AP2ID1-Research Methods for BSc International Development

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Jo Davies

Email: joanne.davies@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


Understanding the lived experiences of people living in poverty is crucial when building policies and development initiatives that reflect the needs and priorities of the people they are designed to help.  You will explore the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods and why these matter in development.  You will learn how to interpret statistical data and will gain experience in using interview techniques and observation in research.


This module aims to introduce students to the interdisciplinary use of qualitative and quantitative data in social science research settings with particular reference to data generation, discovery and processing in developing country contexts. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

(i) Research Methods for International Development: At the end of this component students will:

  • Have competency in understanding the potential role and value of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, data generation, data discovery and data processing in social science settings with particular reference to problems in developing countries.

  • Have competency in the use of methods from different disciplines within the social scie nces, with reference to interdisciplinarity.

  • Have competency in assessing the importance of both qualitative and quantitative survey design with particular reference to developing economy contexts.

  • Have an understanding of some of the intricacies involved in processing both qualitative and quantitative data derived from developing-economy contexts.

(ii) International Development Group Project: At the end of this component students will: 

  • Have demonstrated their ability to review the literature relevant to their project, develop a research plan setting out clear aims and outcomes, design a research agenda and justify their methodological choices. 

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop effective written and oral communication skills for an international development professional environment. 

Outline content:

  1. Qualitative Research Methodology:

  • Qualitative Analysis Lecture 1:  Course Overview and an Introduction to the role and significance of the qualitative data generation process; the philosophical perspectives underlying qualitative data generation

  • Qualitative Analysis Lecture 2: Planning a research project, literature review, constructing a research question.

  • Quali tative Analysis Lecture 3:  Questionnaires and interviews in a qualitative setting.

  • Qualitative Analysis Lecture 4:  Focus groups and observation, analysis of qualitative data.

  • Qualitative Analysis Lecture 5:  Assessment One

  1. Quantitative Research Methodology:

  • Quantitative Analysis Lecture 6:  Cover Overview a nd an Introduction to the role and significance of the quantitative data generation process.  The cohesion and inter-linkages between qualitative and quantitative data development.  An introduction to the quantitative data sets:  Case study one: Transactions costs cooperatives and milk-market development in Ethiopian highlands.  Case study two: Cattle raiding by Kuria tribesmen on the Tanzania-Kenya border and the problem with households that have too many boys.  Ca se study three: Arsenic poisoning, well water quality and linkages to educational attainment in Bangladeshi households.

  • Quantitative Analysis Lecture 7:  Looking at data as distributions with applications from the case studies. Reading: Chapter one in Moore McCabe and Craig, Introduction to The Practice of Statistics.

  • Quantitative Analysis Lecture 8:  Displaying distributions as graphs with applications from the case studies. Reading: Chapter two in Moor e McCabe and Craig, Introduction to The Practice of Statistics.

  • Quantitative Analysis Lecture 9:  Describing distributions with numbers with applications from the case studies. Reading: Chapter three in Moore McCabe and Craig, Introduction to The Practice of Statistics.

  • Quantitative Analysis 10:  Assessment

  1.  International Development Group Project

  • Compete for contract as research consultants to develop a research agenda for a client.  Discuss background to project and project brief.  Use a set of filmed, unstructured interviews to inform topic choice. Development of research plan for approval by the agency and presentation in class.  Detailed consideration of research design including ethical clearance.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will be mainly lectures taking place in the Autumn Term.  The group project will run in the Spring Term and will be taught via tutorials and include independent group work.

The content hours below are indicative only and may be subject to change. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 8
Guided independent study: 80 92
Total hours by term 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Oral assessment and presentation 50
Class test administered by School 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

50 minutes each in-class test

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Class Test (week five of the Autumn term) 25% Class Test (week ten of the Autumn Term) 25%

Group project 50% of overall module mark, comprising of: Group presentation 30% ; Individual Contribution mark 10% ; Individual Report Paper 60%

Formative assessment methods:

Formative activities within the lecture format

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% only.

Reassessment arrangements:

By examination during the re-sit examination period. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books

Last updated: 27 July 2020


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