Research Skills and Dissertation

Overview and aims

Effective postgraduate study skills and the ability to carry out research are vital attributes for success in these courses and will assist you in your future work and further study. This module aims to introduce you to the methods and methodology used in built environment research, and the theory behind different research methods and practical aspects of their implementation.

You will be required to define a research project which needs to be agreed with your supervisor. The research project will examine the connections between theories and principles, business or industrial practice and research in the context of your chosen course. You will own and manage a significant independent academic inquiry. Teaching will guide you through the nature of academic postgraduate work and include specific exercises to develop your knowledge of methodology.

You will undertake a literature review appropriate to the selected topic and develop/apply a relevant methodology and research design. The results of your research will be described, analysed, evaluated and discussed with reference to the literature review. You will be asked to draw conclusions and make recommendations for both professional practice and further research. You will report your progress in this through a portfolio of essays and reports.

In addition to the portfolio/dissertation you will also present your research in the form of an academic paper suitable for publication in a relevant refereed journal. You will be required to make a contribution to knowledge and to demonstrate rigorous application of research processes to your selected topic.

Module content

  • Defining research problems and writing research proposals
  • Evaluation of alternative paradigms and different research methodology options in the context of the self-determined and defined research problem
  • Selection of appropriate research methodology, determining a range of methods and producing a research design with a time schedule of work
  • Undertaking an approved programme of research independently but under regular supervision by University appointed staff
  • Presenting research processes
  • Presenting your work as a research paper suitable for publication in a relevant refereed academic journal.

Learning outcomes

After studying this module you should be able to:

  • define, explain and evaluate your approach to a self-determined problem related to your chosen degree course
  • produce a research proposal demonstrating knowledge and understanding of how to realistically plan a research project and interim report
  • conduct research into construction management or project management issues in a considered and logical manner, recognising the opportunities to develop principles and to implement creative innovative and critical approaches to the research process
  • produce a reasoned sustained argument and succinctly condense this into an academic paper suitable for peer review
  • produce a research paper.

This module will help you gain the skills and qualities to:

  • collect and integrate information and data from various sources
  • analyse, evaluate and interpret complex factual information and relevant issues in a systematic, critical and creative manner, and evaluate alternative processes and/or measure against relative criteria; making logical recommendations based on analysis, information and circumstances
  • identify, define, critically evaluate and propose solutions to complex problems, including generation of new ideas, innovations and concepts where appropriate
  • effectively communicate information, ideas and concepts in a clear and articulate style, including the utilisation of information technologies and systems where appropriate
  • develop and use personal skills and competencies to enable effective individual and team working, applying ethical and professional values to the work environment
  • apply study and research skills and act autonomously in planning, organising and executing your personal academic and professional development
  • use a range of contemporary electronic methods in a critical, creative and innovative way, and use complex subject specific specialist software to communicate nationally and internationally.

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