|School||Cardiff School of Planning and Geography|
|External Subject Code||K400|
|Number of Credits||20|
|Language of Delivery||English|
|Module Leader||Dr Georgina Santos|
The module is organised into two parts. Part A provides a generic introduction to and an overview of social science research methods for planning. In addition, Part A of the module will provide the opportunity for students across all courses to attend “Master-classes” from experts across the School of Planning and Geography in specific methods, techniques and perspectives.
Part B provides skills and contexts in subject-specific epistemological paradigms, methodologies and methods. It is specific to the MSc International Planning and Development, preparing students for research in spatial planning and international development and related professional practice.
Together, Parts A and B of the module give students a robust post-graduate level understanding of the tasks involved in undertaking pure and applied research for spatial planning and international development problems.
Part A - Generic
Part B - Course Specific
(1) critically assess different research approaches and methodologies relevant to international planning and development;
(2) compare different approaches to knowledge production in the area of research they have chosen for their dissertation;
(3) reflect on the role of social and institutional contexts for the research process in their area of expertise;
(4) identify and evaluate different sources of evidence in their own field of research;
(5) identify and reflect on major ethical issues relating to their own research;
(6) develop a dissertation project and conceptualise and plan the research process and its component steps;
(7) apply skills in selected methods relevant to the dissertation;
(8) appreciate and present the spatial implications of various planning and public policy initiatives.
Part A:will be delivered by lectures supported by ‘masterclass’ workshops on particular designs and methods.Additionally, Students will be required to attend four from a choice of research methods masterclasses delivered by experts from the field. For illustrative purposes in the past these have included the following:
Part ‘B’ will be delivered by a combination of lectures, seminars, dissertation mentor (not supervisor) sessions and laboratory exercises. It is a hands-on module.In particular, this will include four sessions on the use of GIS Mapping, to include: data classification and handling; mapping and geo-visualisation; spatial analysis and processing; and land use and site selection, to include a mixture of lectures and laboratory sessions
In Part (A) students will practise and develop a number of skills. Students will learn to identify the relative merits of contrasting epistemological and methodological perspectives on the research process. They will learn when and how to use different research methods. They will develop skills in ideas generation and in the identification of a researchable topic. Students will also develop skills in writing research proposals and undertaking literature reviews. Whilst not actually carrying out independent research in this module, students will be given the necessary skills to design and implement a piece of research on their own.
In part (B) students will improve skills they already have, and: (i) be able to discuss their topic of research with their dissertation supervisor; and (ii) present in a clear manner (both orally and in writing) the reasons behind their choices (of research topic, key readings, methods, sources of information). The module provides an excellent opportunity to practise and master a number of skills related to research design and implementation, but also in respect to self-discipline, organisation and critical reflection. Many of these are neglectedin the noise and quick speed of lectures, classes and seminars and this module will provide students with the opportunity to think carefully about their research project. Students will be expected to:
Assignment 1 GIS Exercise (25%)
Assignment 2 Research Proposal (75%)
Students are permitted to be reassessed (usually once) in a module which they have failed, in line with course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer
Assignment 1 Gis Exercise
Assignment 2 - Research Proposal
Part A of themodule will begin by introducing students to the epistemological bases of social science research for “planning” (in its widest sense) and, after C Wright Mills, introduce the “planning imagination”. This part of the module will then go on to outline the dominant research traditions in the social sciences and explain how these are intimately linked to choices made at each stage of the research process. The connections between epistemology, methodology and method are established here. The logic of enquiry for undertaking effective research is then explained along with an introduction to using quantitative methods, qualitative methods, mixed methods, case studies, secondary, documentary and archive research, visual research methods and field observation/ethnography. This part of the module concludes with discussions on data analysis and presentation.
Part B focuses on developing a research proposal including topic selection, creating of research questions, evaluating alternative research methods and literature review.
The readings will vary with the topic chosen by the student but some books which students may find helpful include:
Burns, R. 2000. Introduction to research methods. London: Sage.
Bryman, A. 2012. Social research methods. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press (or Bryman, A. 2008. Social research methods. 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Dawson, C. 2009. Introduction to research methods: a practical guide for anyone undertaking a research project. Oxford: How To Books.
Denscombe, M. (1998) The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects Open University Press, Buckingham.
Franklin, A. and Blyton, P. (eds.) Researching Sustainability: a guide to social science methods, practice and engagement. London. Earthscan.
Hennink, M., Hutter, I. and Bailey, A. 2011. Qualitative research methods. London: Sage.
May, T. (1993), Social research: issues, methods and processes, Buckingham: Open University Press.
May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, methods and process. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Seale, C. ed. 2004. Social research methods: a reader. London, New York: Routledge.
Silverman, D. (2010) Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. London: Sage.
Singh, K. (2007) Quantitative Social Research Methods, Thousand Oaks, Sage.
GIS and Planning
Burrough,P.A, and McDonnell, R.A. (1998) Principles of Geographical Information Systems. Oxford University Press
Longley, P., and Clarke, G. (1995) (eds) GIS for Business and Service Planning GeoInformation International
Longley, P., Goodchild,M.F, Maguire,D.J., and Rhind,D.W. (1999) (eds.) Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications, New York – Chichester, Whiley.
Longley, P., Goodchild,M.F, Maguire,D.J., and Rhind,D.W. (2001) Geographical Information Systems and Science. Wiley & Sons
Martin,D. (1995) Geographic Information Systems and their socioeconomic applications, London: Routledge. 2nd edition.
RTPI (1992) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - A Planners Introductory Guide. RTPI, London.
Scholten, H.J. and Stillwell, J.C.H. (1990) Geographical Information Systems for Urban and Regional Planning (especially chapters by Ottens and le Clercq). Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Worboys, M. (1995) GIS: A Computing Perspective, London: Taylor and Francis.