CP0314 - Research Project

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0314
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Yiming Wang
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

This module requires students to complete an individual research project that demonstrates their ability to design, manage and execute a programme of independent research activity. The module enables students to choose between different approaches to designing, conducting and presenting findings for different types of research problems or questions related to planning. Students can use the module to follow up on a research problem identified while on a placement year, or alternatively to assist with the development of specialised studies in a particular field (e.g. urban design, regeneration, housing etc). The module expects students to undertake independent inquiry and investigation, with the support of an allocated supervisor and a selection of introductory lectures and workshops. The assessment of the module is based on a written and illustrated submission. The project is a substantial piece of work and will be assessed as an important, individual component of final year undergraduate studies.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

In terms of Knowledge/Understanding:

  1. show a clear understanding and knowledge of planning by showing evidence of engagement with the spatial, social and institutional context of the research;
  2. exhibit an in-depth understanding of a specialised area of planning by identifying the limits of existing knowledge on the subject and the potential for further research;
  3. argue and illustrate critical engagement with the merits and deficiencies of a selected area of planning activity by the reaching of justified conclusions and the making of recommendations for change in that area;
  4. use language and media related to planning in a professional way;
  5. show knowledge and understanding of professional values and behaviour; as well as awareness of professionalism as a contested notion.

In Terms of Skills/Presentation:

  1. Demonstrate ability to identify, collect and analyse relevant planning and social science data;
  2. Demonstrate ability in appropriately using textual and graphic media to express ideas, present arguments and illustrate findings;
  3. Define and defend a clear and focussed research question, and related aims and objectives for the research project;
  4. Approach a range of questions or problems in a number of different spheres with an inquisitive and critical attitude;
  5. Demonstrate effective research and appraisal skills, evident in data collection, investigation, quantitative and qualitative data analysis,  weighing evidence and reaching appropriate conclusions;
  6. Successfully manage an independent, small-scale research project;
  7. Organise and structure a complex document constituted of written materials and illustration.
  8. Understand, discuss, reflect upon and assess ethical issues related to a research project

 In Terms of Values/Attitudes:

  1. Display an awareness of the principles of ethical research conduct by compliance with relevant legislation and good practice principles and recognition of such issues in a reflective manner;
  2. Appreciate the value of adopting a critical and questioning approach to existing knowledge and how research is conducted;
  3. Understand the relevant views of all stakeholders who have an interest in the topic concerned;
  4. Appreciate the contribution that research can make to improved subject knowledge and understanding by concluding on the value of the research undertaken.

How the module will be delivered

Skills that will be practised and developed

In Terms of Skills/Presentation:

How the module will be assessed


Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

Independent Research Project



Research project


Early May

The potential for reassessment in this module:

Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Dissertation 100
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

The module is delivered through one-to-one interactions between each student and his/her allocated tutor.  Supplementary to this are two paneled general consulting sessions and two technical workshops spanning the autumn and spring semesters.  The two consulting sessions mainly address and clarify some logistic issues related to the research project, giving detailed guidelines on how to prepare for a project at the beginning and submit a report in the end.  The two workshops are much more hands-on, with the first workshop focusing on how to efficiently search for the literature and the second on how to collect and utilize data. 

Essential Reading and Resource List

Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods,Oxford University Press.

Burgess, R. (1982) Field Research: ASourcebook and Field Manual, London: Routledge.

Denzin,N.and Lincoln,Y.(eds.) (2000) The Handbook of Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

de Vaus D.A. (1991) Surveys in Social Research, London: Allen and Unwin.

Longley, P., Goodchild,M.F,,Maguire,D.J., and Rhind,D.W. (eds.) (2005) Geographical Information Systems andScience,2nd edition, New York andChichester: John Wiley&Sons.

(Longley, P., Goodchild,M.F,,Maguire,D.J., and Rhind,D.W. (eds.) (2010) Geographical Information Systems andScience,3rd edition, New York andChichester: John Wiley&Sons.)

Morgan, D.L. (1997) Focus Groups as Qualitative Research,London: Sage.

O’Sullivan, D. and Unwin, D.J. (2002) Geographic Information Analysis, John Wiley & Sons.

(O’Sullivan, D. and Unwin, D.J. (2010) Geographic Information Analysis, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons.)

© Cardiff University