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Science & Research

Postgraduate Research Techniques Diploma

This Quality Assured Level 3 Diploma course is aimed at providing the necessary instruction for those students who wish to obtain a postgraduate level of study in conducting research.
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Level 3 / ABC Awards / ODL87

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over 12 months and £ deposit

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Course summary

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Course support

12 months expert tutor support

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24 hour access

Immediate start

qualification

Accreditation

Fully accredited course

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Awarding body

ABC Awards

Course introduction

This Diploma will be of much benefit to students looking to complete a PhD where collecting and analysing research plays a very important role.

The course will be of particular benefit to graduates who are contemplating continuing their studies into postgraduate research and wish to obtain a solid foundation in the methods and techniques for conducting research. The course will also appeal to anyone who has an occupation where research is considered a vital part of that job function.

Materials can be studied online or students have the option to have the materials delivered for an additional charge.

The course ends with an online examination once the student has studied all ten modules.

Course Content:

Module One - Introduction to Postgraduate Research

Provides the foundation in terms of understanding how postgraduate research is conducted, an early introduction to the varying methods and techniques employed and quality expectations from both University and Research Institutions in conducting field research programmes.

Module Two - Conducting Quantitative Research

A study that aims to quantify attitudes or behaviors, 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). Deals with facts, figures and measurements, and produces data which can be readily analysed. 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 the information researchers are looking for. 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.

Module Three - Conducting Qualitative Research

Research that gathers information, which is varied, in depth and rich. The information sought is about how something is experienced and not specifically about facts and figures. 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. These data might be collected in the form of in-depth interviews with participants. In addition, An exploratory study (to explore an unknown sector, identify the main dimensions of a problem, draw assumptions, understand motivations) or operational study based on in depth analysis of interviewee responses (in a group or individually), typically in what's 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 or stand alone research.

Module Four - Conducting Empirical Research

Empirical Research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. 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 entity 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 accumulation of evidence for or against any particular theory involves planned research designs for the collection of empirical data. 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.

Module Five - Conducting Case Study Research

A case study is a particular method of qualitative research. 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. Case studies lend themselves especially to generating (rather than testing) hypotheses.

Module Six - Basic and Applied Research

Basic Research Basic research (also called fundamental or pure research) has as its primary objective the advancement of knowledge and the theoretical understanding of the relations among variables (see statistics). It is exploratory 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 applications. The terms "basic" or "fundamental" indicate that, through theory generation, basic research provides the foundation for further, sometimes applied research. 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:

  • Does string theory provide physics with a grand unification theory?
  • Which aspects of genomes explain organismal complexity?
  • How can computational methods be efficiently applied to larger and larger molecular systems?

Applied Research - Applied research is done to solve specific, practical questions; its primary aim is not to gain knowledge for its own sake. It can be exploratory, but is usually descriptive. It is almost always done on the basis of basic research. Applied research can be carried out by academic or industrial institutions. Often, an academic institution such as a university will have a specific applied research program funded by an industrial partner interested in that program. Common areas of applied research include electronics, informatics, computer science, process engineering, and drug design. Examples of question asked in applied research:

  • How can Canada's wheat crops be protected from grasshoppers?
  • What is the most efficient and effective vaccine against influenza?
  • How can communication among workers in large companies be improved?
  • How can the Great Lakes be protected against the effects of greenhouse gas?

There are many instances when the distinction between basic and applied research is not clear. It is not unusual for researchers to present their project in such a light as to 'slot' it into either applied or basic research, depending on the requirements of the funding sources. The question of genetic codes is a good example. Unraveling it for the sake of knowledge alone would be basic research - but what, for example, if knowledge of it also has the benefit of making it possible to alter the code so as to make a plant commercially viable? Some say that the difference between basic and applied research lies in the time span between research and reasonably foreseeable practical applications.

Module Seven - Evaluative Research

The purpose of evaluative research is to gather data to make decisions about the effectiveness or desirability of a program or a practice.

Module Eight - Glossary of Research Methods and Techniques

Glossary of the many different approaches to conducting postgraduate research. This list is fairly comprehensive and is provided for those students that require to go to the next level of detail in this subject matter.

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. On the Internet, a user has access to a wide variety of services: vast information sources, electronic mail, file transfer, interest group membership, interactive collaboration, multimedia displays, and more. The Internet consists primarily of a variety of access protocols. These include e-mail, FTP, HTTP, Telnet, and Usenet news. Many of these protocols feature programs that allow users to search for and retrieve material made available by the protocol. For background information on Internet access protocols, see A Basic Guide to the Internet.

The Internet is not a library in which all its available items are identified and can be retrieved by a single catalog. In fact, no one knows how many individual files reside on the Internet. The number runs into a few billion and is growing at a rapid pace. The Internet is a self-publishing medium. This means that anyone with little or now 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 the commitment and inclination of the creator. Some sites demonstrate an expert's knowledge, while others are amateur efforts. Some may be updated daily, while others may be outdated. As with any information resource, it is important to evaluate what you find on the Internet. For more information, see Evaluating Internet Resources. Also be aware that the addresses of Internet sites frequently change. Web sites can disappear altogether. Do not expect stability on the Internet. One of the most efficient ways of conducting research on the Internet is to use the World Wide Web. Since the Web includes most Internet protocols, it offers access to a great deal of what is available on the Internet.

Module Ten - Research in Commerce and Industry

An examination of conducting research in a business setting. This unit will look at a variety of different business settings and the role in which research plays a key component in the business.

Required knowledge

No previous knowledge or experience is essential to study this course.

Assessment

Final online multiple choice examination counts for 100% of the final grade. Throughout the course there are ten SAPs (coursework) and a thesis. The course clearly states that this is not mandatory to complete as it has no bearing on the final grade. We do suggest that students complete these as this will not only assist them in examination preparation but also will give the student the skill set should they wish to continue their studies (continuous professional development) at a higher level.

Awarding organisation

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from ABC Awards and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units the learner has completed as part of the course). 

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. 

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

 The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners’ and/or employers’ requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. ABC Awards endorsement involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

Course units

Module 1: Introduction to Postgraduate Research
Module 2: Conducting Quantitative Research
Module 3: Conducting Qualitative Research
Module 4: Conducting Empirical Research
Module 5: Conducting Case Study Research
Module 6: Basic and Applied Research
Module 7: Evaluative Research
Module 8: Glossary of Research Methods and Techniques
Module 9: Conducting Research on the Internet
Module 10: Research in Commerce and Industry

Learner support

12 Months Tutor Support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.

FAQs

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and, therefore, you can study anytime, any place, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a full-time job, or other commitments, that won’t allow them time off to study.

What do I need to do to get started on a course?

You need to be able to commit your time to the course. To help you understand the commitment needed, each of the course descriptions estimates the amount of time it will take you to complete the course. This is based on an average study period of approximately 10 hours per week.

It is best to choose a course you think will interest you, and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, please call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy Now’ option against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone or by post, call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

How does the distance learning/home study method work?

The course operates through a study pack and access to your own personal tutor. Once you have chosen your course we will send you your study pack, which you will be required to work through before completing the course.

Depending on the course you have chosen, you will either be required to complete assignments and submit these for marking as the course progresses and/or be required to sit an end exam. The end exam could be in the form of multiple choice questions, or be an invigilated exam at a registered test centre.

Your completed assignments will need to be sent to your tutor for marking/assessment, you will then receive written feedback and guidance. It may be possible to submit your assignments by email, however you will need to check this with your tutor. Please be aware that your assignments will be maintained by NCCHL for moderation and audit purposes.

These requirements will always be listed on the course description page, so please refer to this for details of what is required for each individual course.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from six weeks to nine months to complete your course.

The duration of the course is largely down to you though. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

How quickly will I receive my course material?

We guarantee that you will receive your course materials within 5 days of purchase, but for many courses we would anticipate that you will have to wait no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study pack within our stated period.

How much will it cost?

The cost is largely dependent on the size of the course. The longer the course is the higher the cost will be, due to the size of the study pack and the nature of the qualification.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that postage and packaging is charged in addition to the course price.

What support will I receive?

You will be allocated your own personal tutor who can be contacted via e-mail, telephone, fax or post for help and advice on any aspect of the course.

Many courses require that you submit work to your tutor during the period of study and your tutor will assess your work and pass comments back to you. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please be aware that officially the tutor support provided with the course is for a period of 12 months, although if you need longer let us know and we’ll endeavour to extend that.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit an invigilated exam at a registered test centre. You will need to organise the examination yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be included in your study pack.

The details of what sort of exam/assignment (if any) is required for a course will be stated on the course description page, so please check these for full details.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Yes, there are no geographical limits to where you can study.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows. But we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is though that if your circumstances change you can always take a break and come back to your studies.

Additionally, discounts are available if you buy more than one course at the same time.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 12 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

No, we provide everything you need to pass your course.

How do I enrol?

Once you have chosen your course, you can either purchase the course online which will enrol you, or you can call our helpline on 0333 3445 690 who will sign you up for the course and arrange to have all your learning materials sent to you.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you can simply return the goods within 14 days and we will send your money back in full for the majority of courses (excluding postage and packaging) or you can choose another course that you feel would suit your needs and ambitions better.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Our online courses are completed through our online learning system after receiving login and access instructions. You will not receive any course materials through the post. The paper based version is posted out in a binder to your home or place of work and requires completion of a portfolio of work that is submitted to your tutor for marking.

Where can I find your Equality and Diversity Policy?

All NCC policies and procedures can be provided on request from NCC directly by emailing enquiries@ncchomelearning.co.uk or calling 0333 3445 690.

Can reasonable adjustments be made to help reduce the effects of a disability or difficulty that may place me at a disadvantage?

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the candidate at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

Changing standard assessment arrangements, for example allowing candidates extra time to complete the assessment activity Adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in Braille Providing access facilitators during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or a reader Re-organising the assessment room, such as removing visual stimuli for an autistic candidate.

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the candidate access to the assessment activity. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a candidate’s work.

Awarding organisations and centres are only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment. Other factors, such as the need to maintain competence standards and health and safety, will also be taken into consideration.

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