Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE RFS5006

 
TITLE Application Tools and Research Methods

 
LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 5

 
DEPARTMENT Rural Sciences and Food Systems

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit will address two main components: (i) application tools with particular reference to statistical methods, and (ii) research methods.

The first component (statistical tools) will provide an overview of a range of tools and approaches relevant to data analysis and interpretation. The main tools to be investigated include:
- Combinatorics and Probability; Probability distributions (Normal distribution, t-distribution, Chi square distribution and F-distribution) Sampling techniques; Sampling distribution of means, proportions, difference of two means, difference of two proportions; Sample size calculation; Parametric tests (One-sample t-test. Paired samples t-test, Independent samples t-test and One-Way ANOVA test); Non-parametric tests (Sign test, Wilcoxon test, Mann Whitney test and Kruskal Wallis test)

The second component of the study-unit will address research methods, specifically knowledge and skills relevant to conducting original research and writing assignments and dissertations. Students will be guided through the process of identifying a suitable topic for research, structuring and planning their work, finding and appropriately utilizing relevant literature sources (including internet), developing and implementing a methodology, rigorously and objectively analyzing results obtained, and writing up/presenting their results and conclusions. The unit will also outline 'good practice' techniques relevant to producing high quality research. The students will also be guided to use on-line tools such as Turnitin in order to reduce the incidence of plagiarism in their work.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims:
- To familiarize students with a range of tools relevant research in the field of rural sciences;
- To enable students to appreciate that the choice of tool depends on various factors;
- To foster students' appreciation of the tool selection for particular rural sciences issues;
- To demonstrate how the development of 'solutions' to an issue are dependent on how the issue is framed;
- To familiarize students with the research planning process and its various stages;
- To develop students' research planning skills;
- To make students aware of fundamental tenets of good practice in academic research;
- To enable students to commence their dissertation planning.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Explain the scope and purpose of data gathering and data analysis and outline the process involved;
- Differentiate between the different statistical tools;
- Distinguish between qualitative, quantitative and mixed research;
- Explain the main characteristics of the different types of research methodologies;
- Understand the implications of plagiarism and raise awareness on how this can be avoided.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify a research topic and evaluate its feasibility;
- Develop a research question/hypothesis;
- Present a justification for research conducted;
- Develop a 'mind map’;
- Identify and critique relevant literature sources (including the internet);
- Evaluate the quality of source material;
- Plan and justify a research methodology;
- Outline a format for presentation of scientific research.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Greetham, B., 2008. How to Write Better Essays. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wisker, G., 2001. The Postgraduate Research Handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Peck, J. and Coyle, M., 2005. Write it Right: A handbook for students. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lecture notes and handouts.

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Workshop

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 Yes 10%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 40%
Workshop SEM1 Yes 50%

 
LECTURER/S Everaldo Attard (Co-ord.)
Liberato Camilleri

 
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 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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