Module details for 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 D

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.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 24
Assessment 40
Independent 124
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.