Part 3: The Research Project (70%)
Word count – maximum 5,000 words
This project is based on your research proposal.
Develop and conduct a research project on a disability-related topic of your choice. This project must meet the following requirements:
? It must be relevant to the field of disability and in some – either directly or indirectly – be of benefit to the quality of life of people with disability.
? If you decide to conduct research with participants or respondents within your service you must follow the procedure for carrying out research outlined by your organisation and, where relevant, approach the ethics committee for approval before beginning your research.
? Your planned project must allow you to meet the minimum intended learning outcomes for this module (outlined on the Applied Research Methods site). ? Every stage of the research process must be ethical in nature.
? The design of your project must be consistent and logical – i.e. if you choose to use a quantitative approach, for example, your methodology and plan for data analysis must match this.
? The approach and methods you select to conduct your research must be appropriate to your research questions. You can choose to carry out quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods or action research here and then select whichever method(s) that you feel will best collect the data you need to answer your research question (questionnaires, structured interviews, indepth interviews, focus groups, observation, or a combination of methods). You will need to confirm your selected methods and the number of participants with your tutor before carrying out the data collection.
This project requires you to work through the stages of the research process to produce a completed research report (70% of marks) on the topic you have selected.
Please note: Before you approach any participants to take part in your research project it is important that you have a very good understanding of the research process. Many of the steps in the process – the literature review, refining your questions, developing your methodology, ethical considerations and the development of a consent form, deciding on your sampling technique and who to include in your sample – take place before you approach potential participants and begin data collection. Refer to the Introduction to the Research Methods module units provided as supported reading on My Learning Centre to re-familiarise yourself with the steps in the research process before you begin.
Your written assignment will need to include the following sections:
This section will briefly summarise your project in approximately 300 words (not included in the word count). You will need to outline what your project is about, what are its aims and objectives and how you intend to carry it out. You should state here whether you are using quantitative, qualitative or a mixed methods approach. The key here is to be as concise as possible. This section needs to provide the reader with a summary or overview of your project, including a brief reference to your key findings. It is best to write the abstract after you have completed the remainder of project.
You will need to provide a comprehensive introduction to your topic. You will need to define research here, briefly provide an introduction to the topic of research and your experience of this to date. You will then need to introduce your research topic and question under investigation (briefly as you will be covering this in more detail later) and provide a comprehensive roadmap to what will be covered in the research project report.
A literature review is a critical evaluation of what has been written on your chosen research topic. It draws on a selection of quality literature that explores the topic in detail and highlights theories or models that shape the topic and evaluates any issues, similarities and differences, strengths or weaknesses that exist in previous research. It is not simply a list of readings that you have conducted on the topic but rather it must logically show the path to your research question and establish the existing body of knowledge that is relevant to your research topic.
Please ensure that you read the learning materials in Section 4: The Role of Literature in the Research Process before commencing either the reading on your selected topic or the writing up of this section. Both the essential and the supportive readings in this section provide a very clear overview of how to conduct a literature review, its functions and purpose. They also provide information on how to structure and write up your literature review for your written report.
Refine and identify your research question(s)
You will need to outline your research topic here and clarify your exact research question(s) or hypothesis (if you decide to use this). You will need to outline the main themes that you want to explore in your research here and provide some brief context as to why this question(s) is important and requires this piece of research to be conducted. You should be very clear on the boundaries of your research project here and what it set out to achieve.
Under this heading, you will need to outline the approach and methodology that you use to conduct your research. This section is very important and should address the following areas:
? Provide a clear statement of the type of approach you have selected – qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods or action research. You need to briefly outline the key features of the approach and why it is most appropriate for your research project.
? Sampling – how did you select the people for your sample? What profile of a sample did you need? This section needs to address what method of sampling you selected. Please refer to the learning materials and video clips in Section 5 Selecting Participants: The Process of Sampling before you make any decisions about who you will conduct the research with. The supportive reading – Unit 5 of the Research Methods module – The Process of Sampling – is a very good starting point here.
Remember the technique you select to pick your participants must be appropriate for the research approach you have selected. You will need to briefly explain the technique and outline how you located your sample.
? Your data collection method – you will need to describe your selected method (in-depth interviewing, focus groups, structured interviewing, questionnaires, observation or a combination if using a mixed method approach) and outline why it is appropriate for your research. You should provide a copy of any questionnaire, interview or observation schedule used in the appendix. Be sure to describe your data collection method and instrument in detail (for example, how you went about structuring the questions, what prompts you intend to use, did you pilot it to ensure its reliability, etc). Section 6: Qualitative Research Methods & Analysis, Section 7: Quantitative Research Methods & Analysis and Section 8: Action Research (depending on what approach you are using) will provide you with the information you need to develop your methodology.
Please note that the number of participants that you will need to collect data from will differ depending on the methodology you are using. For example:
Focus groups – you will need to conduct one focus group (with between 4 and 6 people)
In-depth interviews – you will need to conduct a minimum three interviews
Questionnaires – a minimum ten questionnaires will need to be completed
Here you will need to demonstrate that you have carefully considered and applied the relevant ethical considerations involved in conducting your research. This section must illustrate a comprehensive understanding and application of the relevant ethical issues discussed in Section 3:
Ethical Considerations for the Social Researcher and refer to professional ethical guidelines.
You will need to keep the topic of ethics in mind from the very beginning of the research process and a sensitivity to ethics should be applied at every stage of your project – from selecting your research question to collecting data from participants and reporting your findings. The considerations of full, free, informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, avoidance of harm, wider benefits of participation (but not limited to these) need to be addressed here in direct relation to your research project. You should develop a consent form to give to your participants/respondents and include a copy of this in your appendices. Details of what could be included here can be found in the learning materials in Section 3.
In this section of your research report you need to outline and discuss how you gathered the data using the methods above. You need to discuss the practicalities of your data collection here. How did you go about gathering the data? What arrangements did you have to make with the participants?
What researcher skills did you use here to be sure you put the participants at ease and collected the data in a valid and reliable manner? How did you record the data collection (if using in-depth interviews or focus groups, for example?) What practicalities did this involve?
This section will explore how you analysed the data. If using in-depth interviews or focus groups the first step in this process will be to transcribe the data. You will need to briefly tell the reader what the data looks like – transcripts of interviews or focus groups, coded answers from questionnaires or interview or observation schedules. These should be included in the appendices. Please note you should not destroy any recordings or material that you made during the gathering of your data until after the external examiners process and the exam board in September 2021.
You will then need to briefly explain how you explored and analysed this data to get results. Section 6: Qualitative Research Methods & Analysis and Section 7: Quantitative Research Methods & Analysis (depending on what approach you are using) will provide you with the information you need to decide upon and conduct an analysis, along with examples of data being analysed. The supportive reading from the Research Methods module is a good starting point here.
You will need to present your factual findings. This is quite a straightforward section simply stating what you have found. Please ensure that you use a combination of text, charts and tables here if relevant. Avoid overusing tables and charts.
Discussion of findings
It is here that you are answering your research question. You will need to provide a detailed discussion of the findings and link them in with your literature review. You could also discuss any limitations that you feel may be present in your research process here (for example, if you feel the sample size would need to be bigger or perhaps upon reflection you would have structured your data collection instrument differently).
This section should provide a discussion on any recommendations and overall conclusions that you have come to based on your research, literature review and discussion of findings. What improvements or changes do you feel need to be made, based on your findings from this project?
Does any further research need to be done? Are there any gaps in the field of knowledge on the topic that you feel still need to be addressed?
Conclusion to the report
This is your general conclusion where you briefly evaluate topic you have covered and provide a summary of what was addressed in the report and what steps you took to complete your research.
Please follow the College style.
Please note your appendices should be used appropriately and include supporting documentation only.
Module Title: Applied Research Methods
Assessment Method Task completed
Read and understood the Minimum Learning Outcomes for the module & info on how to use the site (Please note that you cannot progress through the rest of the site until you indicate that you have read this document).
Research Proposal (20%) - Submission date 9 November 2020
? Turnitin Check
? Declaration of Own Work form completed & Turnitin score added ? Shared with firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Presentation (10%) – Submission date 19 January 2021
? Presentation in Marino
? Electronic copy of presentation emailed to email@example.com
The Research Project (70%) - Submission date 28 June 2021
? Turnitin Check
? Declaration of Own Work form completed & Turnitin score added ? Shared with firstname.lastname@example.org
Editable Microsoft Word Document
Word Count: 7000 words including References
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