Unit 6 Research Project

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This unit aims 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.

 Unit abstract

This unit is designed to develop learners’ understanding and confidence in the use of techniques and methods appropriate for research in health and social care. Learners will be expected to consider the elements that make up formal research, including the proposal, and methodologies. They will also action plan carry out the research and presenting their findings. Learners will also consider ethical aspects of formal research. The topic of the research project is dependent on the learner’s focus of interest within the context of their programme of study and experience in health and social care, with due regard to ethical constraints of research in this sector. The unit gives learners the opportunity to draw together learning from several aspects of their study into a coherent holistic piece of work that makes a positive contribution to their area of interest. Learners should seek approval from their tutors before starting the study.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand how to formulate a research specification

  • Types of research: qualitative; quantitative; tools for gathering primary data eg questionnaires, interviews; use of participants; sampling; validity; reliability eg variables and their control; resources; data storage; statistical techniques for data analysis eg distribution, statistical significance
  • Outline specifications of possible projects: aims and objectives; rationale for selection; literature review; hypothesis or research question; methodology for data collection and analysis; possible outcomes from suggested projects
  • Research project selection: critique of outline specifications eg scope, limitations; implications eg resources, ethical issues
  • Key references: books; journals; internet
  • Research project specification: aims and objectives; rationale for their selection; hypothesis or research question; justification (through literature review, skills and knowledge to be gained, resource availability including time); methodology for gathering primary data and data analysis
  • Ethical considerations: codes of practice; relating to participants eg informed consent, confidentiality of data, right to withdraw; data storage; analysis; audience for reporting of project.
  • Plan: overall strategy and duration; tasks with target dates; presentation of results; scheduled monitoring process; recording of amendments to plan.

2 Be able to implement the research project within agreed procedures and to specification

  • Match resources: to agreed plan; terms of reference; hypothesis or research question; ethical boundaries
  • Implementation: according to approved research plan; test for validity eg pilot research tools; estimates for reliability
  • Data collection: selection of participants; selection of appropriate tools for data collection, eg question and questionnaire design, interview questions; systematic recording of data eg in transcripts; methodological problems eg bias, variables and their control, validity and reliability.

3 Be able to evaluate the research outcomes

  • Evaluation of outcomes: judgement of the success or failure of the planned project justified eg in relation to research plan, aims and objectives, evidence and findings, sources of error, validity, reliability of data collected; difficulties
  • Data analysis and interpretation: quantitative eg using specialist software, statistical techniques; qualitative eg interpreting transcripts; sources of error; bias; comparisons; trends; additional secondary research as required; extent to which hypothesis proved or disproved or research question answered; significance of research investigation to health and social care eg benefits, furthering understanding, application of research results; limitations of the investigation; conclusion(s)
  • Recommendations: for further development eg areas for further research, improvements, changes to practice.

4 Be able to present the research outcomes

  • Format: professional delivery format appropriate to the audience eg oral presentation, written report; answering questions from audience on research project; use of academic referencing.


  • Bartol, K. M., & Zhang, X. (2010). Linking Empowering Leadership and Employee Creativity: The Influence of Psychological Empowerment, Intrinsic Motivation, and Creative Process Engagement. Academy of Management Journal .
  • belbin.com. (2016). belbin team roles. Retrieved 09 28, 2016, from http://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/
  • Dearnaley, P. 2014, "Competitive advantage in the new social care marketplace: a new theoretical perspective", Housing, Care and Support, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 5-15.

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