Research Design, Practice and Ethics

The module will introduce students to the concepts and varieties of social science research designs. Research design consists of choices necessary to transform a research question into actual research. These choices relate to strategies and modes of case selection, data collection and modes of analysis, and they pertain equally to qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies.

Every research question can be elaborated in different ways; none of these will be ideal in all respects, so that design choices have implications in terms of costs and benefits. The module will discuss these implications, considering the kinds of conclusions that can reliably be drawn from the different kinds of evidence produced by different designs. Key design features such as groups, timing and measurement will be introduced and illustrated through a range of research designs including experimental and quasi-experimental, case study design and longitudinal design. Design elements will be linked into the full cycle of research activity, from knowledge synthesis through to policy or practice.

A module handbook and course material will be made available in November 2018.