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Module 4: Research Field Methods & Logistics

This module introduces students to those research field methods and logistics utilised by practitioners in development research and will provide course participants with the empirical and methodological skills necessary to undertake independent fieldwork research. This component of the course will help students in choosing an appropriate methodology to answer research questions. Furthermore, the module will outline the stages in formulating research questions, research planning and design, piloting research instruments, data analysis techniques, fieldwork and data collection strategies, culminating in the presentation of findings and recommendations. Logistical issues confronted in any development practice research project such as site selection, pre-testing, immigration clearance, language and cultural issues, budget planning, timetabling and ethical issues will also be scrutinised. Moreover, this element of the programme will examine the advantages and limitations of different approaches and methods as well as introducing students to social research methods for international development practice. The module will also help practitioners to identify, define and delineate the major concepts intrinsic to undertaking fieldwork involving both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

This component is designed to develop the independent research capacity of students and will provide participants with the ability to build up skills in relation to research methods such as conducting case studies, participant action research, critical ethnography, focus group research, statistical surveys and data analysis using SPSS. Students will also learn how to source, critically evaluate, synthesise, summarise and interpret primary and secondary data from a wide array of sources. By the end of this module participants should be able to participate in fieldwork planning, analyse data from a particular development-related intervention, create viable project reports based upon such data sets, devise feasible research questions, empirically test and evaluate hypotheses, formulate research objectives, select a type of research design and evaluate the effectiveness of a particular development intervention.

 

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