IVLE Training Jan 2015
2014/2015, Semester 2
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (Nursing/Alice Lee Ctr for Nursing Stud)
Modular Credits: --
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
This module seeks to help students develop the capacity to engage in research, as part of the preparation for projects, research papers, and Honours Theses. The broad components of research that we will be concerned with are:
finding a worthwhile topic to work on; clarifying and refining it into a research question/problem that lends itself to investigation within the available time and resources.
finding an answer/solution to the research question/problem, using methodological strategies appropriate to it. If the outcome of research is a set of statements (as in pure research), it involves formulating the answers/solutions as research claims.
testing and critically evaluating the research output. In the case of research claims, this involves providing justification in support of the claim sufficient to convince the skeptical experts in the field.
communicating all of the above, clearly, precisely, and persuasively, through oral or written presentation, using appropriate rhetorical strategies and conventions.
Must have completed at least 80 MCs including a minimum of 28 MCs in XXXX.
The module will be taught as a seminar: the activity of “lecturing” will be interspersed with dialogues and discussions between students and teacher, and among students.
Purpose of inquiry:
understanding and/or action (‘pure’ and ‘applied’ inquiry; descriptive and normative inquiry);
Grounds of inquiry:
ways of gathering evidence that sheds light on the question and provides the grounds on the basis of which research claims are justified (experimentation, text analysis, interviews, ethnography, case studies, surveys, and so on.); types of grounds not treated as evidence per se; issues of ‘subjectivity’
Reasoning from grounds to conclusions:
ways of arriving at and justifying generalizations (issues of representativeness, validity, and reliability; statistical and qualitative reasoning from samples to populations) ways of arriving at and justifying interpretations/analyses, and theories; classical and non-classical modes of reasoning;
Types of research claims:
observations, generalizations, interpretations and theories (theoretical frameworks, laws and models); normative and descriptive claims; claims of truth, usefulness, and morality.
Norms and standards of justification/proof/argumentation:
certainty beyond doubt and beyond reasonable doubt; degrees of stringency in standards of justification, responding to objections; presumptions and burden of proof;
the appropriateness of the mode of inquiry to the object of inquiry being investigated; paradigms of inquiry (a paradigm being a set of foundational assumptions of inquiry that cannot be independently justified, unlike the claims of theories and interpretations);
ongoing reading to initiate and clarify questions and to guide investigation; using indices and tables of contents; web searches; asking experienced people for help.
Continuous assessment (class tests and projects): 70%
Final examination (open book): 30%
Class sessions: 3 hours per week
Preparation and assessment tasks: 9.5 hours per week
TEXT & READINGS
The primary reading for this module will be the class notes provided in class, plus the material in the web module on Academic Knowledge and Inquiry at http://wiki.nus.edu.sg/display/aki/
You may consult the following as optional supplementary reading.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb & Joseph M. Williams (1995) The Craft of Research, The University of Chicago Press
McNeill, Patrick (1990) Research Methods, Routledge.
Kirk, Jerome & Marc L, Miller (1986) Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research, Sage publications
Rowntree, Derek (1981) Statistics without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians, Macmillan
Medawar, Peter B. (1979) Advice to a Young Scientist, Basic Books.
Introduction to research methods
Burns, Robert B