Module Coordinator: Ryan Powell


Tel: 0114 222 6182

Room: D11d

Module Overview

This module aims to develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake research into planning, urban design, property and international development. It provides grounding in the philosophy and design of research projects and an introduction to a variety of research methods, whilst seeking to engender an understanding of the appropriate contexts in which they might be applied and the ethical issues that might arise. The module provides an appreciation both of the intellectual traditions in which various modes of research are grounded, and links theory to research practice and the application of research in policy and design. The module is delivered through a variety of teaching methods and forms a critically important part of the initial preparation for the Masters dissertation

Study Hours

The University recommends that you spend 150 hours working on a 15-credit module. This will include:

  • Lectures
  • Practical Workshops
  • Self study

Module Breakdown

Week 2: Introduction to Research Methods
Week 3: Knowledge, concepts and research design
Week 4: Workshop 1 – Exploring quantitative and qualitative approaches
Week 5: Generating and answering answer research questions: choices in research design
Week 6: Quantitative approaches to data collection and analysis
Week 7: Qualitative approaches to data collection
Week 8: Workshop 2 - Policy and documentary analysis; Comparative analysis
Week 9: Ethnography and visual methods
Week 10: Analysing Qualitative Data
Week 11: Workshop 3 – Coding and analysing qualitative data
Week 12: Research Ethics & Research Methods Surgery


  • Assessment One - Critical essay on research design (1000 words plus references): 40% 
  • Assessment Two - Data collection and analysis (1500 words plus references): 60%

Key Readings

    • Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4th Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press
    • Cresswell, J. (2008) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches (3rd ed). London: Sage.
    • Farthing, S. (2016) Research Design in Urban Planning. London: Sage

Skills Badging

Research Skills - Introduction to research methods skills

Communication Skills - Develop skills to present and evidence critical arguments; work with and listen to others

Self-motivation & Awareness - Develop skill to be self-reflective in developing research skills and competencies.

Before you start...

Students can familiarize themselves with some of the key issues and concepts covered by reading the Farthing (2016) text which provides a good general introduction and is utilized and referenced throughout the module.