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Overview and Research Study Design on a Chosen Topic

Thematic Approach to Academic Knowledge

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. 


Make sure your 4 primary research studies are uploaded to canvas. We need these studies uploaded to be able to mark your work. Feedback will be provided on canvas.

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