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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Methods
Module Code LG608
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eoin O'Malley
Semester 2: Eoin O'Malley
Autumn: Eoin O'Malley
Module TeachersAlex Baturo
Eoin O'Malley
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
Two assignments as above

The purpose of this module is to present students with a palette of research methods that can be applied to a doctoral thesis in social sciences, business, and law. It will allow students to make an informed choice about the most appropriate methods for their own doctoral research.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify a wide range of research methods that can be applied to doctoral research in the social sciences, business and law
2. Appreciate the general strengths and limitations of different research methods that are applicable to doctoral research in the social sciences, business and law
3. Assess the opportunities for the application of different research methods to their own doctoral research in the social sciences, business and law
4. Apply one or more research methods to their own doctoral research in the social sciences, business and law

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture12Lectures presenting different research methods and identifying their respective strengths and weaknesses
Seminars11Seminars discussing different research methods and assessing their respective strengths and weaknesses
Class Presentation1Presentation of the student's chosen research method(s) to the class
Independent Study50Preparing class presentation, writing up assessed papers, and reflecting on feedback provided
Independent Study51Identifying and evaluating the scholarly literature on different research methods
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

Choosing research methods
The module begins by emphasising that research methods should be a conscious choice, that there are many methods from which to choose, that there are strengths and weaknesses to all methods, and that the successful application of innovative research methods can add great value to a doctoral thesis

reflexivity; insider research; hermeneutics
The module presents a palette of different methods over the weeks. The emphasis moves from qualitative methods at the start, beginning with the researcher as participant, through to quantitative, big data methods at the end

ethnography and participant observation
Ranging from total immersion in a particular locality through to video recordings as observing 'at-a-distance'

historical analysis
archives, memoirs, and document analysis

face-to-face interviewing, including elite interviewing
From structured, through semi-structured, to open-ended interviews

discourse analysis
Qualitative analysis of speech and text, including normative-based Critical Discourse Analysis

textual analysis
qualitative and quantitative content analysis

statistical analysis
From descriptive statistics (mean, mode etc) through to multivariate regression

From questionnaires to large-scale surveys

experimental methods
Including lab experiments, survey experiments, natural experiments, and quasi-experiments

big data
Sources, analytics, prediction

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentStudents will be asked to write a critical assessment of the research method or methods that has or have been used in a recent publication in an international peer-reviewed journal article in their subject area50%As required
AssignmentStudents will be asked to write a paper identifying the research method(s) chosen for their doctoral work and defending the appropriateness of the chosen method(s)50%As required
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

  • Alan Bryman: 2015, Social Research Methods, 5, Oxford University Press,
  • Paul Atkinson: 2017, Thinking Ethnographically, Sage,
  • Bruce Curtis and Cate Curtis: 2011, Social Research: A Practical Introduction, Sage,
  • Marilyn Lichtman: 2014, Qualitative Research for the Social Sciences, Sage,
  • Reiner Keller: 2013, Doing Discourse Research: An Introduction for Social Scientists, Sage,
  • Rob Kitchin: 2014, The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures & Their Consequences, Sage,
Other Resources

31415, website, London School of Economics, 0, Writing For Research, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/writingforresearch/, 31416, website, 0, Sage Research Methods, http://methods.sagepub.com,
Programme or List of Programmes
ARAPMMaster of Arts
MPBSMPhil (Business)
MPCSMPhil (Communications)
MPLGMPhil (Law & Government)

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