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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Methods in the Sociology of Disaster
Module Code MT5156
School DCUBS
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Gavin Brown
Semester 2: Gavin Brown
Autumn: Gavin Brown
Module TeachersCaroline McMullan
Gavin Brown
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module gives participants an understanding of the processes involved in undertaking research within the field of disaster studies. The focus of the module will be research as part of the emergency management specialism. The module will begin with an introduction to the methodological process and approaches used in disaster research. Each stage of the research process will be examined: research design, ethics, literature review, research methodologies and data gathering techniques, data analysis, and writeup. This module will examine sources of historical disaster data available to researchers and will include an overview of how this data is collected. Students will consider how the data can be collated, the basics of statistics, hypothesis testing, and principles of effective data visualisation. By the end of the module, students will have a thorough grasp of the principles and practicality of conducting research within the emergency management discipline.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the range of research methods, techniques and skills used in disaster research
2. Design an appropriate theoretical framework
3. Discuss how disaster research methods, techniques and skills can be used to address particular research questions
4. Recognise and appraise ethical issues that may arise while carrying disaster fieldwork
5. Consider a variety of methodological options and identify the most suitable technique for the proposed research topic
6. Be familiar with the components of a research proposal that considers the methodological changes and challenges in disaster research
7. Be familiar with sources of historical data and how this disaster-related data was compiled
8. Be able to undertake hypothesis testing, basics statistics, and effective data visualisation.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Attendance & Participation
Independent Study101Directed learning - Reading, Research, Preparation of Assignments
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

Introduction to the disaster research process - problems of field studies in an emergency management context, ethics of disaster research, and social change and the practice of disaster research over the past 50 years

Designing a Research Project
Recognising opportunities, posing research questions, creating a conceptual framework and implementing methods of disaster research.

Developing a Theoretical Framework
Conducting and writing a systematic literature review; reviewing landmark studies in the field of disaster research.

Methodological Approaches in Disaster Research
Quantitative & Qualitative research methods

Data Analysis
Introduction to interpreting disaster research data & findings.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentUndertake an SLR30%Week 4
AssignmentStudy design - research methods30%Week 9
AssignmentResearch questions10%Week 12
AssignmentHypothesis testing (SPSS + visualisation)30%Sem 1 End
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

  • Stallings, R.A.: 2003, Methods of disaster research., Xlibris Corporation,
  • M. N. K. Saunders,Adrian Thornhill,Philip Lewis: 2019, Research Methods for Business Students, 8, Pearson, 9781292208787
  • Bryman, A.: 0, Social Research Methods, 5th ED, Oxford,
  • Boland, A., Cherry, G., & Dickson, R: 2017, Doing a systematic review: A student's guide, Sage,
  • Phillips, B. D.: 2014, Qualitative disaster research. Understanding Qualitative Research, Oxford,
Other Resources

39127, Report, World Economic Forum, 2018, Code of Ethics, Geneva, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Code_of_Ethics.pdf, 39128, Report, Global Health Trials, 2011, The Draft Statement/Guidelines for Disaster Research, https://globalhealthtrials.tghn.org/articles/draft-statementguidelines-disaster-research/,
Programme or List of Programmes
GCEMGraduate Certificate in Emergency Mgmt.
MSEMMSc in Emergency Management

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