Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Methods in Youth and Community Studies

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Youth and Community Studies

DESCRIPTION This study unit shall focus on the application of both qualitative and quantitative methods (and mixed, triangulated research approaches) in youth and community studies. Course participants will thus be exposed inter alia to a plethora of qualitative research methods and computer assisted qualitative tools (such as Atlas Ti) relevant to the field. This unit will also address how the application of qualitative methods is relevant for the on-going development of youth and community work practice. Quantitative oriented research studies are undoubtedly a pivotal aspect of policy and service development efforts in the youth sector. This study-unit hence revisits the principal constructs of quantitative methods, and provides a detailed examination of statistical, computer assisted research techniques. The myriad instruments that are used in quantitative research inquires and their applicability to the planning process will thus be duly emphasized. This course also focuses on specific issues related to quantitative studies, including generalisability and the limitations of official data, representation and data triangulation.

The specific topics covered include : survey research, ethnography, narrative, discourse analysis, grounded theory, phenomenology, standpoint theory, standards of quality and verification, positionality and ethics.

Study-unit Aims

This study unit is primarily intended to assist course participants to build the required competencies for the undertaking of postgraduate research in the area and to build a critical appraisal of the methodological issues related to research in the youth and community work sector. This unit rests advances the practitioner-researcher ethos and thus advances the concept that prospective service providers and planners in the field should have an informed appreciation of the importance that robust research and evaluation strategies play in the process of securing evidence-based planning approaches and service delivery. This unit thus aims at familiarising course participants with the main research traditions in youth studies, including their diverse philosophical and theoretical frameworks (and how these intersect with each other),different data collection and analysis methods and pivotal methodological issues.

Learning Outcomes

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

(a) have a good understanding of the principles of social science and the main research traditions in the field and how to apply such traditions in the design and implementation of research project;
(b) distinguish between commonly used data collection and analytical tools in empirical research, including surveys, interviews, content analysis and basic statistical methods and to be clearly aware of the strengths, weakness and appropriate applicability of such methods;
(c) demonstrate understanding on different case selection and sampling approaches;
(d) understand the importance of ethics in research; and,
(e) understand issues surrounding the reliability and validity of qualitative and quantitative research.

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

(a) develop, refine and present a research proposal for their own original research relevant to the youth and community studies field;
(b) design and present an ethically and methodologically sound research proposal;
(c) evaluate and critically engage with the main notions surrounding qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
(d) assess conditions under which one can properly apply tools of measurement and systematic ways to make inferences and interpret data; and
(e) apply computer-assisted techniques for the collation, generation and analysis of both statistical and narrative data.
(f) triangulate data sets and data collection and analysis techniques, and,
(g) apply both non-probability and probability sampling methods.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Main Text:

- Creswell J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.[available].

Supplementary Readings:

- Babbie, E. R. (2001). The Basics of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. [available].
- Babbie, E.R. (2007). Adventures in Social Research: Data analysis using SPSS 14.0 and 15.0 for Windows. [available].
- Berg, B.l. (2007). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. [available].
- Cohen L., Manion K. & Morrison K. (2007). Research Methods in Education, 6th ed. New York: Routledge. [unavailable].
- Creswell, John, W. (1998). Qualitative Enquiry and Research Design: Choosing among five traditions. Oakes: Sage. [available].
- Pan, M. Ling. (2008). Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. (3nd ed.). CA: Pyrczak Publishing. [unavailable].
- Schutt , R. K. (1999). Investigating the Social World: the process and practice of research. Thousand Oaks: Sage. [available].


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Albert Bell
Joanne Cassar
Alexander Joseph Farrugia
Janice Formosa Pace
Saviour Formosa
Liliana Maric

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 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.