critically on the research design process and field work experiences to develop a research proposal for the dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Students should/will be able to:



    Core content includes:

    - The research process and ethics

    - Baseline knowledge, research aims and developing objectives

    - Data collection methods 1

    - Data collection methods 2

    - Quantitative data analysis

    - Qualitative data analysis

    - Field visit introduction

    - Writing a research proposal


    Teaching and learning methods

    Lecture-based sessions: 7 x 2 hour sessions (14 hours)

    Core content on research methods is taught in sessions before the field visit. After the field visit, additional learning is provided on developing a dissertation proposal. E-learning content is provided on Blackboard including interactive material using a range of multimedia sources.

    Field Visit: 7 x 7 hour days (49 hours)

    A residential field visit that applies students’ learning on a range of research methods, including the opportunity for students to implement their own group research project and reflect on the opportunities and challenges of carrying out research. Digital methodologies are employed where appropriate on the field visit to aid learning and comprehension.

    Directed reading: 5 x 2 hours (10 hours)

    Students are encouraged to extend their knowledge of specific research methods and to consider the ethical implications of these, ahead of interactive lecture sessions. Links to readings will be provided through appropriate e-learning tools, e.g. Reading Lists Online.

    Assessment and independent learning (127)

    Students will be assisted with independent learning through the provision of different multimedia sources available om Blackboard.

    Knowledge and understanding

    • Explain the processes of research design including designing, implementing and evaluating research methodologies.
    • Discuss differences between the characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research in the disciplines of planning and real estate.
    • Identify the key social, economic and environmental characteristics of a specified case-study / location and describe appropriate ways to research them.

    Intellectual skills

    • Evaluate a range of research methods for developing appropriate research plans 
    • Identify appropriate methods for the proposed research  on different (social, economic, or environmental) aspects of planning and real estate  in a specified location.
    • Plan an independent research project drawing on appropriate research design and methodological techniques.

    Practical skills

    • Identify appropriate data collection and analysis methods for conducting independent research.
    • Evaluate experiences of research in a case study location and corresponding areas in the UK and internationally.

    Transferable skills and personal qualities

    • Collaborate effectively in a team to deliver a specified output.
    • Communicate effectively in both verbal and written form
    • Evaluate the ethical implications of different research methods.

    Assessment methods

    Method Weight
    Report 75%
    Oral assessment/presentation 25%

    Feedback methods

    • Verbally in the session and written if required.
    • Immediate formative feedback, written feedback within 15 working days through Turnitin
    • Within 15 working days through Turnitin

    Recommended reading

    Brooks, C. and Tsolacos, S., 2010. Real Estate Modelling and Forecasting. Cambridge University Press.

    Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. SAGE.

    Jowsey, E., 2015. Real estate concepts. Routledge..

    Silva, C.N. ed., 2012. Online Research Methods in Urban and Planning Studies: Design and Outcomes: Design and Outcomes. IGI Global.

    Silva, E.A., Healey, P., Harris, N. and Van den Broeck, P. eds., 2015. The Routledge handbook of planning research methods (pp. 251-254). New York; London: Routledge.

    Walliman, N (2006) Social Research Methods. SAGE (available online to read/download via University Library)


    Study hours

    Scheduled activity hours
    Fieldwork 7
    Lectures 14
    Independent study hours
    Independent study 179

    Teaching staff

    Staff member Role
    Iain Deas Unit coordinator

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