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Introduction to research methods, youth and participation research

Level 0 (CQFW Level 3), 10 Credits.


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Course Description

This course introduces students to research methods utilising both theoretical and practical teaching methods to maximise learning outcomes. The course begins with an introduction to the meaning of research exploring philosophical debates of knowledge and truth in science, epistemology and ontology. The course then goes on to introduce broad themes of methodology such as distinguishing primary/secondary research methods and the positivist / symbolic interactionism: quantitative/ qualitative debate. Throughout the course there is an emphasis on the contemporary aspects of participative research methods involving young people and disadvantaged groups.

Learning and Teaching

The course will be taught through three main avenues

1)     Lectures with handouts

2)     Seminars and group based discussion

3)    Practical group based exercises involving research methods scenarios.

Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

A basic knowledge of: -  Research as a definition and concept

-  Philosophical debates surrounding research

-  Research design

-  Quantitative / qualitative debate

-  Analysing and illustrating data

-  Presenting and disseminating findings

 

Intellectual skills

To understand research approaches and to justify, at a basic level, what research methods may be more or less appropriate for different research settings. Topics and distinctions introduced: quantitative/ qualitative debate; primary/ secondary sources; validity, reliability and triangulation.

Subject specific skills

Ability to write a basic research proposal, write a basic research plan. Record both quantitative and qualitative data, analyse data in the appropriate way to a basic level. Illustrate data and present findings to a group.

Transferable skills

Problem solving – as a group, developing a research strategy under the everyday constraints of time, resources and money

Communication – 5-10 minute oral presentation of findings

Making a bar graph or pie chart using excel

Numeric skills in collating and analysing quantitative data

Assesment

1) Demonstration of knowledge and learning through seminar based discussion monitored by tutors

2) Completion of a written research plan, questionnaire survey and semi-structured interview

3) Collate and analyse quantitative and qualitative data using tables and basic thematic analysis

4) Report and illustrate both qualitative and quantitative forms of data

5) As a group deliver an oral presentation of findings

Sessions

Sessions include:

Session 1: What is research? Definitions and the research process.

Session 2: Research design – defining research questions, research settings, time frame, data collection, timetabling stages of research.

Session 3: Debates in research – Science, knowledge and truth. Positivism, interactionism. Quantitative and qualitative approaches. Action Research and participative research approaches.

Session 4: Group based practical session – research design in a real world scenario: developing a research proposal/ question/ design. Theory: validity, reliability and triangulation.

Session 5: Group based practical session – designing and conducting a questionnaire survey and a semi-structured interview.

Session 6: Group based practical session – Collating and analysing data.

Session 7: Group based practical session – Illustrating and presenting findings: report writing.

Session 8: Group based practical session – Presenting findings to a panel or a group.