SPE4011 : Research Methods in Practice IV

  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Nick Miller
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


The aim of the module is that students should be able to:
-formulate a manageable (within the time and other resource limits of a final year dissertation) overall question in relation to a current theoretical or practical debate within the broad field of speech language sciences
-elucidate the practical and/or theoretical issues posed by the question
-critically review current literature on the subject
-formulate a set of specific answerable research questions
-in relation to these questions formulate testable hypotheses
-construct a methodology appropriate to answering the questions/ testing the hypotheses
-process and analyse data gathered using appropriate quantitative or qualitative methods
-report results
-discuss results in relation to the original question(s) and hypotheses and site findings within the broader clinical/educational/theoretical debates
-reflect on the whole process to demonstrate understanding of why and how things turned out as they did

Outline Of Syllabus

Syllabus: Students carry out and write up a piece of empirical research (quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods) under the guidance of a supervisor within the department (occasionally there is an external clinical supervisor or member of staff from another department, however, there will always be a supervisor internal to Speech language sciences and they will always have prime responsibility for supervision and guidance).

The module draws together student learning from research methods and statistics courses in the previous three years. It permits students to pursue a topic of research that has grown out of their theoretical or clinical interests during the whole course. It is aimed at creating clinician researchers who will be able to apply empirical methods to evaluation of their clinical practice in future years and to advance the evidence base for practices within their profession.

Students will:
1. design an appropriate research study* under the supervision of a staff member;
2. obtain the approval of the relevant Research Ethics Committee to conduct the research;
3. collect, analyse and interpret data;
4. present a comprehensive report in the form of a journal article.

* Normally, the first draft of this will have been completed in the Stage 3 Research Methods module (SPE3027).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00Staff read drafts
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1300:00300:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery18:008:00Statistical advice variable per student
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision121:0012:00as per departmental workload, not as per actual hours.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Tutorials with supervisor (to be arranged by student) to support design and conduct of research and facilitate write-up. The role of the supervisor is to offer advice/guidance at all stages of the project and comment on draft versions of the introduction, methods and results sections of the write-up. The work should remain as far as possible the student’s own efforts.
There is no set word limit, directions ask for students to use as many and only as many words as are required to achieve the aims above rather than fill all available space. In keeping with several leading journals in the field there is a page limit of 50 sides (A4 double spaced, margins min 2.5cm) to include all main text, tables, figures and bibliography, but not appendices, abstract, title page and acknowledgements.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M10050 sides A4 double spaced to include main text, tables and bibliography, but not title page, abstract and appendices
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Qualitative research skills; accessing information; qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis; organisation and time management; appropriate and effective communication skills; writing for different purposes.

Resit would be for completion at end of semester 1 in the following academic year, or time agreed by Exam board.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.