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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Research Design (PGSP11208)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to the main issues involved in designing social science research, and is intended for students from a wide range of social science disciplines. Research design calls for decisions about how the research should be carried out, about what kind of data should be collected and analysed, and about how inferences should be drawn if the aims of the research are to be realised. The researcher has to be able to demonstrate that conclusions drawn from the research are robust and well-grounded epistemologically and theoretically. The course does not provide training in research methods, or an exhaustive checklist of points that need to be considered when designing a research project. It concentrates instead on the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of research design as they relate to the aims, objectives and theoretical underpinnings of any piece of research.
Course description Through lectures, interactive seminars, and workshops, students will develop an understanding of a range of research design salient topics, e.g. ontology and epistemology, case study and comparison, interdisciplinarity, time and the politics of knowledge production.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (PGSP11016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  120
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed by one 3000-4000 word course paper detailing and defending all or part of the research design the student intends to use in their own research project.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a sound understanding of the basic principles of research design
  2. Evaluate the robustness of research projects that use a range of approaches and methods
  3. Create a robust design for their own
  4. Defend the choices they have made in designing their research project to general social science audiences
Reading List
Bechhofer, F. and Paterson, L. (2000) Principles of Research Design in the Social Sciences, London: Routledge
Blaikie, N. (2009) Designing Social Research, Cambridge: Polity
Hakim, C. (2000) Research Design: Successful Designs for Social and Economic Research, London: Routledge
Hancké, B. (2009) Intelligent Research Design. A guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Moses, J. and Knutsen, T. (2007) Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The class comprises 10 x 1 hour whole-class presentations by the course teachers, weekly 1 hour discussion group sessions in smaller multi-disciplinary groups facilitated by advanced doctoral students or those who have recently completed their dissertations, and in which students are required to relate the concerns of the course to their proposed research.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Rebecca Hewer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3502
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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