Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

  1. For each of the following study designs, formulate a research question that is best investigated using that design:
    (a) Case study
    (b) Cross sectional survey
    (c) Time series study
    (d) Longitudinal study
    (e) Case-control study
    (f) Randomised controlled trial
    (g) Field experiment
    (h) Multiple case study
    (i) Evaluation research

2. You want to find out whether school examinations have got easier over time. Outline the design of a study that would do this.

3. You want to find out whether large retail organisations are better than small retail organisations at providing customer satisfaction. Outline the design of a study that would do this.

4. You want to understand how social workers interact with parents when they are assessing whether parental care is adequate. What kind of study would do this? How would you carry out such a study? How could it help improve the interactions?

5. A government agency wants to find out whether a programme teaching people how to self-manage their chronic illness condition is effective in preventing hospital admissions. How would you design a study to determine this?

6. The government has commissioned a research study on riots that occurred in parts of the country. The study aims:

  • To identify the perceived causes of the riots
  • To identify appropriate legal punishments for involvement in the riots
  • To identify appropriate reforms in other areas of policy (e.g. education, employment, policing)

In groups, decide on your research design (e.g. research methods, research sample, types of research questions).

What are the issues that you’ll ask about?

  • Whose views will you seek?
  • Why will you seek the views of certain groups?
  • How will you identify and contact these people?
  • How will you ask questions?
  • Will your research be quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of both?