Core Module Information
Module title: Applied Research Design

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC11117
Module leader: Roberto Kulpa
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

Description of module content:

The module introduces key principles of designing social research at all stages, from the initial idea to the final dissemination and outputs. You will learn and practice writing the objectives, matching them to suitable methods, and aligning outputs accordingly to set goals. Having built a knowledge-base of methodological strategies, you will deploy it to increase competencies in research design via their application. For instance, the outcome of the module – a Research Proposal – will become a grounding framework for your Dissertation Project. Critical considerations of ethical underpinnings in research, alongside self-reflections on your own positionality in the complex social world of interdependencies, will feed into your work on an Ethical Approval Form to obtain ethical clearance for your project.

This module forms a bedrock for developing your quantitative and qualitative research skills, on which we focus in complementary modules (Mastering Qualitative Methods, Understanding and Executing Quantitative Research). It presents strong theoretical grounding that underpins applied solutions that you will develop in due course. This methodological triptych will form an essential skillset for your future research career in either private business, public administration, third sector, academia, or arts and creative industries.

The module progresses students through key theories, epistemologies and methodologies in social and political research. It is aimed at students with the existing, UG-level understanding of methodology, or with some experience of planning and executing research, or at those who need a subject refresher.

Learning Outcomes for module:

On completion of this module, you will:
1. Have an advanced understanding of the complex links between theory and methodology, including benefits and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research.
2. Be able to address complex ethical issues emerging in social research, in line with professional bodies’ guidelines and important research council expectations (e.g. ESRC).
3. Be able to show complex understanding of research design principles for all stages of work (preparation, execution, dissemination), incl. ability to thoughtfully align aims and objectives to methodologies and theoretical underpinnings, matching them to suitable methods of data generation and analysis, and planning appropriate outputs.
4. Design your own research project, culminating in a comprehensive research proposal.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 1, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Roberto Kulpa
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Teaching and leaning on Applied Research Design develops across several modalities and channels of delivery:
• through the regular weekly workshops, scheduled guest sessions, periodic programme-exclusive events,
• delivered on campus, online, through fieldwork and external visits,
• enhanced through individual, personalised tutoring and mentorship activities,
• regularly revised via formative feedback, self-evaluation exercises, and diverse assessment strategies enhancing and mobilizing further learning.

We will make use of weekly 3h timeslots to deliver workshops that are creatively tailored to the applied and participatory nature of this module, responding to the group needs and (possibly diverse) level of research experience among students. Each workshop will have tutor’s and students’ input delivered in various formats, for instance it may contain: pre-recorded lecture or a mix of pre-recorded and in-class inputs; student presentations; pair and small group discussions, all-class forum debates; problem-solving practical tasks and activities; computer lab work; 1-on-1 student-tutor time, peer-learning exercises. We will also use blended learning technologies in response to your needs, and diverse and applied nature of learned and practiced content. We envisage making use of pre-recorded lectures; live, online meetings using WebEx, interactive VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) technologies such as Moodle quizzes, peer review and feedback workshops, online annotation and commentary tools on e-book platforms (Kortext or similar), and professional software.

In particular, on this module:
1. Lectures and in-class discussions will help you with advancing understanding of the complex links between theory and methodology (LO1).
2. Scenario-based learning tasks, under the guidance of the Module Leader, will help you with tackling complex ethical issues in social research (LO2).
3. Practical tasks and small group exercises will stimulate your imagination and creativity to show your ability to deploy the research design principles in practice (LO3,4).
4. Guided self-study and individual scholarship time that you dedicate to learning on this module will form a core of your learning, supporting your achievement of module’s aims and objectives (LO1,2,3,4).

Formative Assessment:
Formative feedback consists of two elements: a tutor’s commentary alongside collaborative learning and commentary from students. Each week you will be given a homework related to your assessment, and in the classroom you will have time to present and discuss your progress, receiving tutors feedback. Small-group exercises during workshops will be your chance to appreciate peer feedback from other students.
Additionally, you will draw formative insights from cross-module feedback structure embedded in our programme. E.g. the ongoing conversations with your allocated Dissertation Mentor about the research direction will help you hone the research ideas. Peer discussions about research ethics will feed into preparations of the Ethical Approval Form to be submitted for your Dissertation Project.

Summative Assessment:
You will submit:
• Research Proposal (Assessed LOs: 1,2,3,4) (100% weight of the final mark) (Indicative word length: 1500-3000, agreed with the ML and corresponding to the chosen topic and methodology).

You will write a tailored, comprehensive, research proposal encapsulating learned knowledge and skills to evidence your advanced skills in research design. The proposal will show your advanced understanding of the complex links between theory and methodology of research (LO1), and how you tackle complex ethical issues in social research (LO2). It will be a manifestation of your ability to apply and practice the research design principles on a concrete example (LO3,4).

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 36
Independent Learning Groupwork (Independent Study) 24
Independent Learning Guided independent study 140
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Project - Written 100 1,2,3,4 14/15 , WORDS= 3000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader