RESEARCH SKILLS

RESEARCH SKILLS

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Understand how to construct a testable hypothesis.
Understand how to design an appropriate research study to aIDress a specific research question.
Understand the importance of ethical considerations when conducting research.
Be able to collect and analyse data relevant to the research project.
Understand how to present, interpret and evaluate the results of a research project.
Be able to report a research project using standard formats.

Unit Assessment Criteria Applied to Assignment
Number of assignments to this unit: One    Project / Written Description
Page No. where you have covered the assessment criteria    Assessment Criterion (Identified below in brackets) Please also indicate where you have covered the assessment criteria in your actual submission.
Identify an appropriate theme and title for a research project.
Develop and justify a research hypothesis using relevant literature.
Evaluate the use of different research methods to test a hypothesis.
Evaluate the use of different research designs to test a hypothesis.
Identify appropriate sampling methods, independent and dependent variables and controls to test a hypothesis.
Identify the ethical principles that apply to the chosen research project.
Explain how to conduct the chosen research project to be compliant with the ethical guidelines.
Justify and apply appropriate procedures to collect data for the research project.
Analyse data appropriately using basic descriptive and/ or inferential statistical analyses.
Select an appropriate method to present the research data.
5.2 Interpret and evaluate the results of the research project.
6.1 Apply standard formats to report the research project, including:
The structure of the project report.
Citations and reference lists.
Appendices (if appropriate).

Throughout the course you are expected to develop the following Study Skills:
Grade Descriptors
1.Understanding the subject: Where students are asked to Demonstrate a their understanding of the relevant knowledge base
2.Application of Knowledge: Where students are expected to make use of relevant: ideas and facts.
3.Application of Skills: Where students use skills, techniques, methods. Appropriate to the assessment task.
4.Use of Information: Where students are expected to identify new information from the relevant sources and make use of aIDitional information, showing a grasp of the meaning and significance of new information.
5.Communication and Presentation:  Where Students are expected to show a command of language and have the ability to structure answers in a logical format. This also includes the use of an appropriate referencing system.
6.Autonomy and Independence: Where students are expected to make judgements relating to how to complete work and demonstrate time-management. Where students need guidance it is expected that students will promptly seek clarification and guidance.
7.Quality: Where the overall response to the assignment is considered.
Not all grade descriptors are used for every graded unit. For this unit, examples of grades 2,4,5,and 7 are used
THE FOLLOWING IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU WOULD BE GRADED IF GRADE DESCRIPTORS WERE APPLIED. – This is only here to prepare students for graded units and give students some indication of how the grading descriptors work and what grade they are working towards.
Grade Descriptor:2 Application of knowledge
Makes use of relevant ideas and theories with either breadth or depth and a very good level of consistency, analysis and insight. (M)    Makes use of relevant ideas and theories with both breadth and depth and an excellent level of consistency, analysis and insight. (D)     Grade Indicator
Grade Descriptor:4  Use of Information
Identifies new information from sources which are generally appropriate, makes some use of new information and shows a very good grasp of the meaning and significance of new information.
In practice-based/practical work: is informed by research that draws on a range of sources and resources. (M)    Identifies new information from sources which are consistently appropriate, makes extensive use of new information and shows an excellent grasp of the meaning and significance of new information.
In practice-based/practical work: is informed by research that draws on an extensive range of sources and resources (D)    Grade
Indicator
Grade Descriptor: 7 Quality
Taken as a whole, is structured in a way that is generally logical and fluent and demonstrates a very good response to the demands of the brief/assignment. (M)    Taken as a whole is consistently logical and fluent  and demonstrates an excellent response to the demands of the brief/assignment (D)     Grade
Indicator

Word count Guideline: 2500 words:
Sanctions apply for graded assessments that exceed the allocated word limit by more than 10% – please see Student Handbook for details of these sanctions

One assignment
Research Report: Please word process your answers and any drawn illustrations / graphs will need to be scanned and uploaded to your dashboard or posted.
You must complete a plan to discuss with your tutor to ensure you are on the right track
You should refer to the Grade descriptors above when completing the above assessment criteria 1.1 – 6.1
Please use the word processor and if you decide to draw illustrations you will need to scan and upload them to your file or post them with a copy of your signed Declaration.

Assessment (1)

STUDY SKILLS
RESEARCH SKILLS

The Title of your assignment is generally Research Report but you are meant to put your own title relating to the study area from your own thoughts e.g. there is a strong association between stress levels and the number of cigarettes smoked.
The assignment guidelines are that you are asked to look at the association between smoking and stress in any of one of the health professions i.e. Nurses, Doctors, and Paramedics.

You need information from a sample of at least 10 health professional participants (e.g. 10 nurses).
You will ask each participant on a scale of 0 to 5 how stressed they usually feel in an average week when they are working where 5 is the most stressed.
You will also ask how many cigarettes they smoke in an average week
This information will be placed on a raw results table as follows:
Example of a raw result table
Participant     Cigarette consumption in an average week     Stress level in an average week
(1)    20    5
(2)    2    2
(3)    40    5
(4)    2    1
(5)    10    4
(6)    20    4
(7)    5    2
(8)    1    1
(9)    25    5
(10)    9    3

You will then write your findings up using following the normal conventions of report writing.

Further instructions for this assignment can be found in How to write a research report in the resources library and accompanying this assignment.

The whole format of presentation is covered in ‘How to write a Research Report’
HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH REPORT (6.1)
…..Using a correlation as an example.

This is a template guideline for a research report including illustrations and calculations and follows the conventions of delivery for a correlation. All research presentations follow the same principles, the only difference would be the statistical test and type of graph used.

Title: There must be a clear indication of what your study is about. This is your choice. (1.1)
Contents page
Abstract: (Approx 150 words)
Can the abstract be understood without referring to the full report?
This is an overview of the rest of the investigation and therefore you must write this last although in order of presentation it comes at the beginning of the report. It must include the following:
Brief background to give the reader an indication of the area of study;
the aim; the hypothesis;
the research method used and in this case it is a correlation;
the sample of participants;
what information you retrieved from them
The overall conclusion in relation to the investigation and weather you accepted the alternative hypothesis or not

Introduction: (Approx 750 words)
Locates: Relevant theory and research
This includes the broad area of study for example stress levels in the health professionals and displacement activities such as smoking. This leads onto specific studies where there is an indication that there is an increase in smoking behaviour in nurses.  This investigation will aIDress the relationship between smoking and stress levels in professionals such as nurses. Find the most similar investigation relating to aim.

Aim of investigation Give this in a statement. Remember correlations do not have an independent variable and a dependent variable. (1.1)

Hypothesis (alternative) Give this in a statement and also state if this is a one or two tailed hypothesis. (1.2)
Hypothesis (Null) Give this in a statement and also state if this is a one or two tailed hypothesis. (1.2)

Method: (Approx 500 words)The method has to have enough detail in it to allow the reader to replicate the study. This is normally divided into the following:
Design e.g. repeated measures, independent subjects design or matched subjects design. The test is a Spearman’s Rho as the scores are paired off by participants and when plotted on a scatter diagram the points with be displayed as either linear or curved.
Procedure: Here you need to include all the information relating to what was covered in order to complete the investigation. The reader should be able to follow your instructions to be able to replicate the investigation without any other help. Include a step by step guide for the reader. Here you could state you asked the participant to rate their score from 0 to 5 on their own personal estimation ( stress o metre ) scale how stressed they were prior to smoking a cigarette and then you could mark down that score and then ask the participant how many cigarettes they smoked in a week. Include debriefing the participant if you are doing investigations where the participant has given their consent. (4.1)
You must also consider the ethical implications and considerations of the study (some participant may be sensitive about being part of an investigation and you take steps not to identify the participants individually. (3.1, 3.2)
Participants: here are the details about the participants, where you obtained the sample from (target population) and the type of sample (males, females, age etc).
Apparatus: Here you would put details about anything that was used in order to complete the investigation. I.e. Sressometer (an invented 5 point scale where 1 is no stress and 5 is extremely stressed. Include any relevant information relating to score scales in the appendix.
(2.1, 2.2, 2.3.)

Result: (Approx 50 words) Results are normally in their raw form e.g. number of cigarettes smoked and stress which is indicated by the score on the Stressometre. Results can then be put in a visual form like a scatter diagram. You could look at the mean, median and mode of the results gathered and the range. They then can be also be processed statistically by applying a Spearman’s Rho to the data in this particular instance. State your reasons why and what it tests for, also put your calculations in the appendix. The level of probability should stated at a 0.05 level of significance (p=< 0.05), which means that there is a less than 5% probability that the results occur by chance to be able to accept the alternative hypothesis. (4.1, 4.2, 5.1)
Graph:

(This only an example and has no numerical significance to the statistics in appendices or raw results)

Stress score 1-5 = horizontal
Number of cigarettes smoked = vertical column

Analysis of result: put in Appendices (5.1, 5.2)

Discussion:   (Approx 750 words)
Explain your findings
First of all relate your results back to the hypothesis and suggest whether you can support or refute your hypothesis. After this point you need to relate your findings back to the information you have put forward in your introduction. You will need to critically compare your findings in relation to this previous research and theory (3.2).

Strengths and limitations and improvements (Approx 250 words ) (6.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
Try to locate possible sources of limitations ad improvements such as problems in data representation, sampling and problems with the methodology.

You will also need to look at the strengths and weaknesses of this study (4.1) and if you were to improve the study what steps would you take.

This research could also be completed using a questionnaire or a survey. Explain here how this could be put into operation and suggest why this would be more/ less appropriate. (2.1, 2.2, 2.3 )

If you used an experiment to look at smoking and stress levels why this would be seen as a less appropriate method of investigation?
Is there a better method of testing out the hypothesis?
(2.1, 2.2, 2.3)

Conclusion (Approx 50 words)
What can you conclude from the whole experience?

References:
You must list all the places you have taken information from including web sites, books, journals etc. (6.1)
Statistical calculations (5.1, 6.1)

Spearman’s Rho

Your submission is eligible for grading if you have met the criterion above and forwarded the declaration to confirm you have not plagiarised in your submission.
Your work should indicate where you have covered the different assessment criterion: To assure a cross check of further quality with regards to submission of assessments please identify within the body of your assessment the assessment criteria that is being met. This should then correspond with your assessment criteria sheet above. The most appropriate way to do this is to write the criteria number next to the paragraphs and in the margin where you feel you have met the criteria.
Please make sure that all work is referenced using the Harvard referencing system.  All submissions have to be uploaded to your dashboard
Take pride in your submission of assignments. Insert your name and page numbers on all your work.

Include    Tick when Completed
1st Assignment Title
Abstract
Introduction
Method
Results
Treatment of results
Discussion
Conclusion
Appendices

Your reflections – please upload this to your dashboard with your assignment.
Here are some pointers but please feel free to comment further:
Can you identify specific learning points? If so tell us about these.
Were the materials and assessment clear? If not, can you identify areas for improvement
Did the topic inspire you to further reading? Please share any relevant/interesting links

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