Research Methods


GSR501 This module is designed to introduce postgraduate students to research methods and statistical analysis. Theoretical, historical and statistical concepts are taught in lectures with hands on practical lab sessions using both quantitative and qualitative techniques that allow students to put theory into practice


The aim of this module is to provide the student with a critical understanding of theories, concepts and principles of research methodology and the range of methods used in conducting research in different disciplines; and, to give the student the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake an original in-depth investigation in those fields

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Critically review current knowledge in a specified area, and establish its status and limitations

2.  Identify, conceptualise and define a research question(s) and justify its relevance to practice and its significance as a potential contribution to existing knowledge.

3.  Select and justify a research methodology to meet specified research aims and objectives.

4.  Critically analyse and interpret primary/secondary research data (quantitative and/ or qualitative), testing for validity and reliability of the results.

Indicative Content

1 Introduction to Research

The nature and purpose of research; different types of research (quantitative qualitative, mixed methods, developmental, practice based) and their mapping within different philosophical paradigms (positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism); strengths and weaknesses.

2 Dealing with Practical Issues, Ethics

The research process; identifying a research topic and setting research objectives; developing a research strategy; characteristics of a good research project; ethical issues in conducting research.

3 Searching and Reviewing the Literature

The purposes and main steps of a literature review; searching, evaluating, organizing and synthesizing the relevant literature; and, writing a literature review and managing bibliographic records. In addition, developing research questions for qualitative and quantitative research; and identifying characteristics/attributes

4 Data Collection and Analysis

Approaches to data collection and analysis (quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, iterative); questionnaire design; populations, samples, and sampling methods; data Mining.

5 Writing your Research Proposal

Identifying a research problem or issue, the purpose of the research and the main research question(s); choosing the research strategy and methods; writing a research proposal. In addition: discussing findings, formulating conclusions, making recommendations, and reporting; planning, executing, writing up, and submitting a dissertation.

6 Descriptive Statistics for Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Summarizing and visualizing data sets; finding trends in data and formulating a research hypothesis.

7 Introduction to Probability and Statistical Inference

Basic concepts of probability and probability distribution; discrete and continuous random variables; basic probability distributions; introduction to the hypothesis testing procedure.

8 The Hypothesis Testing Procedure

Parametric and non-parametric tests; Chi-squared Test for Association; Independent Sample t-Test; One and Two Way Analysis of Variance ANOVA; power calculation and sample size estimation.

9 Correlation and Regression

Relationship between two numeric variables, dependent and independent variable; Pearson¿s Correlation Coefficient; Simple Linear Regression.

10 Multiple Regression

Multiple Regression Analysis and introduction to the General Linear Model.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching and learning on this module will be interactive and learner centred, designed to create an environment forging learner empowerment and autonomy, and critical analysis skills. The module will also develop students' research skills through structured (theoretical) input and through practice application, including lab based work, with delivery including lectorials, lectures, lab sessions, tutorial sessions and supporting drop in clinics. In week 7, students will have the opportunity to receive feedback and feed forward on a draft of the research report they are required to submit in week 9 for the assessment of part 1 of this module (for further details, see Assessment and Additional Assessment Information, below).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 8
Supervised Practical Activity 12
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 128

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.