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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Advanced Research Methods

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty for Social Wellbeing

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will explore the epistemological and ontological foundations of social science research emphasising the relevant debates and the impact that positivism, interpretivism, the critical paradigm and postmodern, poststructuralist and posthuman methodology have had on quantitative and qualitative research. The fundamental cornerstones of sampling, validity and reliability in social research will be discussed, helping the student appreciate the paradigms of the construction of the research question, process and design in qualitative and quantitative research.

The goal of this study-unit is to explore the main tools available in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Software programs designed at assisting qualitative and quantitative research will also be presented together with a variety of qualitative research tools, and descriptive and inferential statistics in conjunction with bayesian and spatial methodologies.

Ethics and research integrity will also be discussed.

Study-unit Aims:

This study units aims at:

1. Giving Masters students of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing a grounding in the philosophy of social science research;
2. Familiarizing students with core issues involved in the research process and research design;
3. Introducing different forms of quantitative and qualitative research methodology;
4. Discussing with students ethical principles in social science research.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Comprehend the philosophical underpinnings of social science research;
- Question the use of different methodologies in social science research;
- Describe the various qualitative and quantitative methodologies;
- Compare qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Formulate appropriate research questions;
- Design research processes and designs that are appropriate to the research questions.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

Bryman, A., & Cramer, D. (2011). Quantitative Data Analysis with IBM SPSS 17, 18 and 19. Hove: Psychology Press.
Burr, V. (2003). Social constructionism. 3rd edition. London: Routledge.
Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
Flick, U. (2014). An introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage.
Jarvie, I.C., J. Zamora-Bonilla. (2011). The Sage Handbook of the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. London: Sage.
Roseberg, A. (2012). The Philosophy of Social Science. 4th edition Boulder, CO: Westview press.

Supplementary Readings:

Ackroyd, S. & Hughes, J. (1992) Data Collection In Context, Second Edition, (London, Longman).
American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th Edition. American Psychological Association: United.
Andrews, M., Squire, C. & Tamboukou, M. (2013). Narrative Research. London: Sage.
Atkinson, P. & Hammersley, M. (2008). Ethnography: principles in practice. London: Routledge.
Babbie, E. R. (2001). The Basics of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Babbie, E.R. (2007). Adventures in Social Research: Data analysis using SPSS 14.0 and 15.0 for Windows.
Berg, B.l. (2004). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Boston.
Black, T.R., (1999), Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences: An Integrated Approach to Research Design, Measurement and Statistics, SAGE Publications Ltd, ISBN-13: 978-0761953531.
Bloomberg, L.D. and Volpe, M. (2008), Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation. UK: Sage.
Box-Steffensmeier, J.M., Freeman, J.R., Hitt, M.P., Pevehouse, J.C.W., (2014), Time Series Analysis for the Social Sciences (Analytical Methods for Social Research), Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0521691550.
Brunsdon, D., Comber, L., (2015), An Introduction to R for Spatial Analysis and Mapping, SAGE Publications Ltd, ISBN-13: 978-1446272954.
Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods, 4th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Charmaz, K.(2006). Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.
Clandinin, D.J. & Conelly, F.M. (2004) Narrative Inquiry: experience and story in qualitative research. New York, NY: Wiley.
Creswell, John, W. (1998). Qualitative Enquiry and Research Design: Choosing among five traditions. Oakes: Sage.
Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.) (2011). The Sage handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (Eds.) (2003). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Esterberg, Kristen G. (2002) Qualitative Methods in Social Research. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Fetterman, D.M. (2009) Ethnography Step-by-step. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Field, A., Miles, J., Field, Z., (2012), Discovering Statistics Using R, SAGE Publications Ltd, ISBN-13: 978-1446200469.
Formosa S., Scicluna S., Azzopardi J., Formosa Pace J., Calafato T. (2011). The research Road We Make: Statistics for the Uninitiated, NSO, Valletta.
Gill, J., (2014), Bayesian Methods: A Social and Behavioral Sciences Approach, Third Edition (Chapman & Hall/CRC Statistics in the Social and Behavioral Sciences), Chapman and Hall/CRC, ISBN-13: 978-1439862483.
Hamilton, L.C., (2012), Statistics with STATA: Version 12, Duxbury Press, ISBN-13: 978-0840064639.
Higgs, J., Titchen, A., Horsfall, D., & Bridges, D. (2011). Creative spaces for qualitative researching: Living research. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Available:
Jupp, V., (2006), The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods, SAGE Publications Ltd, DOI:
McElreath, R., (2015), Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan (Chapman & Hall/CRC Texts in Statistical Science), Chapman and Hall/CRC, ISBN-13: 978-1482253443.
Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner M., & Jessop, J. (eds). Ethics in Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. London: Sage.
Mitchell, M.N., (2015), Stata for the Behavioral Sciences, Stata Press, ISBN-13: 978-1597181730.
Mitchell, M. and Jolley, J. (2012). Research Design Explained. 8th Edition. Harcourt Brace Publishers: United States.
Moran, D. (2000) Introduction to Phenomenology. Abingdon: Routledge.
Morgan, S.E., Reichert, T., Harrison, T.R., (2001), From Numbers to Words: Reporting Statistical Results for the Social Sciences, Allyn and Bacon, ISBN-13: 978-0801332807.
Neuman, N.L. (2014) Social Research Methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches. 7th ed. Pearson.
Patton, M.Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Phillips, N. & Brown, J.L. (1993) ‘Analyzing Communication In and Around Organizations: a critical hermeneutic approach’. The Academy of Management Journal, 36 (6), pp. 1547-1576.
Punch, K.F. (2005) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative & Qualitative Approaches, (London, Sage).
Saldana, J. (2013) (2nd ed). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Silverman, D. and Marvasti, A. (2005) Doing Qualitative Research. UK: Sage.
Smith, J.A., Flowers, P. & Larkin, M. (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: theory, method and research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Strauss, A.l. & Corbin, J (1990). Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory, procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, Ca: Sage.
Schutt , R. K. (2012). Investigating the Social World: the process and practice of research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Vinod, H.D., (2010), Advances in Social Science Research Using R (Lecture Notes in Statistics), Springer, ISBN-13: 978-1441917638.
Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. and Yates, S.J. (2001). Discourse as Data: a guide for analysis. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Whiteman N. (2012). Undoing Ethics: Rethinking practice in online research. New York: Springer.
Wood, L.A. & Kroger, R.O. (2000). Doing Discourse Analysis: methods of studying action in talk and text. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Wodak, R. (2008). Qualitative discourse analysis in the social sciences. Houndmills Basingstoke; Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Research Paper Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Andrew Azzopardi
Paul A. Bartolo
Albert Bell
Ann Marie Callus (Co-ord.)
Marilyn Clark
Mark Anthony Falzon
Janice Formosa Pace
Saviour Formosa
Natalie A. Kenely
Sue Vella

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2016/7, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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