Module Catalogue 2021/22

TCP8911 : Research Design

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Diego Garcia Mejuto
  • Demonstrator: Dr Neil Adrian Powe
  • Lecturer: Dr Jane Midgley
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



•       To develop knowledge and skills in methods of evaluation, analysis and research that benefit planning practitioners.
•       To aid students in developing appropriate research strategies for their specialised study and their dissertation at postgraduate level.
•       To introduce students to a range of different types of research for different purposes and contexts.
•       To introduce students to the basic principles of commissioning research for a range of professional purposes.
•       To stimulate students into thinking about their dissertations early and identifying and refining a research topic.

This module prepares students to undertake research for their final dissertation and for planning policy development and practice. It explores a range of approaches to the design and undertaking of methodologically robust research, it raises students’ awareness of the rigorous standards expected of both practice and academic research., and it also helps students identify and refine their final dissertation topic.

The module also helps students identify and refine their final dissertation topic

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Introduction to the module and to research design
•       The researcher: positionality and ethics
•       Basic principles of research
•       Framing research and building a literature review
•       Broad methodological approaches and frameworks
•       Qualitative and quantitative research
•       Sampling and data collection method
•       Data analysis
•       Triangulation of data and evidence
•       Presenting your research (dissertation and other conventions)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       Develop an awareness of the fundamentals of research and its relevance for the social sciences and practice.
•       Understand the importance of the positionality of the researcher, the research context and ethical issues in designing and carrying out research.
•       Synthesise the existing knowledge on a research topic of choice and identify those areas where more research is needed.
•       Appraise the appropriateness and limitations of applying different research strategies, sampling strategies, data collection methods and types of analysis.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       Subject specific: create appropriate research designs and methodologies to investigate specific research topics at a postgraduate level
•       Cognitive: critically analyse literature, policy and academic research and research proposals
•       Key: apply an appropriate combination of qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to specific research problems, and write clear and concise research proposals

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials72:0014:00A combination of short recordings of lecture material, quizzes and text published on VLE each week
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Workshops supported by members of staff to help students make progress in the assessment (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00Surgery session to provide advice on draft research proposals before the deadline (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00Optional drop-in sessions in the weeks where no other synchronous sessions are planned (PIP)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study156:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Synchronous introductory talk to introduce the content, approach and pattern of student learning PIP
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture materials, provided throughout the module and including small associated tasks, provide the substantive content of the module. The delivery of these materials and the preparation of the assessment is supported by (a) a series of synchronous online weekly present-in-person sessions: activities and (b) weekly directed research and reading activities. The first type of activities comprises an introductory module talk, three workshops with staff members starting in week 4 and separated by two or three weeks more than one week, and a final surgery session, and optional drop-in sessions in the weeks where no other synchronous activity is planned. The second group of activities will be delivered each week and will be themed according to the lecture materials in order to support the preparation of the individual assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal1M100research proposal (3000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment supports and tests the achievement of all knowledge and skills learning outcomes. A single research proposal is an appropriate way of both assessing the student’s knowledge of the research process, a research topic of their choice and the different methodological practices used in the social sciences, and assessing the student’s ability to critically review the existing literature on a topic and to develop an appropriate research design and methodology to investigate it. In addition, the assessment ensures that the student is capable of developing a postgraduate research dissertation. This module must be passed before a student can progress to TCP8099 Dissertation.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.