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To develop learners’ skills of independent enquiry and critical analysis by undertaking a sustained research investigation of direct relevance to their higher education programme and professional development.
This unit is designed for learners to become confident in the use of research techniques and methods. It addresses the elements that make up formal research, including the proposal, a variety of methodologies, action planning, carrying out the research itself and presenting the findings. To complete the unit satisfactorily, learners must also understand the theory that underpins formal research. The research itself is dependent on the learner, the context of their area of learning, their focus of interest and the anticipated outcomes. The unit draws together a range of other areas of content within the programme of study to form a holistic piece of work that makes a positive contribution to the learner’s area of interest. Learners should seek approval from their tutors before starting the study
Research formulation: aims and objectives; rationale for selection; methodology for data collection and analysis; literature review; critique of references from primary sources eg questionnaires, interviews; secondary sources, eg books, journals, internet; scope and limitations; implications eg resources
Hypothesis: definition; suitability; skills and knowledge to be gained; aims and objectives; terms of reference; duration; ethical issues
Action plan: rationale for research question or hypothesis; milestones; task dates; reviewdates; monitoring/reviewing process; strategy
Research design: type of research eg qualitative, quantitative, systematic, original; methodology; resources; statistical analyses; validity; reliability; control of variables
Implement: according to research design and method; test research hypotheses; considering test validity; reliability
Data collection: selection of appropriate tools for data collection; types eg qualitative, quantitative; systematic recording; methodological problems eg bias, variables and control of variables, validity and reliability
Data analysis and interpretation: qualitative and quantitative data analysis – interpreting transcripts; coding techniques; specialist software; statistical tables; comparison of variable; trends; forecasting
Evaluation of outcomes: overview of the success or failure of the research project (planning, aims and objectives, evidence and findings, validity, reliability, benefits, difficulties, conclusion(s))
Future consideration: significance of research investigation; application of research results; implications; limitations of the investigation; improvements; recommendations for the future, areas for future research
Format: professional delivery format appropriate to the audience; appropriate media
Tutors will need to establish the availability of resources to support the independent study before allowing the learner to proceed with the proposal.