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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Methodology
Module Code LG5049
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Diarmuid Torney
Semester 2: Diarmuid Torney
Autumn: Diarmuid Torney
Module TeachersDiarmuid Torney
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this course is to help you to undertake a dissertation or capstone project on a topic of relevance to climate change. The dissertation/capstone project accounts for 27.7% of your final grade and requires an even greater proportion of your time. It is an opportunity to conduct independent research on a question of your own choosing. It is the dissertation/capstone project that primarily distinguishes a Master’s degree from a primary degree. As a core part of the MSc in Climate Change, students have the choice of writing either a dissertation, which is an original piece of research on a substantive topic of interest in any humanities or social science field related to climate change, or a capstone project, which is a practice-oriented, problem-based substantial assignment. During this module, students will be appraised of the importance of this choice, the differences between the two pathways, and the implications of choosing one or the other. They will be taught essential elements of social science such as the role and importance of theory and qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as opportunities and pitfalls of practice-oriented research. They will receive discipline specific guidance for conducting academic and practice-oriented research in political science and policy analysis, media studies, and communications, taught by experts from DCU’s School of Law and Government and School of Communications. The module is assessed on a pass-fail basis. If you pass, it does not contribute to your final degree classification. If you fail, you will not receive a degree. There are three assessments. These are the submission of an initial proposal, the presentation of the initial proposal, and the submission of a developed proposal. Ideally, the proposal should contain: 1. A statement of the research question or problem, preferably in one line; 2. The location of the project in the existing literature; 3. Research method, including sources; and 4. Possible conclusions. The initial proposal should be 300 to 500 words long. After proposals have been submitted, a schedule of presentations will be drawn up. Each student will present to the class and will receive feedback. They will then incorporate this feedback into a revised and further developed proposal, which should be 800 to 1000 words long and contain a detailed structure, however notional. Students will be assigned supervisors before the beginning of the next semester. The supervisor’s greatest contribution will usually be to guide you through the general process of research, rather than the particular detail of your thesis topic. I will give you feedback on your developed research proposal. Please revise your proposal in line with this feedback and your own ideas and submit this to your supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

1. appreciate the importance of research design
2. understand the differences between a dissertation and capstone project and implications of this choice
3. make substantial progress in identifying a practicable research project

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Attendance and participation in class
Class Presentation20Preparation of thesis proposal and presentation
Independent Study83Reading course material and preparation for class each week
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Week 1
Dissertations and capstone projects: Differences and implications

Week 2
How to conduct a literature review

Week 3
Qualitative and quantitative research in social science

Week 4
Practice-oriented research: Opportunities and pitfalls

Week 5
Key research methods and topics in political science and public policy

Week 6
Key research methods and topics in media studies

Week 8
Key research methods and topics in communications

Weeks 9-12
Presentation of student proposals and feedback

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
PresentationPresentation of dissertation or capstone project proposal100%Week 10
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Patrick Dunleavy: 1986, Studying for a Degree in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Macmillan Education, Basingstoke,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MCCMSc in Climate Change Policy Media & Soc

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