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The University of Southampton

TRAN6011 Research Skills 2

Module Overview

This module builds on the topics covered in Research Skills 1. The main purpose is to help you prepare your dissertation, including the oral presentation that forms part of its assessment. The emphasis is thus on skills required for a formal public oral presentation and for writing a dissertation on any topic within the scope of the programme (processing, analysing, and evaluating theoretical frameworks and research methods; formulating research questions; articulating and organising ideas; developing and structuring an argument; processing, analysing and evaluating research sources; bibliographical skills; presentation and editing). Particular attention will be paid to helping you develop the ability to evaluate and revise your own work. Other skills (such as the gathering, processing, and analysis of archival and linguistic data) may also be covered, depending on your dissertation topic. Attention will be given to making you sensitive to the dynamics of collaborative research as well as of the requirements of individual research. This module also helps to prepare you for the next stage in your career, whether you are continuing with postgraduate study at the MPhil and/or PhD level, or entering employment. You will learn to identify your intellectual and practical strengths so that you can maximize their potential.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the principles of research design;
  • research approaches relevant to your area of special academic interest;
  • the skills and techniques required to conduct projects operating within these different approaches;
  • the relationship between your proposed dissertation topic and the theoretical environment in which it is to be situated;
  • what constitutes original research at this level;
  • group dynamics as well as what is involved in individual research.
  • the limits of objectivity and the ways in which researchers access other people’s world views
  • ethical issues in human studies
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • give an oral presentation in public;
  • assess the relative merits of different approaches to the design and implementation of research projects;
  • communicate a coherent and convincing research proposal in written form and in an oral presentation;
  • write in an appropriate academic manner by following scholarly norms of organization, citation, and rhetorical presentation (proper diction and style);
  • evaluate and revise your own work;
  • demonstrate a capacity for self-directed problem-solving, independent working, and autonomous time-management.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • (where appropriate) demonstrate the ability to use qualitative methods (such as interviewing, recording, and transcribing data) and appropriate software for analysing data;
  • demonstrate your interpersonal skills
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop and articulate an intellectual agenda for your dissertation;
  • recognise contested views and the basis upon which they are made;
  • make connections between ideas advanced in different sources;
  • structure your ideas in a clear and coherent manner
  • evaluate your intellectual and practical strengths.


This module aims to consolidate the research skills introduced in Research Skills 1. It will: 1) Enhance your ability to assess and use research sources and methods 2) Develop your ability to formulate theoretical and empirical arguments in both oral and written form 3) Hone your skills in giving formal oral presentations, leading group discussions and contributing to debate by asking informed questions 4) Provide academic training in how to formulate, conceptualise, plan, prepare, and present a sustained written argument (the dissertation). In particular, how to: a. Formulate research questions b. Develop a research proposal c. Select appropriate theoretical or conceptual frameworks d. Apply and refine appropriate research methodologies e. Elaborate an analytical argument f. Make an original contribution to knowledge (empirical, theoretical, or methodological) g. Identify and address problems you confront in research and writing h. Write clearly and in an appropriate style i. Organise evidence j. Use academic referencing (citations, footnotes, bibliography) k. Refine your task and time management l. Edit and revise your work

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • tutor-led seminars • student-led discussions • department and university seminars Learning activities include • preparing and delivering oral presentations • participating in department and university seminars • preparing written and oral assignments • applying methods • (where appropriate) participating in collaborative research endeavours

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bruffee, KA (1999). Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge. 

Blaxter, B, Hughes, C & Tight, M (1996). How To Research. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  regular feedback and guidance in weekly seminars and workshops  feedback on oral presentations


MethodPercentage contribution
Annotated bibliography  (1500 words) 30%
Dissertation proposal  (1500 words) 25%
Oral presentation 20%
Oral presentation 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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