Portfolio Exercise 1
What is Your Research Question? (750 words)
Having now been introduced to the dissertation, the aim of this portfolio exercise is to get you to think about your research question.
What is your research question? Write this out as a short sentence in the form of a question.
Write a synopsis of the central research problem you intend to address in your dissertation. Discuss a) why this problem was chosen; b) why it is a problem suitable for research at Master’s level; and c) what are the academic issues which underpin your research question?
Portfolio Exercise 2 Thinking Ahead (400 words)
• Thinking about the time you have to complete the dissertation, sketch out a timetable for your research and the writing of the dissertation. identify those stages that you feel will prove hardest to undertake or that will take the most time.
Portfolio Exercise 3 Locating Literature (600 words)
This portfolio exercise will develop your bibliographic skills – you will need these to locate relevant literature for your literature review.
As a registered distance learning student of the university of Leicester you have access to the University Library’s online facilities – these include a number of academic databases which cover a broad range of academic publications such as Sage Online, Science Direct, informaworld, business Source Premier, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Social Sciences Citation index, and Expanded Academic ASAP. These databases allow you to search and download articles to your computer, free of charge. The Library has an audio-visual library tutorial on databases, showing you how to use them to find information – if you have not already looked at this tutorial, you should do so now (https://connect.le.ac.uk/p15399419/). note you may need your university of Leicester iT Account username and password to access articles.
note that via the Distance Learning service provided by the university Library you have a full library service available to you giving you borrowing rights, literature searching facilities, telephone and internet/email ordering and many other useful and accessible points of entry to the library’s holdings. The Service also deals with PINs, postal loans, document supply (i.e. photocopying), Sconul Access applications and literature search requests. The latter and subject-specific enquiries are passed on to the information Librarian, Andrew Dunn, or his colleagues in the social sciences team when he is on leave. You can contact Andrew by leaving a message on the ‘Library Issues’ discussion board on blackboard, or via e-mail ([email protected]).
Go the university website and access the databases and other e-resources it hosts. use one of the databases listed above (or others you know) to search for and retrieve three current (within the last 5 years) academic articles relevant to your research question. Once you have identified and downloaded your articles write a 150-word review for each article focusing on the main findings of the research, the research methods used and the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s approach.
Provide a list of ten additional academic articles or books that you intend to use in your research.
Portfolio Exercise 4
The Philosophy of Social Research and Your Approach (1000 words)
All researchers need to justify the reasons why certain approaches are chosen and why others are not and the philosophical and practical rationale underpinning their research. This needs to be set within the context of positivist/post-positivist/interpretivist positions and the related quantitative/qualitative/mixed-methodological approaches.
• Outline the approach that you will take in your own research, discussing the philosophical and methodological rationale that will underpin your research.
You should consider which of the positivist/post-positivist/interpretivist principles
will underpin your research and why, and reflect on whether your research question suggests one methodological approach over another, or a combination of approaches. You should consider the strengths and potential weaknesses/limitations of your chosen approach and why this was chosen over the alternatives.
Portfolio Exercise 5
Your Samples (400 words)
for this exercise you need to consider and respond to the following:
• Who will make up your sample?
• Explain the size of your sample.
• Explain why this choice of sample is appropriate for your research.
• Have you agreed access to this sample/how will you access your sample?
Portfolio Exercise 6
Ethical Considerations (1000 words)
All research raises ethical issues. This is the case throughout the research, not simply in the early stages.
• Drawing on what you have learned from this section, outline in what ways your research raises ethical issues and how you plan to address these.
it is a requirement of the university of Leicester that you complete the Research Ethical Review (RER) and receive approval before conducting any research. You cannot proceed with the dissertation until ethical clearance has been obtained. To do this, you will need to complete the RER once you have received feedback on your Module 4 assignment. The feedback will identify where to locate the RER and who you need to send it to. Please contact the Centre directly if you have any questions about the ethics form.
Please note that if you make any potentially significant changes to your proposed research in the course of working with your supervisor, you may need to submit a new form. if you do plan to change elements such as the research methods, the sample or if your access changes, please contact your supervisor immediately.
Portfolio Exercise 7 Techniques (1500-2000 words)
Having read about some research techniques available to you we want you to consider the following questions:
What research techniques do you intend to use in your dissertation? (remember that you can use more that one).
Why have you chosen to use these techniques?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques you have chosen?
What literature on research methods has led you to believe that this/these would be the best approach for your dissertation?
How do you propose to analyse the data you have collected?