Course 2: Literature Review and Approaches and Techniques in Research (mandatory)

Modules Aim

  • Course 2 is designed to complement the content of Course 1.
  • It focusses on issues of choosing, engaging and justifying choices of research methods.
  • You will have the opportunity to discuss and think about what different methods can do, and arguably more importantly, what they cannot do for you.
  • This module gives you the underpinnings of knowledge to become a well-grounded researcher.


Fundamental of sources and forms of data

  • Including an overview of surveys, interviews and focus groups.
  • Semiotics and deconstruction of text.
  • Discover methods for deconstructing texts.

Creative practice

  • Qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Autoethnography.
  • Sampling and Bias.

Being a researcher and engaging with different communities

  • Characteristics and best practice.
  • Research communities.
  • Contribution to academic practice.

Scientific and experimental methods

  • Discuss as what is hypothesis-driven science. What is a hypothesis, and how does it differ from a theory and how does it fit in to the scientific method?
  • What are the advantages of the approach and, importantly, what are the disadvantages?
  • In-depth understanding of various data sources, observational methods, systematic analysis and interpretation of text.

Questionnaires and surveys

  • What is a survey?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of surveys.
  • Designing the questionnaire.
  • Sampling and respondent recruitment.
  • Data collection.
  • Sources of survey error.

Interviews and focus groups

  • What is qualitative research?
  • Data collection.
  • Method design.
  • Transcription.
  • Data analysis (specific to interviews and focus groups).
  • Critique, evaluation and writing.
  • Reflection and reflexivity

Case studies

Time and location

Working with mixed methods

  • Overview of mixed methods.
  • The advantages and disadvantages.
  • Mixed methods design.

Analysing and evaluate qualitative research

  • Using Media framing – A form of textual analysis – the stages including: Position – where something is located, composition – the defining features, and intertextual relations – how a text relates to other texts.
  • Ethnography.
  • Interviews.
  • Focus groups.
  • Document research (Often in combination with each other or with quantitative analysis)

Analysing and evaluate quantitative research

Including an overview of:

  • Sampling.
  • Variables & measuring.
  • Cross-sectional, time series and panel data.
  • Descriptive, inferential statistics and multivariate regression.
  • Measuring variability – for example standard deviation.
  • t-test, ANOVA and MANOVA, regression analysis

Indicative Module Content

This module covers the essentials of data-driven research, starting with the basics of data sources and types. It delves into the art of analyzing and interpreting complex texts, visuals, and symbols, with a keen eye on cultural and contextual nuances. Students will explore interdisciplinary methods, combining creative research techniques with critical thinking and theoretical insights. The course emphasizes thorough documentation, audience awareness, and the art of innovation.

Key focuses include minimizing bias, ensuring reliability, and upholding the credibility of research. Students will engage in community-based and cross-cultural research, learning to prioritize community needs and navigate digital research spaces. Research design forms a core component, teaching hypothesis formulation and testing, statistical analysis, and the integration of diverse methodologies.

The module also explores survey design and execution, highlighting the importance of crafting clear, unbiased questions and selecting representative samples. It addresses potential sources of error and emphasizes ethical considerations in research.

Students will learn to blend qualitative and quantitative methods, exploring thematic, content, comparative, and discourse analysis, among other techniques.

The course concludes with a comprehensive look at data visualization, reliability and validity analysis, regression, and factor analysis, equipping students with a robust toolkit for effective research.

Summary of Course 2

Literature Review and Approaches and Techniques in Research

Theories and concepts will shape your research. Literature review is all about the search for patterns. Developing your review takes effort. This module focuses on the selection, application, and rationale behind research methods. It provides an in-depth understanding of various data sources, observational methods, systematic analysis, and interpretation of texts. The course also covers community-based and cross-cultural research, survey design, quantitative methods, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative components in mixed-methods research.


Course 2 Assessment


You will write an essay for the exam. You can choose from these options:


Write an essay of approximately 5,000 words that contextualises the choice, possible design and implementation of one or more research method(s) in relation to your research. In all cases you should draw on relevant reading and reflect critically on your role as a researcher.


In consultation with your supervisors, choose up to two published journal articles that engage with methods and methodology in your area of study. Carry out a critical appraisal of approximately 5,000 words that identifies both positive and negative aspects of the approach used in the paper(s) and discusses issues of objectivity in relation to the broader aims of the paper(s).


In an essay of approximately 5,000 words, select a method which you envisage you are going to use to construct an artistic or engineering artefact and portray its possible advantages and pitfalls for your research process.

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michael lister

Prof. Dr. Michael Lister


Prof. Dr. Jürgen Polke