The aim of this module is to introduce you to the principles of undertaking social investigative and criminological research and evaluation. You will develop a critical awareness of theoretical debates pertaining to the foundation of knowledge and the relationship between epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology and method. The skills which you will develop will allow you to adopt a critical approach to the examination of social research and to make informed theoretical, practical and ethical decisions concerning the practice of research. The aim is to prepare you for undertaking your research project at Level Three and thus the module will provide you with the skills to identify a research objective and draw up a research proposal. It will then systematically cover the various issues that you will encounter in the research process and the different approaches to gathering and analysing data, which you will have the opportunity to put into practice in your research project at Level Three.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Explain the underlying principles and practice of different research methodologies and methods
2. Critically examine a variety of research studies relevant to your proposal in terms of methodological, practical and ethical strategy
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practice of conducting a literature search and library-based research
4. Design a meta analysis of literature relevant to your research proposal
Task: Discuss the research design that will guide your project including the epistemological and practical issues that have influenced your methodological approach and chosen method of data collection.
Task: Discuss the main ethical considerations in carrying out research and explain what (if any) consequences are associated with your own research and the steps you anticipate taking to account for these.
To assist your work on this module you will need to read around the topics, and to get the most out of workshops you are expected to prepare for each session before the workshop so that you are able to make a meaningful contribution to the workshop discussions.
Any work presented in workshops or entered into your dissertation proposal should be well referenced from bona fide sources (see below), without which you will not perform well on this module. As stated earlier, referencing should reflect the influences on your ideas and support any factual statements you make. You should also aim to provide references throughout your dissertation proposal, not just in the literature section. Rather than stipulate a set number of references, you are required to think about the appropriateness of your reading to what you have written to make sure you avoid anecdotal statements or uninformed opinions. However, as a guide anything less than a dozen sources will be classed as limited reading and you should expect to present a reference list well in excess of this figure.