Research Design – Assignment Brief
Designing a research project
Chose a topic that you are interested in researching further – it could be anything related to your degree programme, previous topics have included: ‘understanding child poverty’ ‘the role of social media in political campaigns’ ‘attitudes to the environment’ and ‘the experiences of migrant children in China’. If you cannot decide use the topic ‘Student Life’.
Outline (500 words)how you will design your research project using the following headings:
Overview and research question (s)
The overall research strategy
Research design features
Data management, ethics and safety
You should not include any additional headings.
Each section should draw on references from the Research Design literature base (e.g. the module reading list) in order to justify the decisions that you have proposed. More details about each section are provided below.
Section 1: Overview and research question (s)
Provide a brief overview of your topic. State what your research question (s) is/are and why.
Section 2: Literature searches
Explain how you will review the literature – for example your search terms, search engines employed, the parameters used, and why you have made these decisions. Do NOT undertake a literature review.
Section 3: The overall research strategy
Outline your overall research strategy – for example, will it be qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. Justify why you have chosen this. In this section you should refer to module literature on research paradigms and philosophy to explain and justify your choices.
Section 4: Research design features
What specific design features will you use – for example, secondary analysis, surveys, qualitative interviews, case studies, experimental/ longitudinal/comparative methods. Explain why you have made these decisions, drawing on literature from the module reading list. Here you can also give examples of what you plan to do – for example – if you are proposing to undertake a survey, you can provide some example questions.
Section 5: Sampling
What sampling techniques will you use? E.g. for quantitative research probability sampling, for qualitative research, purposive/theoretical sampling etc. Explain why you have made these decisions, drawing on literature from the module reading list.
Section 6: Limitations
What are the limitations of your research design? What claims can you make? What claims are you unable to make? Explain why you have made these decisions, drawing on literature from the module reading list.
Section 7: Data management, ethics and safety
How data will be stored? Are there any ethical implications associated with your research? Are there any safety implications? How will these be addressed? Explain why you have made these decisions, drawing on literature from the module reading list.
Section 8: References
A list of references used in the assessment, appropriately formatted. This does not form part of the word count. The reference list should largely be made up of sources from the Research Design module reading list.
Additional assignment-specific guidance
Please note that markers on the Research Design module will pay particular attention to:
• The quality of the argument made. Markers will be looking to see whether you demonstrate a critical understanding of different aspects of research design, whether you understand the limitations associated with different research designs, and whether you are able to translate research theory into practice.
• Your use of referencing – whether the points you make are supported by a range of references from the Research Design module reading list.
• Your ability to develop an overall argument throughout the essay – markers are not looking for 8 individual sections, but instead a coherent account of how you will design your research project.
• Your ability to follow the instructions set out – you must use the headings and follow the advice given.
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