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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2017-18. The current handbook year is 2019-20

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA2341: RESEARCH PROJECT

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • Any Level 1 SGIA module

Corequisites

  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.

Aims

  • The module will introduce students to a range of methodological strategies and problems associated with the conduct of research within the discipline
  • The module contributes to students’ critical engagement with politics as an academic subject and as an aspect of wider human activity. They will gain a more detailed and systematic understanding of the chosen topic and an awareness of the areas of contestation and dispute surrounding that topic.
  • The module will offer students the opportunity to produce an extended piece of work within a structured and supported framework that will help prepare them for the demands of writing a dissertation at level three.
  • The module will require students to engage with the current research of members of staff.

Content

  • The module content will include an introduction to the structuring of a research project, qualitative, quantitative and normative research methods and the ethical and risk dimensions of research.
  • The module will also include a specific topic, to be determined by the research interests of the staff teaching the module, and will require the students to engage with the research of those members of staff.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of:
  • Methodological strategies and tools deployed within the discipline of Politics.
  • A specific body of literature at or near the boundaries of current research.
  • The theoretical and/or methodolgical context of that body of literature.
  • The main areas of scholarly debate and dispute surrounding that body of literature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will acquire the ability to:
  • Effectively select, describe and use advanced academic literature in the field.
  • Identify and evaluate key areas of dispute, demonstrating reasoned judgement.
  • Show appreciation of relevant contextual issues.
  • Demonstrate a self-critical and self-aware approach to the topic.
Key Skills:
  • Students will develop the ability to:
  • Effectively plan their own work over an extended period.
  • Deploy appropriate research techniques and methods with guidance.
  • Identify and utilise appropriate materials.
  • Communicate effectively.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching and learning will take place through:
  • A lecture programme which introduces students to the module and the structure of a research project covering the following topics: an introduction to data, graphical methods, association, the idea of statistical control and simple regression. The lectures also provide an introduction to statistical analysis using standard software (SPSS or R), and an introduction to ethics and risk aspects of research and explains the links between a research project and a dissertation.
  • A tutorial programme, including both staff led sessions devoted to the conceptual framework of the research project and student led sessions devoted to the conduct of the research and the formulation of research questions.
  • A tutorial programme, which will introduce students to the conceptual and empirical debates surrounding the project, and provide student led discussion of the practical and theoretical problems relating to the formulation of research problems and the conduct of research.
  • Formative assessment will take the form of a 1,500 word project plan which will provide practice in the deployment of relevant theoretical and/or explanatory frameworks to specific bodies of literature.
  • Summative assessment will take the form of a 5,000 word project which will promote the ability engage with material at or near the current boundaries of research

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 11 weekly; 9 in term 1, 1 in term 2, and 1 in term 3 1 hour 11
Tutorials 9 fortnightly 1 hour 9
Library Workshops 2 in the first term (one in second week and one in fourth week) 2 hours 4
Preparation and Reading 176
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Project 5,000 words 100% August

Formative Assessment:

One 1,500 word project plan


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University