|School||Cardiff School of Planning and Geography|
|External Subject Code||X210|
|Number of Credits||20|
|Language of Delivery||English|
|Module Leader||Dr Alun Thomas|
The module is organised in 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. In particular, this module gives students a robust post-graduate-level understanding of the tasks involved in undertaking pure and applied social science research into and for spatial planning. Students will learn how to define research aims and objectives, design research strategies and select methods, and understand how the disciplinary, policy and political context of spatial planning issues affects the research we do. It is designed to meet the needs of a number of audiences: 1. For those that have taken an undergraduate social research methods course, it provides an opportunity to develop depth and precision in the choice, application and understanding of appropriate methods. 2. For those that have not already taken such a course, it offers an introduction to the skills and components of research design. Students will relate the above to spatial planning issues, and to researching spatial planning 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 social science research into spatial planning and practice.
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 inter-active lectures and reading workshops based on case studies specific to spatial planning research.
Whilst studying this module, 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.
Report - Research proposal, including discussion of research design and methodology and ethical statement; literature review; (100%)
Part A of the module 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 offers a tailored suite of classes designed to explore research issues especially relevant to spatial planning debates. Eight one hour sessions are proposed, as follows:
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4e) Oxford OUP.
Franklin, A. and Blyton, P. (eds.) Researching Sustainability: a guide to social science methods, practice and engagement. London. Earthscan.
Hennick, M (2011) Qualitative Research Methods. London. Sage.
May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, methods and process (4e). Maidenhead. OUP.
Silverman, D. (2010) Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook (3e). London. Sage.
Singh, K. (2007) Quantitative Social Research Methods, Thousand Oaks, Sage.
Flyvbjerg, B et al 2003 Megaprojects and Risk Cambridge, CUP
Healey, P et al 1988 Land Use Planning and the Mediation of Urban Change Cambridge, CUP
Lo Piccolo, F and Thomas, H eds 2009 Ethics and Planning Research Farnham, Ashgate
Sandercock., L and Attili, G 2010 Digital Ethnography as Planning Praxis: An Experiment with Film as Social Research, Community Engagement and Policy Dialogue Planning Theory and Practice 11(1), 23 - 45
Straatemeier T, Bertolini L, te Brömmelstroet M, Hoetjes P, 2010, An experiential approach to research in planning Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 37(4) 578 – 591