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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : Veterinary Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Scientific Paradigms, Research Approaches and Study Design Across Disciplines (VESC11251)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryA wide range of approaches to research are utilised within the health, environmental and social sciences. This course will introduce the concepts underpinning these approaches. It will introduce different scientific paradigms and their research methodologies, in order to develop students¿ ability to identify their research question and design an appropriate study to investigate it. It will cover study design, methods and data analysis techniques, providing a foundation for the dissertation component of the programme.
Course description This ten-credit course will begin with a consideration of the philosophy of science and sources of knowledge. It will provide a critical analysis of different research paradigms and associated methodologies. Differences between interpretivist and positivist research paradigms will be explored to allow students to better understand how researchers can study the world. This will allow a more critical understanding of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research to be developed.
The course will cover qualitative research techniques aimed at understanding the social world, including how the world is experienced and constructed. It will also cover quantitative research techniques focussing on observational epidemiological studies and other approaches relevant to the health sciences.
Course participants will engage in critical thinking to develop their own proposal for a small research project, working through the study design process including formulating and refining a research question, selecting appropriate ethical methods, and planning their data analysis. The R statistical analysis package will be introduced and a range of other helpful resources will be signposted. This will provide a strong foundation for entering the dissertation part of the programme.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 5 (sem 2)
Course Start Date
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative assessments:
Data analysis tasks, peer-review and critiques of scientific literature

Summative assessments:
1. Development of a research proposal which may form the basis for their dissertation (70%) (LO1, LO2)
2. MCQs (30%) (LO3)
Feedback Students will receive written or oral feedback on all formative and summative assessments within 15 working days of each assessment being due.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop an original and creative response to a clearly identified research question with consideration of data collection and analysis.
  2. Work autonomously by taking responsibility for identifying and researching a topic of their choice, producing a research proposal.
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of scientific and basic statistical concepts.
Reading List
A course reading list will be provided with relevant resources to support the teaching materials.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and skills will include:

A. Research and Enquiry
Graduates of the University will be able to create new knowledge and opportunities for learning through the process of research and enquiry. This may be understood in terms of the following:
¿ be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them
¿ be able to exercise critical judgment in creating new understanding
¿ be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
¿ be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge
¿ search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
¿ have an informed respect for the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of their discipline(s) and the capacity to question these
¿ understand economic, legal, ethical, social, cultural and environmental issues in the use of information

B. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
Graduates of the University will be able to work independently and sustainably, in a way that is informed by openness, curiosity and a desire to meet new challenges. This may be understood in terms of the following:
¿ be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
¿ be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
¿ be able to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views
¿ be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest
¿ be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts

C. Communication
Graduates of the University will recognise and value communication as the tool for negotiating and creating new understanding, collaborating with others, and furthering their own learning. This may be understood in terms of the following:
¿ make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding
¿ use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others
¿ further their own learning through effective use of the full range of communication approaches
¿ seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
¿ recognise the benefits of communicating with those beyond their immediate environments
¿ use effective communication to articulate their skills as identified through self-reflection

D. Personal Effectiveness
Graduates of the University will be able to effect change and be responsive to the situations and environments in which they operate. This may be understood in terms of the following:
¿ appreciate and use talents constructively, demonstrating self-discipline, motivation, adaptability, persistence and professionalism
¿ be able to manage risk while initiating and managing change
¿ be able to flexibly transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another
¿ understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues
¿ be able to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, experience and skills

KeywordsResearch Methods,Scientific Methodology,Sources of Knowledge,Study Design,Statistics,Data Analysis
Course organiserDr Glen Cousquer
Tel: (0131 6)51 7374
Course secretaryMiss Stavriana Manti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5310
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