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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Research Design and Implementation (online) (PGGE11275)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the programme and the wide range of research projects and reading each of you may undertake now and in the future. It focuses on developing skills to craft an appropriate design for tackling a research problem (whether academic or professional); how to decide on an appropriate data collection and analysis methodology for topics applicable to Carbon Management; and how to synthesise and communicate the outcomes of research. Development of fundamental research and communication will be useful for both the MSc dissertation and future careers in a wide range of areas.
Course description This course aims to provide students with the building blocks to design and understand what is needed to carry out any research project in general, with a specific focus on the MSc dissertation. Students will have the opportunity to further develop critical analysis and communication skills that are transferable and valuable to non-academic organisations - from private industry to NGOs; to use an evidence-informed approach to evaluating key areas of carbon management; and ultimately to further our understanding of the world, with view to making recommendations on improving the status quo.

The course covers three specific areas of research skills. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
- Why we do research: critically analyse and synthesise existing knowledge via literature review and problematisation. Considerable emphasis will be placed on the value of research in furthering our understanding of the world.
- Research Design: distinguish between the main design approaches that may be used to conduct research, and to understand when and why to use them. A select number of research methods are presented with opportunities to practice some methods. It should be noted the universe of potential methods for a Carbon Management dissertation is vast. We cannot possibly cover them all but will focus on developing an in depth understanding of the key approaches used by researchers in the field of carbon management.
- Communication: tell a story in a compelling and robust manner that engages the target audience and details how we demonstrate a new contribution to knowledge and understanding. Weekly Tutorials are used as opportunities to develop and communicate our ideas.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0%
Coursework 100%
Practical Exam 0%

Science Communication (Podcast + Infographic) (50%)
Research / Project Proposal (50%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Justify and apply appropriate research design & methods for any project
  2. Identify, synthesise, and critically evaluate literature in a given field
  3. Communicate content of a complex nature to a range of audiences
Reading List
The following are texts are preparatory. Additional texts are assigned throughout the course for the relevant lectures. Details of further reading for individual lectures can be found in the full course Resource List on the VLE and Learn.

Research Design in Social Research. David de Vaus, 2001. SAGE Publications, London. This text forms the basis for much of the first half of the course. Not available as an e-book from the Library, but does appear in Google Play and Amazon.

The Craft of Research. Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, 2008. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. This is one of the most comprehensive and accessible books addressing how to undertake academic research. It is aimed at all researchers and addresses many of the topics in this course. Written as a general 'how to' guide in setting and writing up research rather than a traditional textbook format. (Available as an e-book. The 2016 version is practically identical, though only available in print.)

Other texts / articles / papers
The following texts are some suggested starting points for recommended and further reading into concepts relevant for producing research reports. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Research Design (International Student Edition). John W Creswell, 2013. SAGE Publications, London. This text will be used more selectively than the preceding, but is recommended for developing the research proposal.
Developing Research Questions: A guide for social scientists. Patrick White, 2009. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, UK. Whilst not required, this book is highly recommended. It is very accessible and will likely not require a great deal of time for a first read through.

How to read and understand a scientific paper: A guide for non-scientists. Jennifer Raff, 2013. Violent Metaphors. Whilst the title of this blog piece says ¿for non-scientists¿, the guidance it provides is very useful for anyone who needs to read academic papers. (Available online at: )

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Edward R. Tufte, 2001. A picture can be worth a thousand words, if presented well. Tufte¿s books illustrate best practice in graphically presenting data. Please note none of Tufte¿s books are available online via the University Library and are expensive (and unnecessary) to purchase; but perhaps your local library has a copy.

The Essential Guide to Effect Sizes: Statistical Power, Meta-Analysis, and the Interpretation of Research Results. Paul D. Ellis, 2010. A resource for research projects that use statistical analysis. (Available as an e-book)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills After completing this course, students should be able to:
- develop analytical, numerical and problem solving skills;
- critically assess existing understanding in a defined area of knowledge;
- recognise qualitative and quantitative techniques as appropriate to the analysis of particular circumstances;
- apply a range of relevant quantitative and qualitative research methods; and,
- use relevant literature and data reference materials.
KeywordsQualitative Research,Quantitative Research,Literature Review,Critical Reading
Course organiserDr James Paterson
Course secretaryMrs Katherine Ingram
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