● In this assessment, students are expected to complete an exercise in which they propose a research study designed to compare and contrast the performance of two university courses. The aim of this assignment is to identify a problem (e.g., poor course performance in student satisfaction as measured on the National Student Survey or employability after graduation, etc.), identify possible hypotheses for the causes of this problem; develop a research design to identify how information for these causes could be obtained; identify potential problems in the research design and how they would be overcome; summarise the ethics procedure; critically evaluate this proposal in terms of its strengths and limitations.
● Using data found online, students will analyse the performance of both courses and propose a research study for how to further investigate the different performances of these courses using a qualitative research design.
● The two courses that are compared should ideally be the same kind of course at two different universities OR they could be different courses at the same university. You should avoid comparing two different types of courses and two different universities unless you have a compelling case for why that comparison is interesting and important.

● The length of the submission 1,000 words
● Details of assessment

Background and research objectives
i. Provide some summary statistics from DiscoverUni
(discoveruni.gov.uk) to identify the two courses you are interested in comparing. This sets out the context for your comparison.
ii. What is the problem you are going to address – why is it important and for whom?
iii. Which course is performing well, on which measure, and why?
iv. Which course is performing less well and why?
v. What are the consequences of not knowing? Who cares/so what?

Literature review and theory
i. Here you would be expected to review the literature that would lead to ways of addressing the problem you have identified, depending on whether the research confirmed these.
ii. What is already known about the topic?
iii. What are some of the existing theories and concepts on the topic?

What qualitative methodology would you use?
iv. Here you are only expected to provide a research design of how you would conduct a project to address this issue. You do not have to conduct the research, you just need to show you know how to do it.
v. Interviews – with whom and about what?
vi. Focus groups? Observation methods? Other?
vii. Outline and explain how you would design your research.
viii. Are there any costs involved, and how much do you estimate these would cost? Who would fund the research?

Ethical review
i. What procedures exist at Sussex University and what would you need to complete to gain ethical approval for your proposed project? http://www.sussex.ac.uk/staff/research/governance/erp_overview

ii. Supply a draft consent form; an interview schedule if being used; and information sheet for your research proposal.

i. Explain your choice of methods and the strengths and weaknesses of these.
ii. Do you anticipate any problems, or resistance that may arise? How would you deal with them?
iii. What kind of solutions do you think your research will feed into?

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