This unit of study covers a variety of research methods relevant to research in a community development context. The ontological and epistemological foundations to various approaches to research (eg positivism, critical rationalism, interpretivism, critical theory, realism, structuration theory and feminism) will be critically reviewed. Students will become broadly familiar with the issues of logic and methodology and quantitative and qualitative research methods. They should also be able to select a research topic(s), design research proposal(s) and adopt appropriate research methods. To emphasis skills development in research training, students will practice with (and use) commonly used social research software tools.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Deconstruct the implicit and explicit values, terminology, methods and techniques of the major theoretical paradigms in qualitative research methods and interrogate the main criticisms of these methods;  
  2. Inquire into a complex or emergent issue in the community development field demonstrating advanced skills of logical argument, hypotheses formulation and defensible interpretations of evidence;  
  3. Discriminate between and theorise about reflexivity and research ethics in different types of research;  
  4. Exemplify context-relevant analysis and interpretation pertinent to qualitative research within the field of community development;  
  5. Investigate issues relating to cross-cultural research methods and apply corroborating evidence to propose research strategies illustrating the role of culture, values and dispositions in affecting the instigation or success of respectful research;  
  6. Formulate and critically evaluate research proposals and justify the recommendation of research methods as effective, ethical and culturally responsive, and appropriate to the investigation; and  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment A paper focusing on a critical analysis of a research context based on a chosen research topic. 25%
Assignment A critical outline of the proposed research methodology(ies) and method(s) based on a chosen research topic 30%
Assignment Final research proposal. 45%

Required reading

Social research methods, 4th edn,
Bryman, A 2012,
Oxford: OUP.

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