Differences, strengths and weaknesses of different research epistemologies

• Identify a research question within a clearly defined field of research (up to 400 words);
• Explain and justify the epistemological approach to be taken in the research (up to 300 words);
• Explain and justify the design of your research and the impact of your epistemological approach in your choices (1000-1500 words);
• Explain how your research will address issues of reliability, validity and ethics (up to 300 words).

Learning Outcomes assessed:

• Identify the similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses of different research epistemologies;
• Understand the relationships between specific ontological world views and their corresponding epistemologies, appropriate methodologies and methods;
• Justify choices made in the selection of research methodologies and methods;
• Critically assess research conducted in their home discipline/field of study on the basis of the epistemological assumptions made;
• Demonstrate a knowledge of the characteristics of different research designs across the social sciences;
• Formulate research problems and practicable research questions;
• Relate research designs of different kinds to appropriate research questions;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of validity and reliability in the context of different types of research design;
• Explicate the relationships between empirical research and the development of theory in the social sciences;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the ethics and politics underpinning professional social science research.
• Critically assess the efficacy of particular methodologies or methods and their appropriateness to asking certain types of research questions;
• Evaluate choices in epistemology, research design and associated methods made in the production of a research project;

• Justify and defend such choices in the context of postgraduate research (for example in written work and in an oral defence of their research);
• Justify the choice of research designs and associated methods in relation to specified research questions;
• Demonstrate the ways in which (theoretical) conclusions are warranted by different kinds of empirical results;
• Appreciate the importance of the relationship between ontology, epistemology, methodology and methods in their own discipline/field of study;
• Critically evaluate the dominant paradigm in their discipline and, where appropriate, to identify alternative perspectives which might be brought to bear on their own research question;
• Demonstrate an understanding of how and why particular forms of research design have come to dominate different disciplines;

Sample Solution