Course at a glance


Good research skills are essential in order to conduct research that is ethical and well documented using appropriate sources and references. This course will helps students to learn how to research effectively, which requires methodological discipline as important as the content. Step-by-step support with examples and activities will be given to enable to become proficient and practiced researchers. Researchers are expected to justify, explain and argue their choice of research methodologies and explain why it suits their research aims and objectives. There is an expectation that when conducting research, it will be trial and error in that methods will be tried out, adapted, developed and even totally changed as the study progresses.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above before enrolling into our Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma course.

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Course Study Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit.


Optional coursework and final examination.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Course Length

1 Year.

Endorsed By

Students at the college have the option to choose the awarding body of their course.

This course has been endorsed by :

Quality Licence Scheme:


Accord :

This courses’ awarding bodies are recognised for their high-quality, non-regulated provision and training programmes. This course is not regulated by Ofqual and is not an accredited qualification. Your training provider will be able to advise you on any further recognition, for example progression routes into further and/or higher education. For further information please visit Quality Licence Scheme website or Accord website

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Course Content

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module One – Introduction to Postgraduate Research

Research is defined as conducting a systematic, active and diligent enquiry-based study. It provides the foundation in terms of understanding how postgraduate research is conducted. An early introduction to the wide and varying methods and techniques employed, what works or are problematic is given. The quality expected from both University and Research Institutions in conducting field research programmes best suited to individual cases is given. The course covers every area in detail to complete the research and help write a well formatted and detailed research report within the required word limit, containing a hypothesis, abstract, introduction, method, findings and results, discussion and conclusion with an up to date bibliography and reference section.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Two – Conducting Quantitative Research

There are two main methods used in research, often in conjunction with each other. The use of statistical and mathematics is referred to as quantitative (as opposed to qualitative) research. The two methods are compared and their historic development seen. Quantitative research is a method of study that aims to quantify attitudes or behaviours, measure variables on which they hinge, compare, and point out correlations. It is most often conducted via a survey on a sampling that must be representative so that the results can be extrapolated to the entire population studied. It requires the development of standardised and codifiable measurement instruments (structured questionnaires) which are nowadays analysed via suitable computer models. Measurable data is gathered from a wide range of sources, and it is the analysis and interpretation of the relationships across this data that gives patterns or trend information to support or negate an hypothesis. These data are collected using numbers, perhaps through answers to questionnaires. The numbers are then examined using statistical tests to see if the results have happened by chance.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Three – Conducting Qualitative Research

Pure research methods need to allow points of view and openness to be included. Such research that gathers information, which is varied, in-depth and rich is time-consuming to obtain. The information required is about how something is experienced and not specifically about facts and figures, though the number of people interviewed and their statistics like age, profession is also collected and useful from a quantitative perspective. Information from qualitative research is often more difficult to interpret, partly because it cannot be ‘measured’. The emphasis is on the quality and depth of information. The data might be collected in the form of in-depth interviews with individuals or in a group, typically known as “focus groups.” It most often deals with a restricted sample of individuals that does not necessarily need to be representative. It may be the preliminary phase of a quantitative study such as a pilot study or a stand-alone research e.g. case study research.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Four – Conducting Empirical Research

Empirical Research bases its findings on direct or indirect observation on a phenomena or a specific research question e.g. observing a sample of pupils in a classroom to measure how they behave after lunch. A hypothesis is formed, and results gathered and analysed from real life experience are then compared to this. Such research may also be conducted according to hypotheticodeductive procedures, such as those developed from the work of R. A. Fisher. The researcher attempts to describe accurately the interaction between the instrument (which may be as simple as the human eye) and the sample being observed. If instrumentation is involved, the researcher is expected to calibrate her/his instrument by applying it to known standard objects and documenting the results before applying it to unknown objects. In practice, the study should be able to be re-created or generalised to apply to a larger sample. Several typographies for such designs have been suggested, one of the most popular of which comes from Campbell and Stanley (1963). They are responsible for popularizing the widely cited distinction among pre-experimental, experimental, and quasiexperimental designs and are staunch advocates of the central role of randomized experiments in educational research.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Five – Conducting Case Study Research

A case study is a particular method of qualitative research useful for generating (rather than testing) a hypothesis, for example historic examples include the study of tribal groups, and more recent examples in social sciences and management, include Nurses in one hospital or 15 year old teenagers, health of retired men in a Welsh mining village (detailed examples are given). Rather than using large samples and following a rigid protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or event: a case. They provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting the results. As a result the researcher may gain a sharpened understanding of why the instance happened as it did, and what might become important to look at more extensively in future research.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Six – Basic and Applied Research

Basic research (also called fundamental or pure research) has as its primary objective the advancement of knowledge through the formulation of a theory. It is exploratory, often asks why and how questions and often driven by the researcher’s curiosity, interest, or hunch. It is conducted without any practical end in mind, although it may have unexpected results pointing to practical or applied applications. As there is no guarantee of short-term practical gain, researchers often find it difficult to obtain funding for basic research. Research is a subset of invention. Examples of questions asked in basic research: How did the universe begin or how do slime moulds reproduce?

Basic research is often a foundation for Applied Research – Applied research is done to solve specific and practical questions. It can be exploratory, but is usually descriptive. Some examples are: How can Canada’s wheat crops be protected from grasshoppers? How can communication among workers in large companies be improved? At times the division is not so clear between different types of studies.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Seven – Evaluative Research

The main aim of good and ethical research is to add to knowledge. How can whether it does this be measured and monitored? The purpose of evaluative research is to gather data to make decisions about the effectiveness or desirability or measure the impact of a program or a practice. Funders will often expect such questions to be asked about how their research money is spent, did the performance meet the aims and judges the worth of a program and/ or if it produced effectiveness and this is called summative evaluation. At times, an independent or external evaluator may be used, or students conduct formative evaluation by presenting initial, mid-term and final findings to their peer group or at a conference and make themself open to critical questioning and comments.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Eight – Glossary of Research Methods and Techniques

A detailed list of sources and references are given to produce a glossary of the different approaches to conducting each stage of postgraduate research. This list is fairly comprehensive and is provided to give greater depth and detail about every topic with the field of researcher in higher studies.

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Nine – Conducting Research on the Internet

The Internet provides access to a wealth of information on countless topics contributed by people throughout the world. The Internet is a self-publishing medium. This means that anyone with little or no technical skills and access to a host computer can publish on the Internet. It is important to remember this when you locate sites in the course of your research. Internet sites change over time according to commitment, and can be out-of-date or can be removed. Some sites demonstrate an expert’s knowledge, while others are amateur efforts containing unproven assertions. As with any information resource, it is important to evaluate what you find on the Internet. One of the most efficient ways of conducting research on the Internet is to use the World Wide Web search engines. Since the Web includes most Internet protocols, it offers access to a great deal of what is available on the Internet. It can also be used to share and develop ideas, collaborate, or used just to talk when research becomes lonely by using forums or emailing contacts or receiving email alerts and newsletters from professional bodies and expert sites. Access to IT and computers has made writing the research report, communication and checking drafts much easier than 30 years ago when there was no available email or computers!

Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma Module Ten – Research in Commerce and Industry

There is a growing field in conducting research for the social sciences. Another use of conducting research in a business setting is examined. Here the research is organised, systematic and used to find defined answers to questions. This unit will provide opportunity to look at a variety of different business settings, the role of major international research firms, and the role in which research plays a key component in the business. A brief summary of what each industry does and any available opportunities for graduates is given, however this can be researched further.


This Level 3 Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma course can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.