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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding Research Methods by University of London

5,381 ratings
1,774 reviews

About the Course

This MOOC is about demystifying research and research methods. It will outline the fundamentals of doing research, aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at the postgraduate level. It places the student experience at the centre of our endeavours by engaging learners in a range of robust and challenging discussions and exercises befitting SOAS, University of London's status as a research-intensive university and its rich research heritage. The course will appeal to those of you who require an understanding of research approaches and skills, and importantly an ability to deploy them in your studies or in your professional lives. In particular, this course will aid those of you who have to conduct research as part of your postgraduate studies but do not perhaps have access to research methods courses, or for those of you who feel you would like additional support for self-improvement. No prior knowledge or experience in research is required to take this course and as such, the course is for everyone. This MOOC draws on a wealth of existing course material developed to support research training across SOAS, University of London and particularly drawing from the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD). In 2015, the course was nominated for the prestigious Guardian University Award for its innovative approach to online learning. Participation in or completion of this online course will not confer academic credit for University of London programmes...

Top reviews

Jul 26, 2017

This is wonderful course especially for research scholars, one suggestion is instead of giving articles from books, please provide a PPT which will be more effective ! thank you for wonderful session.

Sep 9, 2019

very good course. The last e-activity was proposal preparation. It will be good if they add something about sampling in reading materials. Very good experience for me.....I will recommend this course

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1626 - 1650 of 1,764 Reviews for Understanding Research Methods

By Mostofa K

Jul 18, 2020


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Jun 10, 2020


By Ankit G

May 27, 2020


By Ismail O

Nov 14, 2019


By Erick C

Apr 2, 2017


By Dr. V S

Oct 4, 2021


By Emily W

Nov 29, 2020

I wanted to give this course 5 stars because the content is really good, all the reading materials were incredibly useful and I enjoyed the videos and was able to take a lot from them. Unfortunately the forums aren't used as discussion forums - instead of any discussion about the materials there are just streams of requests for people to review submissions, which shouldn't be needed as the course is structured so that each time you make one submission you review three others, also because the e-tivities are only peer reviewed the quality and usefulness of the feedback is mostly not good, out of 4 submissions I have had 10 peer reviews so far and only one of them followed the advice to focus on what was good (but didn't give any suggestions for improvement) and the rest have either been single word responses (eg 'good' or 'fantastic'), despite the recommendation being at least 50 words, some had simply given information about tangentially related topics (a bunch of data about elementary school reading interventions, and a summary of some of the information from one of the other articles which I hadn't been responding to as the task clearly and in bold stated 'or'). This lack of meaningful interaction with anyone left me feeling disheartened and that I was working in a void. I think the moderators should be keeping the discussion forums on track, and that some feedback from the course teachers, even if only for the last submission would make a big difference. I didn't but the certificate because I didn't think that the assessment method for the course was rigourous enough to confer any value to having passed.

By Stuart S

Nov 12, 2020

I think there should have been better descriptions of the assignments and better controls over the work product of students (some of which was extremely weak)

also, the coursework regarding the Research Approach and relation of Designs and Methods was clunky:

it should have started with the Problem Identification (not just through literature review, but trends and current problems), then researcher dynamics, their personal experiences, resources available, etc, and the audience and the purpose of the project. After the stage has been set:

Researcher - Worldview, experience, capabilities, resources

Situation - audience, purpose, attributes, time availability

Project Determination - research Problem identification (Literature Review, Trends in Social and behavioral information, economic background and current issues) - Research Problem

Establish the Research Question - Why is it important, who it impacts, what is the implication from determining an answer, its utility and impact on knowledge, along with research ability and time. Time should be spent on refining the specific question, based on research ability

Research Approach - more clearly state the identification of the overall approach, why is it important to establish Qual v Quant v Mixed, and clearly establish

Research Design - How a design fits into the overall "Approach" (an Approach implies certain designs be used, why and how)

Research Methods - these should be stated and communicated as the specific execution Research Procedures

the course needs to be reordered starting with the high level first and then getting more granular

By Anders L

Jan 16, 2021

I do not recall reading anywhere what level this course is intended for so if I missed that information, I apologize. I signed up for this course as I am interested in (graduate level) research, as indicated in my discussions around PhD work, and I believed this course would be helpful in decemenating other academic works I will read in the future. I have completed graduate level work in Research Designs & Methodology so I suspect this course was not intended for people such as myself. I enjoyed the refresher though, and I will definitely be revisiting the three chapters on Literature Reviews, as this was not an aspect that was covered very thoroughly in my graduate course and would make up a LARGE portion of any work on a PhD thesis.

As for this course specifically, I found some of the video segments very repetitive - several times the researchers interviewed appeared to deliver nearly identical messages. These video segments were rather short but I found some of them redundant. I did enjoy the written assignments, except for the one, I believe in week 3, for which the assignment called for us to "respond to" Creswell, without ANY further details on what the response was intended to detail. I would strongly urge you to make this piece clearer for the future. Overall, I believe this course to be a very good introductory course to research methods.

By Catherinne J F

May 29, 2020

Very good in some ways, very poor in others, so a three.

I learned a lot. I did the reading, I did the exercises and read around the topic. So from my point of view worthwhile. On the other hand I kept getting requests to pay £39 pounds for a certificate. Why not, it presumably says that you have completed a University of London course, which has to be a good thing. I don't need a certificate, as I'm taking the course for my own personal study needs.

However, it became obvious to me that many other people were cheating . It's not difficult at all and I suspect many people paying for the certificate have done little or no work at all. This means that the certificate is completely devalued. I was disappointed that both Coursera and the University of London (which is where both my degree and PGCE certificate are from) are prepared to put their names to something so valueless.

It was clear that there were other people who, like me, were using the course to learn - I learned a lot from reading their submissions, but I wonder how disappointed those people must feel knowing that others are failing to do the work.

By Mark D S

Aug 11, 2020

Good and Bad. The course content is really basic, and I wish it went into greater depth and detail. For instance, the videos, instead of actually giving you an idea of HOW to do a literature review, just have researchers talking about the importance of a literature review, over and over. The videos weren't helpful at all. The course materials WERE a good source of information, however. If you are a self-starter, you'll get something out of the course.

My only other gripe, which I think is a huge problem with the course, is that the certificate doesn't state how much time you actually took to do the course. This is a problem for healthcare professionals that need continuing education hours.

By Jose O

Aug 31, 2015

The course was of great help. It provides valuable insights to engage in academic research. However, I rate it only with three starts because I think it is too basic for the complexity involved in real research. Also I think some ideas provided in the course could be better organized. For example, in week three, the topic was understood to be something like "Management Skills Applied to Research" but the material pointed to something totally different. All ideas presented were great, but I think it is just matter to clarify better the objectives in each week.

By Felicia J

Oct 5, 2016

The organization of this course was very good. I liked the themes and their order. I thought the videos could have been longer and more substancial, but the reading were great. I got confused on one of the assignments in which the questions of the given chapter were supposed to be answer. There were 3. I must have misunderstood or have another file, because no one I read had such question and I got not so great reviews. I think this should be looked at. Either way, thank you for this opportunity!

By Graciano B d S

Jan 22, 2018

Unfortunately the course info was not clear enough that it was aimed to social science area. Of course the student should be able to understand the ideas and adapt to any research area. Still it was a major disappointment. The videos included are kind of shallow, the text on the other hand are more robust and added to my knowledge. I wouldn't recommend this course for PhD students (you should already know this things by now!), but rather for undergraduate.

By Anas M S M

Oct 12, 2020

The course gives a brief insight on how a research may be conducted, I like how the videos are kept short and truly useful, however, I believe that for the reading parts, there should more assistance in helping course takers to better understand them as for instance by making some videos that aid us o better comprehend the content of the reading assignments especially that of E-tivity 3 as its of vital importance. Thanks!

By Christopher M

Dec 3, 2017

The course seems fairly well planned with lots of free articles. The peer reviewed assignments provide opportunities to give and receive feedback. However, the instructions for E-tivity 3 gave instructions which confused many course participants (including myself). Perhaps clearer instructions would have made participants more likely to be able to meet the assignment deadline.

By Eva C L

Jun 8, 2020

If you are new in research, the videos provide a general idea of what to expect during the research. The extra readings are good to go in-depth, but the peers-review is not worth it at all. People don't take the reviews seriously and some feedback is just worthless. Implementing feedback from the professors would be perfect.

By Andro S

Jan 23, 2021

The course materials were very informative and the peer activities are worth it. However, the lessons/videos are not in-depth and are mainly edited segments of interviews about general experiences of researchers. It could have been better if they had in-depth lectures that resemble a teacher-student relationship.

By ramesh r

Nov 25, 2016

Nice course but lot of troubles are arising during the completion of this course. still i am unable to complete it and could not find out the reason. Once i got a message that my course is completed and i can get my certificate but now it says still assignment pending... i dont know how to deal with it.

By Shaimaa M

Jul 11, 2017

The course is too brief. The first 2 weeks material was good, but the other half is weak and it left me with no real answers at all. This course made me understand what is the first stage of research, but the title is misleading since it does not actually talk about the different research methods.

By Muhammad T S

Dec 17, 2015

Some parts were good but overall the course was lacking in its ability to add value. There were generic discussions. Week 3 was almost useless; had it not been for a good reading provided for an assignment, it was too basic.

Add some specificity in the course or name it Basics of Research Methods.

By Ahd E S H

Jun 5, 2018

The course was short and like a mini introduction to research methods. I liked hearing from different experts and their views and opinions on the subject. I hoped for a more detailed course and in depth learning opportunity. I benefited from the course but it didn't meet my expectations.

By Ramprasad M

Feb 23, 2019

This is basic course, suitable for undergrads, the spoken experience were great to share. kudos to authors, each exemplars, provide new perspective. provide deeper understanding of research methods. Formulation of hypothesis, aims, objectives, could have been more interesting. Thanks..

By Apoorva T

Jun 15, 2020

although the course is a good one to know about research at the beginner level. Yet considering the target audience may even be phd fellows like me, the course could have been a little more detailed or provided more readings like the ones on literature review.

By Saloni k

Aug 27, 2020

Understand Research Methods is a good experience for me and I enjoyed this video lecture and this topic. The ability to survey and understanding, field of knowledge. Research to collaborate and individuals work their careers as research.