BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response and Spanish

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Dissertation and Research Methods

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI30000
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


This is a unit for HCRI students taking the BSc in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response and iBSc Global Health. This course enables students to write a sustained piece of independent research, in the form of the Dissertation. Through a series of lectures and tutorials, supported by individual meetings with the supervisor, students will be given guidance on appropriate topics, and assistance in framing their research proposal. Through the course of the first semester, they will analyse research methodologies with a focus on the relationship between concepts, theory and practice, and the ability to synthesise, analyse and critique approaches to data and knowledge production. Advice on time management and accessing resources will also be provided. Supported by supervisions, students will develop confidence in conducting original research, expressing informed opinion and reflecting on the research process. The course will also enhance writing and presentation skills to appropriate academic standards.


HCRI30000 is available only to International Disaster Management & Humanitarian Response and Global Health students.


  • Enable students to identify a research topic for sustained, independent research;
  • Develop awareness of the relationship between theoretical frameworks, methods and practice;
  • Develop research skills, including: identification of research issue/question: define scope and select appropriate research methodology, develop ability to retrieve information from a variety of sources: libraries, databases, websites and reports, enhance ability to evaluate and critique secondary literature, conduct original synthesis of primary evidence, and evaluate and present results of analysis, in the context of broader research;
  • Build confidence in expressing opinion, in an informed manner, and reflect on the research process;
  • Develop awareness of standards of academic presentation.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understanding key debates and concepts around research methodologies and research ethics
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles, methodological foundations and techniques underlying quantitative and qualitative research
  • Recognise the different types of data produced via different research approaches as well as their usefulness and their links to policy prescriptions
  • Understand the structure of an independent piece of research and the various limitations and challenges of conducting research at this level.

Intellectual skills

  • Defined an issue in the study of IDMHR and global health to develop your skills of analysing and formulating an argument in interpretation of that source material
  • Perform close reading of texts and analyse, evaluate and design research projects
  • Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret different sources of health data
  • Consider diverse methodological approaches
  • Explore quantitative and qualitative research methods and the practicalities of research design
  • Identify the possible policy implications arising from the data and its analysis
  • Explore the realities of research through examination of illustrative case studies
  • Compiled a bibliography of different types of sources from a range of appropriate Information sources (e.g. library catalogue, electronic databases, web etc)

Practical skills

  • Develop individual research skills through independent study
  • Analyse different types of data
  • Perform close reading of texts and design and execute research projects

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Developed skills of working independently
  • Develop communication skills for a variety of audiences
  • Develop, plan and achieve individual research outcomes
  • Develop analytical skills and the ability to articulate ideas verbally and in writing
  • Develop confidence articulating ideas and opinions during group discussions
  • Understand and evaluate quantitative and qualitative research designs
  • Develop research skills, critical thinking skills, oral and written skills

Employability skills

- Editorial and analytical skills - Evidence-led decision-making - Putting together and maintaining arguments (useful for a marketing/awareness campaign or business case) - Oral and communication skills - especially in terms of comprehending large amounts of information and drawing reasoned conclusions - Meeting deadlines - Working autonomously on a sustained project requiring originality and innovation

Assessment methods

Tutorial presentations of research proposals 0%
Dissertation proposal  0%
Dissertation 100%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Verbal feedback via 1 on 1 meetings with students (with supervisors)

Formative (proposal)

Verbal and peer feedback on tutorial presentations


Written feedback on final dissertation submission



Recommended reading

G. Millar. An ethnographic approach to peacebuilding – Understanding local experiences in transitional states. (New York: Routledge, 2014).

Chandra Lekha Sriram et al eds., Surviving field research: Working in violent and difficult situations (London: Routledge 2009).

C. Cramer et al eds., Researching Violence in Africa: Ethical and Methodological challenges (Leiden: Brill 2009). 

V. Desai and R. Potter, Doing Development Research (London: Sage 2006). 

S. Laws et al, Research for Development (London: Sage 2003). 

T. Jacoby, Understanding Conflict and Violence (London: Routledge 2006). 

M. Mauthner et al eds., Ethics in Qualitative Research (London: Sage 2002). 

R. Chambers, Revolutions in Development Inquiry (London: Routledge 2008). 

C. Sylvester (2012) War Experiences/War Practices/War Theory. Millennium. 40(3): 483-503.

C. Brun et al (2010) Real-time research: Decolonising research practices. Development in Practice 20(7): 812-26.

B. Chisila et al (2010) Resisting Dominant Discourses: Implications of indigenous, African feminist theory and methods for gender and education research. Gender and Education 22(6): 617-32.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Project supervision 1
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 374

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sabah Boufkhed Unit coordinator
Luke Kelly Unit coordinator
Jessica Hawkins Unit coordinator

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