introduction to research 3850words
Assessment
?For Assessment you are required to write a 4000 word report that will take the form of a critique/assessment of a funded research report based upon social science methods of data collection and analysis. The aim of this exercise is to develop your ability to make links across the various stages in the research process: research design and the ‘framing’ of research questions; methodological approach and the use of data; the mode of analysis; and the presentation, dissemination and use of research findings.? ?In consultation with the module leader, you will select a research report that fits into one of the following categories: ?
• research published and/or funded by a central government department, a local/regional authority or by a public authority
• research published and/or funded by a Quango or public/private partnership
• research published and/or funded by a research council or major public funder such as the Economic and Social Research Council or the British Academy
• research published and/or funded by a trust or foundation such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation or the Leverhulme Trust.
?Your critique/assessment will engage with the following aspects of the research report: how the research was funded; the methods used; the theoretical perspectives/assumptions underpinning the research; the ethical issues raised by the methods and the subject matter dealt with in the research; the use value of the research and its application by funders or other audiences. A typical structure for your critique/assessment might include the following headings: ?
• a description of the main research subject matter and findings
• a review of other important research on this topic
• an overview and discussion of the methods used in the research
• a brief critical discussion of the sources of data and evidence used to inform the report
• theoretical perspectives/knowledge claims underpinning the research
• ethical issues raised by the methods and the subject matter dealt with in the research
• an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the research
?Please note, that these headings are not supposed to be prescriptive and are merely there to get you to think about how you might structure your critique/assessment. Once you have thought about how you are going to structure your critique/assessment, you can think about some of the more fundamental issues relating to the construction and purpose of the report. In exploring those issues, you may want to think about some of the following questions:?
• why is the report that you have chosen important to particular constructions or popular understandings of the research subject?
• what are the strengths and weaknesses associated with using those methods to generate these data?
• is there a relationship between the methods used and conclusions of the report?
• what other sources of knowledge (other literature/research/statistical sources and so on) offer competing perspectives to the subject covered in the chosen report?
• does the research report contradict or reinforce the findings of other research?
• do those findings reinforce or undermine dominant perspectives in the same field of academic research?
• has this report had a broader impact (i.e. has it challenged or reinforced pre-existing knowledge claims; how has it been received by media, by public, or by other interest groups)?

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