|School||Cardiff School of Geography and Planning|
|External Subject Code||X210|
|Number of Credits||20|
|Language of Delivery||English|
|Module Leader||Dr Francesca Sartorio|
The module is organised in two parts. Part A provides a generic introduction to and an overview of social science research methods for planning. Part B provides skills and contexts in subject-specific epistemological paradigms, methodologies and methods.
Part A of the module will provide the opportunity for students across all courses to attend ”Master-classes” from experts across the School of Geography and Planning in particular methods, techniques and perspectives.
Part B is course specific and 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:
Students will relate the above to spatial planning issues, and to researching spatial planning practice.
Together parts A and B of this module give students a robust post-graduate-level understanding of the tasks involved in undertaking pure and applied social science research into and for spatial planning.
Part A – in respect to research in general
critically assess alternative approaches to social research and to recognise their strengths and weaknesses;
examine the empirical content and relations of ideas introduced in other modules;
identify suitable methodological approaches for a given research question;
understand the epistemological principles (theories of knowledge) that govern the activities of social research;
critically examine different strategies of data presentation and analysis;
develop a dissertation project and conceptualise and plan the research process and its component steps:
apply skills in selected methods relevant to a postgraduate dissertation.
Part B – in relation to spatial planning
critically assess research approaches and methodologies in debates relevant to research into and within spatial planning;
examine the significance of contrasting approaches to knowledge production in research into and within spatial planning;
reflect on the role of social and institutional contexts for the research process in research into and within spatial planning;
identify and evaluate different sources of evidence in research into and within spatial planning;
identify, reflect upon and discuss major ethical issues relating to research into and within spatial planning;
understand the inter-relationships of (1) – (5) as exemplified by the role of research in framing and addressing a major contemporary planning challenge,.
Part ‘A’ will be delivered by lectures supported by ‘masterclass’ workshops on particular research designs and methods.Students will be required to attend a numberof research methods masterclasses delivered by experts from the field.
Part ‘B’ will be delivered by inter-active lectures and reading workshops based on case studies.
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.
Research Proposal - 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. Indicative titles are :
The purposes and ethics of researching spatial planning (one session)
Positivism and constructivism/interpretivism: case studies, eg (i) researching participation; (ii) researching housing allocation procedures (two sessions)
Quantitative and qualitative approaches in research practice (one session)
Researching planning policy and practice : (i)policy analysis; (ii) ethnography (two sessions )
The institutional context for researching planning : funding and commissioning; relationship to policy (two sessions)
For Part A:
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4e) Oxford OUP.
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.
For Part B
Hillier, J and Healey, P eds 2010 The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning Theory Farnham, Ashgate
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
Silva, E et al (eds) (2015) The Routledge Handbook of Planning Research Methods London, Routledge
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