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Research Methods and Literature Review in Health and Social Care

Learning Outcome 1: Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the range of research method/s used in the student’s area/s of study.

Learning Outcome 1: Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the range of research method/s used in the student’s area/s of study. 
Learning Outcome 2: Demonstrate the ability to retrieve and appraise current research related to the students’ area (s) of study. 
Learning Outcome 3: Identify a health or social care related review topic, place this within the context of an established body of knowledge and develop a coherent research question. 
Learning Outcome 4: Demonstrate a critical understanding of the two main research methodologies and select the most appropriate of these to answer your chosen research question 

The work has a clear unambiguous Title. A narrowly defined & well focused review topic has been selected. (12 words maximum)    5
The Introduction includes a brief justification of why the review topic is important and outlines the contents of the assignment 150 words.     10
The literature search
The literature search is briefly described. This should give enough detail to allow another person to repeat the steps you took when you did your search – search terms used, data bases searched and results of each search. Give a list of your chosen studies using the Harvard System. 
At least 4 primary research studies are found that relate very closely to the topic chosen (as the source of the themes to be developed for this review). Literature reviews should not be included among your chosen studies.
The 4 chosen primary research studies should be submitted with the assignment otherwise we may not be able to mark your work. 
Between 3 and 6 themes developed from the findings / results sections of your 4 chosen studies ONLY. Themes will outline the main issues identified in the findings / results sections of your chosen studies and discuss these. 
New Research Needed: On the basis of your themes, identify any new research that is needed in your topic area. Outline these “gap/s in current academic knowledge”. 
On the basis of what you said in the last section, develop a research question that addresses one small piece of the new research that is needed. State this question simply, clearly and coherently. 
The two major methodologies are defined. A suitable methodology to answer your research question is identified & this choice is justified. Identify and discuss the population of interest, sampling strategy, sample size & method of data collection. This section will be Referenced using research methods texts.
Harvard referencing correctly used throughout. All articles and research studies included in this work should be referenced in the normal way. The reference list is organised in alphabetical order according to the family name of the first author.“et al” is used in the text only and only when there are 4 or more authors.
The assignment gives you the opportunity to identify a topic and to develop an overview of current academic knowledge (primary research studies) regarding this topic. 
You need to start with a clear, well focused and narrow review topic. 
You will have learnt the skills necessary to carry out an electronic search for up to date academic literature and research studies on your chosen topic. You should keep details of this search in order to give a brief description of this in an appendix to your work. You need to use electronic literature search skills to search the university data bases to find 4 academic, primary research studies to include in your review. 
There is no need to focus on the UK only. You may decide to focus on a topic of relevance to another country. You may also find that even though you want to focus on the UK you have to use studies from other developed countries and there are not 4 all on the same topic in the UK. All chosen studies should be in English language. Sometimes you may not be sure if articles you have found are primary research studies. Please check with your group leader. 
Your aim is to provide an overview of this area of academic knowledge, organised using a thematic approach – so that the most important issues about the topic are identified and discussed. The academic knowledge you identify in the themes should be based on the findings or results sections of the 4 primary research studies that you found during your electronic search. These issues should be used as headings in your review and you should cover material from your research studies in each Theme you have identified. This will result in a good overview of what is currently known about your chosen topic – based on your 4 chosen research studies. 
You then need to decide what is not currently known about your topic area – what new research still needs to be conducted? These are the ‘gaps in academic knowledge’. You will need to identify these gaps clearly in your review and decide which one you will ask a new research question about. The question should be clearly and coherently stated. 
Having decided on a research question you then need to design a research study to answer this question. Decide which of the two major research methodologies is most appropriate to use in answering your research question. This can be qualitative or quantitative, but not both. You need to briefly describe or define the 2 methodologies – qualitative and quantitative and decide which approach is best to use. 
You will then move on to the methods to be used in your new research study: What method of data collection will be used? Who will the participants be? What sampling strategy will be used and what sample size will be needed. This section should be supported by referencing some of the research methods texts recommended in your reading list. 

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