Title: Research Design and Proposal writing by Distance Learning (not offered in Academic Year 2018-19)
Keywords: Self-reflexion
Research (in general)
Quantitative methods
Qualitative methods
Communication (oral, written)
Country: United Kingdom
Institution: UK - Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Course coordinator: Predrag Duric
Date start: 2018-01-15
Date end: 2018-02-23
About duration and dates: Number of weeks: 8 weeks in total: 6 weeks interactive learning & 2 weeks working on assignment. The module will also be available 2 weeks prior to starting for voluntary induction
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Distance-based
Course location: Delivered electronically from IIHD, Edinburgh
ECTS credit points: 5 ECTS credits
150 hours of SIT consisting of:
• Online content delivery (e.g. annotated and narrated PowerPoints, recorded mini-lectures, YouTube videos) (35 hours)
• Practical exercises, including online reflection and discussion, synchronous chat sessions and online self-assessment (quizzes) (40 hours)
• Self directed study (45 hours)
• Assignment preparation – Written research proposal (30 hours)
Language: English
At the end of the module the student will be able to:
• Demonstrate the ability to develop an answerable research question relevant to global health and development, based on critical examination of existing evidence and theory,
• Formulate a coherent research proposal, containing a research question, a rationale, a methodological approach, including specific methods of data collection and analysis,
• Search and critically appraise relevant literature, including journal articles, books and grey literature and web based material,
• Demonstrate awareness of ethics in research practice and the knowledge of how to obtain ethical approval for research proposals,
• Demonstrate competence in planning research activity.
Assessment Procedures:
A written research proposal for a research project: 2,500 words (100%).
In addition, students are required to complete and submit several student tasks and mini- assignments (compulsory but not marked) in order to be allowed to submit the summative assignment. Students will be asked to give feedback to other students’ tasks.
Each student will receive an individual feedback on the final assessment two-mini assignments and a group feedback on the student tasks.
Turnitin – a web based service will be used to prevent plagiarism.
An example of the assessment task is attached

If a student should fail any of the components they are allowed to resubmit their assignments.

Identity of students’ work will be verified as student progressively work to build different components of the final research proposal that they will submit. The tutor’s involvement during the 8 week interactive period allows constant monitoring of how individuals contribute to the development of their own proposal.
Unit 1: Building block of research
- The role of theory in research
- Selection of research topic and formulation of problem statement
Unit 2: Reviewing the literature, research aims, objectives and questions
- Literature reviews: purposes, types and procedures
- Research aims and objectives
- Research questions and hypotheses
Unit 3: Choosing the research methodology
- Quantitative approach
- Qualitative approach
- Mixed methods approach
- Sources of bias and confounding
Unit 4: Collecting data: practicalities and ethics
- Sampling
- Practicalities of fieldwork
- The ethics of fieldwork
Unit 5: Planning a proposal: challenges and considerations
- Planning the proposal
- Potential risks
- Project management
Unit 6: Evaluation of research proposals and dissemination strategies
- Evaluation of research proposals
- Dissemination and communication plan
This module is an online learning version of the Research Design and Planning module which has been run at IGHD since 2005. The facilitation of the learning experience is conducted exclusively via a virtual learning environment (currently Blackboard), which will contain all learning materials. Interaction between learners and the lecturer will be through e-communication (using the VLE and other tools such as Skype or Adobe Connect).

The main learning methods employed are:
1. Self-directed learning where students make use of the materials posted on Blackboard to meet the learning objectives of the course. Learning materials include:
- Readings; downloadable or scanned articles, eBooks.
- Narrated PowerPoints,
- Recorded mini-lectures (voice, image & PowerPoint slides),
- Short videos, including recordings of reflective interviews with IGHD students and staff members.

2. Initiating, and responding to, discussion strands on the discussion board. The unit guides include questions for reflection and discussion, in order to guide the directed learning. Students can initiate discussion topics as well. Discussions will be student led. Tutors will monitor the discussions and give feedback on key points. Students can also discuss topics in a chatroom (but will not be required to do so).
Interactions on the discussion board and in a chatroom will enable students to exchange research experiences and insights, ask questions for clarification and give peer feedback. Importantly, these interactions will enable the building of a community of learners; a social community which will significantly enhance the learning experience.

3.Scaffolding of formative assignments which require production of different elements of a research proposal including 1) draft research aims/questions 2) draft design 3) literature review protocol.
Students will be expected to do all mini-assignments but completion is not compulsory for passing the module.

4. Giving and receiving constructive peer feedback, in written form or via chat/Skype, on amongst other aspects, formative assignments and a draft research proposal.
• General admission requirements for entry onto MSc courses run at IGHD, include IELTS of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each language skill,
• Regular access to a computer and the internet (broadband) for the duration of the module,
• Basic computer skills, including using the world-wide web.
Max number of students: 30 (no limit on tropEd students)
First 30 students who apply and who meet all the requirements will be selected.
Fees: GBP: 700 for module (approximately €820) for 2017/18
Scholarships: None
Major changes since initial accreditation:
Module coordinator: Predrag Duric replaced Bregje De Kok
Any changes in course coordinator.
Content: Qualitative and quantitative data analysis units have been replaced with the Choosing the research methodology and Evaluation of research proposals units, in order to strengthen the proposal aspects of the module rather than the data analysis components.
Student evaluation:
Student evaluations were very positive for the years in which the module ran. For instance in 2014:
80% of students agreed that the learning objectives were achieved.
80% agreed the learning-materials (PowerPoints, recorded lectures etc.) were generally well-prepared and organized
60% agreed that the adequate help was available when needed
The most frequent complaints were about the feedback delay on assignments and the problem with videos.
Lessons learned:
In relation to improving response from the module coordinator, the new module coordinator is now available for consultations and support on daily base during the interactive period. The way in which videos are used has been changed to allow easier access.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in September 2012, Re-accredited in February 2017. This accreditation is valid until February 2022.
Key readings for the module include:

BOOTH, W. C., COLOMB, G. G., and WILIAMS, J.M., 2008. The craft of research. Chicago: University Chicago Press.
BLAXTER, L., HUGHES, C. and TIGHT, M., 2010. How to research. 4nd ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.
CRESWELL, J., 2009. Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. 3rd ed. London: Sage.
POLGAR, S., and THOMAS, S.A., 2013. Introduction to research in health sciences. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
POPE, C., MAYS, N. and POPAY, J., 2007. Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health evidence a guide to methods. New York: McGraw Hill Education.
SUPINO, P. G., and BORER, J. S., 2012. Principles of research methodology. New York: Springer.
Email Address: PDuric@qmu.ac.uk
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-09-17 12:05:44 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2017-06-21 21:31:17 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2017-07-20 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2018-06-21 16:18:04 (W3C-DTF)

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