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

Postgraduate Course: International development: research design and practice (PGSP11420)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits0 ECTS Credits0
SummaryThe course is mandatory for all students in the MSc Africa and International Development and MSc International Development. It provides important skills and knowledge that will train students on how to do independent research. The course will discuss the politics of knowledge production in international development, while improving skills in research design, methods, ethics, and writing. All the course sessions are designed to help students with their dissertations, including answers to questions such as: how do I design my research and develop a good question? What ethical considerations are important? How do I write clearly and analytically?
Course description The course will be delivered in weekly two-hour in-person sessions, which combine lectures and seminar sessions with an element of group work.

Semester 1
Week 1: Politics of knowledge production
Week 2: Developing research questions
Week 6: Research design
Week 9: Writing within and beyond academia

Semester 2
Week 2: Overview of research methods
Week 5: Organising and writing up research
Week 8: Ethics and risk management
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:  80
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Please contact the School directly for a breakdown of Learning and Teaching Activities
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course will not be assessed. But for successful completion of this course, it is MANDATORY to submit two assignments: a short paper following guidance by the course organisers which will focus on analytical writing in semester 1, and a research proposal outline (accompanied with ethics self-audit) in semester 2.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Learn how to write academic essays and other texts in the field of international development based on a critical understanding of the main debates in this field as they are being taught in the core courses of the two programmes.
  2. Acquire knowledge of research design, the range of techniques of enquiry, and other skills needed to develop and conduct research for a standard dissertation or work-based placement dissertation within the field of International Development;
  3. Learn to deal self-reflexively with complex ethical and professional/academic issues and make informed judgements on issues arising in the context of independent research or a work-based placement;
  4. Develop a positive rapport with peers and staff and a sense of cohesion as a cohort
  5. Ability to critically analyse a theme of their choosing in the field of international development through dissertation research addressing that theme.
Reading List
Desai V. and Potter R B. (2006), Doing Development Research, SAGE
Hammett, D., Twyman, C., et al. (2015). Research and Fieldwork in Development. London: Routledge.
Laws, S., Caroline H., Jones, N., and Marcus, R. (2013). Research for Development: A Practical Guide. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Scheyvens, R. (Ed.). (2014). Development fieldwork: A practical guide. Sage.
Skovdal, M. and Cornish, F. (2015). Qualitative research for development: A guide for practitioners. Rugby: Practical Action.
Sumner, A., and Michael Tribe. 2008. International Development Studies: Theories and Methods in Research and Practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will provide students with the skills needed to conduct independent research or applied research for a host organisation offering a work-based placement in the field of international development. Students will acquire knowledge about writing an academic essay and a MSc dissertation in this field, the ability to assess ethical challenges of work and research in international development, basic knowledge about formulating a relevant research question and choose the appropriate methodology. Students will learn to work in a host organisation. Students will acquire basic information about health and safety as well as relevant government regulations.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Mohammad Amir Anwar
Tel: (0131 6)51 1731
Course secretaryMr Adam Petras
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