This module is compulsory for anyone intending to undertake a full MSc or who has been accepted for a research degree (Research Masters or Professional Doctorate). It runs twice a year for five months. The additional length of the module is to allow you the time to work with your supervisor in developing the research proposal for your MSc, MRes or Doctoral research.
The module is organized in terms of (a) conducting a scientific literature review, (b) principles of research design, (c) ethical considerations in research, (d) statistical analysis and data handling, and (e) preparing a research proposal. Participants will be introduced to methods and techniques available for conducting comprehensive scientific literature reviews.
With respect to research design, topics covered include defining and formulating research problems and hypotheses, the rationale for different forms of study design and choice of appropriate methods, forms of sampling, sampling error and the potential for bias, and the concepts of generalizability, validity, reliability and replicability. Scenario case studies will be used to develop participants’ abilities as responsible, ethical researchers.
With respect to preparing a research proposal, several draft research proposals case studies will be used to illustrate further the range and type of studies that MSc participants undertake, as well as the format and structure that such documents take. Skype or telephone tutorials will be held with individual participants to help them develop their research proposal, including framing of research questions / objectives, identification of suitable methods for data collection and analysis, and practical and logistical considerations.
The module will culminate with each participant designing a research proposal which they can use as the basis for their dissertation. Risk assessment of data collection procedures will be illustrated and examined.
On successful completion of the program, participants will be able to:
AgriFood Training Partnership
The University of Reading
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