Course Info

Course Coordinator


Brinkman, W.P.

About this course

Study load (hrs)
140
Level
Master

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Empirical Research Methods

 

Description

MAIN AIMS OF THE MODULE  EMPIRICAL RESEARCH METHODS

To achieve understanding of empirical research methods and obtain practical experience with quantitative data analysis methods.

LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE MODULE
In providing the opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate understanding, knowledge and competence, the learning outcomes for the module are that students will be able to.

  1. Recognise and begin to utilise appropriate strategies for carrying out empirical research for answering research questions
  2. Appreciate how empirical research is conducted and findings can be evaluated
  3. Understand key principles underlying statistical data analysis
  4. Develop and apply appropriate research strategy and measure instruments
  5. Successfully use statistical software tools to analyse data

MAIN TOPICS OF STUDY
The main topics of study considered in light of the above learning outcomes are:

  • Research philosophy (e.g. positivism, empiricism, naturalism)
  • Formulating empirical research questions and conceptual research models
  • Causality effects and relationships
  • Validity and Reliability
  • Scales of measurement (e.g. nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)
  • Sampling methods (e.g. experiment, survey, observations) and measure instruments (e.g. Likert scales, semantic differential, event versus time sampling)
  • Experimental design (e.g. within and between-subjects, factorial design, counter-balancing, Latin square)
  • Biases in empirical research approaches (e.g. confounding variables, statistical power)
  • Data preparation (e.g. standardization of data, reliability analysis, Inter-rater reliability)
  • Hypothesis testing, t-test, (M)ANOVA, correlation, regression analysis
  • Non-parametric approaches to data analysis

TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODS/STRATEGIES USED TO ENABLE THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LEARNING OUTCOMES
In the lectures, theories, principles and methods are presented and discussed. During the lectures class-demonstrations will be given on how SPSS can be used to analyse empirical data. In the practicum students work in small groups (2 to 3 students) on assignments and discuss them with an instructor. The instructors will also provide practical guidance on the use of SPSS.

ASSESSMENT METHODS WHICH ENABLE STUDENT TO DEMONSTRATE THE LEARNING
OUTCOMES FOR THE MODULE

The module is assessed by coursework and an exam as follows:

  • Written exam
  • Coursework Project (resulting in a report)
    Separate marks will be given for these two assessments

EXAM
Under exam conditions, students will be assessed individually on the extent they have met
learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3.

COURSEWORK PROJECT
Students will work in small groups (2 to 3 students) on a coursework assignment which includes:

  • The design and set-up of empirical research study
  • The design of a measurement instrument
  • The statistical analysis of a dataset by using SPSS

At the start of the module, student groups will be assigned to different case-studies and given a
raw data set (please note that different groups will work on different datasets). At the end of the
second quarter groups have to submit a project report in which they have to demonstrate that they
have met learning outcome 4 and 5. An overall pass mark can only be obtained if a pass mark has been obtained for both the individual exam and the group coursework project.

 

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