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HSS8001 : Thinking about Research

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Abigail Marks
  • Owning School: HASS Faculty Office
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To investigate the nature of developing a research process, both in academic and non-academic research environments, including:
• Enabling students to formulate problems and devise research questions.
• Enabling students to identify the significance of asking the right questions.
• Enabling students to assess the significance of how questions are theorised.
• Showing students how research is related to policy and practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will involve a combination of lectures and workshops with group exercises in order to explore the contexts within which research takes place, and practice skills in the development of research proposals. Topics include:
• Formulation; the problem and question.
• Theory-driven and 'real world' research.
• Research funders' exercise.
• Fieldwork; Home and abroad.
• Research project development exercise in small groups.
• Presentation of research project proposal.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials100:305:0010 x 30min narrated PowerPoints
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study100:305:00One exercise to follow each narrated online lecture
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study180:0080:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce students to key concepts and issues in the research process and illustrate with case study examples and materials based on staff research experience, and through this address the knowledge outcomes.

Workshops will involve students working in groups to explore and address:
1. The specification of a research problem
2. The development appropriate methodology

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1002500 word dissertation proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment has two rationales:

1) to assess the student’s ability to transfer knowledge and understanding of the research process from one subject to another, as their final dissertation proposal;

2) to assess the student’s ability to undertake the proposed final M level dissertation, in terms of topic, current understanding of the topic, methodological approach and data collection methods, risks and assumptions; writing ability and critical thinking

Reading Lists