Research Planning

Course content

This course requires students to prepare a proposal for a research study, typically within natural resource management, and potentially for a dissertation. Working on the research proposal in pairs is possible. The proposal must incorporate a literature review, a clear statement of hypotheses or questions to be addressed, an outline of the methods to be used and an assessment of any risks and ethical issues involved. Identification and assessment of risk and ethical issues is an essential feature designed to ensure that projects are carried out safely and with due regard for others and the environment. The review is expected to contain a critical appraisal of the assembled material and to be produced to journal standard. The values of scholarship are addressed through evaluation of published scientific literature and student peer review of proposal drafts produced during the course. Students working on similar topics may be organised in thematic groups. Support from a disciplinary supervisor is an advantage, as is identification of a topic area prior to the course.

Education

MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Forest Ecosystems, Nature and Society (SUFONAMA)
MSc Programme in Forest and Livelihoods (SUTROFOR)
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to provide tools for, and experience with, systematic design of research projects. Presentations mainly use examples from research within natural and social science aspects of natural resources management, but the principles apply generally. An additional important aim is inculcation of the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open mindedness, evidence-based thinking, and collegiality.

After completing the course the students should be able to:

Knowledge:
Reflect on the quality of research design.

Argue cogently and think critically within the parameters of a particular academic discipline.

Skills:
Apply principles for good research design, including critical discussion of literature and problem identification, development of hypotheses and research questions, determination of data requirements, and selection of appropriate methods.

Reflect on risks and ethical issues in relation to project implementation.

Competencies:
Demonstrate independent learning skills necessary for the foundation of lifelong learning.

Tackle scientific problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively.

Display the competencies, key skills, behaviour and attitudes in relation to individual and group work required in a professional working life.

Blended learning combining e-learning and class-room activities. E-learning is centered around internet-based teaching modules and online exercises. Class-room sessions will be used to: discuss the reading material, provide a thorough understanding of concepts through theoretical exercises and provide space for critical peer discussion of student work and development of constructive comments.

Specific activities include: introduction to course; formulation of individual research problems; presentation of research design principles; online exercises; formation of thematic groups; student peer review; reflection on learning.

General texts are included in the online course compendium. Each student will develop his/her own course literature list according to the subject chosen for investigation.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
The following will be assessed: (i) on-line activities throughout the course 35%, (ii) three student peer reviews 15%, and (iii) a written assignment submitted at the end of the course 50%. The grade is to be set as a weighted average of the results from the part-examinations.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the mark 12 the student must demonstrate to have obtained the skills, knowledge and competencies described in the Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 5
  • E-Learning
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 65
  • Lectures
  • 0
  • Colloquia
  • 20
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Project work
  • 74
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • English
  • 206