ECM103-Research Methodology

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Simon Burke


Summary module description:

The primary focus of the module is preliminary preparation for the dissertation or research project which forms a compulsory component of masters programmes taught in the Department of Economics. This involves the motivation, planning of the work, and the description of the research topic, including key hypotheses. Emphasis is placed on establishing a sense of direction with the work and with a view to guiding students to begin work on their research at an early stage.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will gain an understanding of:
the necessary planning and organisation necessary to complete a piece of independent research;
the role of hypotheses in research;
the importance of evidence in pursuing academic arguments;
the need to properly explain the limitations (of scope) of research.

Additional outcomes:
Students will be introduced to the structure of research papers and how to approach the reading of them. An introduction to library resources specific to economists provided by the librarian for economics provides knowledge of available services and how to access them. General guidance on academic writing is also provided.

Outline content:
An introduction to the fundamental of research in economics is provided. Topics are: the nature of research, getting started, hypotheses and the counter-factual (robustness and generalizability), library resources, and writing up and presenting research.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is undertaken using lectures with the opportunity for student contributions. Lectures are weekly over a period of 5 weeks and last 2 hours. An early lecture is used for brief group presentations by students. Handouts are provided where appropriate and the PowerPoint slides used are made available.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Guided independent study 90
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
The single piece of work for this module is a research proposal of 1000 words following the structure and principles discussed in lectures. It is intended that this should be the initial consideration of what will form the final dissertation or research project. The work will be assessed by the module convenor with input from the dissertation/project supervisors. It will also be used to provide advice on academic writing if needed.

Formative assessment methods:
Students make an early presentation on a specified research question aimed at discussing how they might proceed with such a project. These are group presentations.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:
There is no final examination.

Requirements for a pass:
A minimum mark of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-assessment for all modules takes place in August/September of the same year.
Re-assessment for this module will be by resubmission of similarly assigned coursework by the last working day of August of the same year.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books: Recommended, not compulsory: Creedy, John (2008) Research Without Tears: From First Idea to Published Output. Edward Elgar Publishing. RRP: £15.95.

2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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