Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Researching Addictive Behaviour

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit will explore variant approaches to doing research, that is, quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. it will be divided into four parts. Part one will explore research methodology more generally by examining ontological and epistemological frameworks, developing a research question and writing a literature review. Part one will also explore ethical issues.

Part two will explore issues and methods related to positivistic quantitative research paradigm. This section will examine: experimental designs, survey research, sampling, descriptive and inferential statistics. Part three will explore the interpretivist qualitative paradigm of research more specifically: phenomenology and IPA; action research; ethnography; grounded theory; reflexivity and interviewing. Part 4 will address mixed methods.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to prepare students to embark on a research project in addiction studies. It aims to guide them in the development of a research agenda and in selecting the most appropriate research methodology to address the research questions posed and to recognise the implications of such a choice. It aims to engage course participants with the philosophical underpinnings of different research paradigms and to impart the skills in selecting and utilising the most appropriate methods. The study-unit also aims to strive for excellence in conducting publishable research and to be cognisant of the implications of one's research for policy and practice in the field.

Learning Outcomes:

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

- recognise the ontological and epistemological underpinning of various research methodologies;
- locate their research agenda within a research paradigm;
- critically engage with the strengths and weaknesses of different research paradigms;
- relate a research question to a research paradigm;
- discuss key ethical issues in conducting research in the field of addictive behaviour.

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

- demonstrate a critical attitude to research;
- develop a research agenda and more specific research questions;
- select appropriate methodology to address agenda;
- use the existent literature effectively;
- collect and analyse data in a scholarly manner;
- arrive at evidence based conslusions;
- write a dissertation that may be adapted for publication;
- adhere to ethical principles at all stage of the research project.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts

- Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
- Little, T. (2013) (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Quantitative Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press (volume 1 & 2).

Supplementary Readings (a supplementary reading will be advised in accordance with the chosen methodology for the research proposal).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Laboratory Session

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 30%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 70%


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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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.