Graduate Research Programme

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Graduate Research Programme

Workshops on writing research proposals;
defence of proposals to Programme Committee. CMS students may also be
required to participate in sections of modules on research methods, eg,
semiotics, in the Honours Programme. (This is not a credit bearing
module)

Research and Writing, Methodology Seminars

These seminars in research methodology are
compulsory for new Ph.D. and MA students at CCMS (Culture, Communication
and Media Studies), but also open for Honours students at CCMS who want
to proceed to the MA level of study. The seminars are aimed at enabling
the students to develop an understanding and appreciation of what
research is, various aspects of the research process and discussing the
relationship and interaction between the student and the
supervisor/mentor. It will also equip students with the necessary skills
for the development their research proposals.

These seminars will be linked to the
dissertation proposal writing workshops at which MA and Ph.D students
will present and discuss their proposals.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the seminars, students should be able to:

  • Explain what research is, why we do research and the nature of scientific knowledge.
  • Have an understanding of their relationship with supervisors/mentors
  • Demonstrate an understanding of
    various aspects of the research process by describing and explaining the
    steps in the research process.
  • Conduct literature review using print
    or non-print sources, explain the importance of literature review and
    recognise the difference between primary and secondary sources of data
    and gain some referencing skills.
  • Define broadly what a theory is, explain the role of theory in social research and explain theory construction and testing.
  • Outline and identify key ethical,
    political and philosophical issues involved in social and cultural
    studies research practice and articulate the appropriate ethical and
    value stance adopted by their research.
  • Identify and describe different research approaches and strategies.
  • Describe and critically analyse different methods of doing research or collecting data.
  • Explain the importance of sampling and differentiate types of sampling methods.
  • Define data, consider issues of reliability and validity when collecting data.
  • Identify an appropriate topic for
    investigation, indicate the appropriate methods of investigation and
    justify their broad research strategy on theoretical grounds and develop
    a research proposal.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of approaches to analysing visual images and text documents.
  • Organize materials derived from your
    readings and research and present them in a clear manner and demonstrate
    the ability to express your ideas clearly.

Content

Introduction to Research

  • The relationship between students and supervisors/mentors.
  • What is research?
  • What is social research ?
  • Why do we do research?
  • Ethics and politics of social research.
  • The nature of the scientific knowledge.

Readings

Gray A. (2003).Research practice for cultural studies. See Chapter 4, pp.57-70 (what is research); 75-77 (Ethics and politics of research); Chapter 10, pp.181-190 (Epistemology).

Babbie, E. and Mouton, J. (2001). The Practice of social research. Chapter 1, pp.1-13 (nature of scientific knowledge); Chapter 19, pp.519-543 (the ethics and politics of social research).

The research process/scientific process

All research follows the same essential process. It is characterised by the inclusion of seven basic steps:

  • Identify the problem/choose the topic.
  • Focus the research question/a hypothesis.
  • Literature review.
  • Design study.
  • Collect data .
  • Interpret and analyse data.

Draw conclusions and inform others (Writing up and presentation of data).

The research process (Stages 1 &2)

  • Identify the problem/choose the topic.
  • Focus the research question/a hypothesis.
  • Literature review.

Readings

Gray A. (2003).Research practice for cultural studies. Chapter 4, p. 57-61. (identifying the problem and focusing research question).

Fink, A. (1998). Conducting research literature reviews. London, Sage.

Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review. London, Sage.

Hart, C. (2001). Doing a literature search: a comprehensive guide for the social sciences. London, Sage.

Design study

  • Types of research approaches:
  • Qualitative research.
  • Quantitative research.
  • The multi-method approach.
  • Research strategies or designs (Surveys, Experiment, Case Study, Ethnography and Action Research).

Readings

Babbie, E. and mouton, J. (2001). The Practice of social research. Chapter 10, p. 269-278 (qualitative research); 279-287 (qualitative research designs).

Data collection

  • Sampling strategies.
  • Reliability and validity of data.
  • Methods of collecting data.
  • Content analysis.
  • Ethnographic methods.
  • Semiotics as a method of methods.
  • Autobiographies, Testimonies and Life stories.

Readings

Gray A. (2003). Research practice for cultural studies.
See Chapters 5, (ethnography) pp. 79-106; Chapter 7, pp. 127-145
(Semiotics); Chapter 6, pp.107-125 (Autobiographies, Testimonies and
Life stories)

Babbie, E. and mouton, J. (2001). The Practice of social research.
Chapter 7, pp. 166-200 (Sampling); Chapter 10, pp. 288-300 (qualitative
research); 283-287 (Life histories); Chapter 13, pp. 384-397 (Content
analysis). Chapter 5, pp. 118-124 (reliability and validity); Chapter
18, 495-497 (Discourse analysis).

Interpret and analyse data

  • Qualitative data analysis (with emphasis on different analytical approaches that have been used in cultural studies).
  • Analysis of interview data (Transcribing, concept and category formation; Grounded theory).
  • Content analysis.
  • Life Histories.

Readings

Gray A. (2003).Research practice for cultural studies. Chapter 8, (data analysis).

Babbie, E. and mouton, J. (2001). The Practice of social research. Chapter 18, pp. 498 (Content analysis and grounded theory); 502-503 (Life Histories).

Writing up and presentation of data.

  • Identify the different sections of a report.
  • Academic writing, presentation and referencing skills.
  • How to write a project proposal.

Readings

Check CMS intranet web page (Academic writing, presentation and writing).

Gray, A. (2003). Research practice for cultural studies. See Chapter 9, pp. 181-190. (writing).

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