Engineering Research Methods



Engineering Research Methods


Increasingly, university academics, organisations, research institutes and companies are called upon to contribute to cross-disciplinary research projects and proposals, and to assess projects from other disciplines. As a result, in the current research climate there is a constant need for researchers to communicate the conduct and presentation of their research findings succinctly. This course is designed to instruct postgraduate (as well as undergraduate students doing research) students in how to conduct research and publish their research findings. The course is also designed to assist them in defining their mode of enquiry and to guide students through a range of issues and considerations which should inform their general approach to research.


In this course the participants will become acquainted with research methodologies such as experimental, survey and field research, questionnaire design, content analysis, analysis of existing data, focus group, individual and group observation (including participatory observation) etc.


The course will also introduce participants to the safeguards against errors in both data collection and data analysis and reporting. In addition, the course will draw the attention of participants to an important but often neglected aspect of scientific research, i.e. ethical issues in research, covering such topics as voluntary participation, anonymity and confidentiality and the need to adhere to professional code of ethics. How each method is, or may be, related to contemporary policy issues will be an integral part of the course. The participant will also be introduced to the basics of analyzing research data.


The core topics featured include:


  • Formulating a research problem
  • Conceptualising a research design
  • Constructing an instrument for data collection
  • Selecting a sample
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Collecting data
  • Processing and analysing data
  • Writing the research report


This course is designed for postgraduate students, fresh faculty members, final year undergraduate students; research-oriented institutions interested in doing research and publishing; and companies that need to do research in order to improve upon their products and services, etc. This course, which is cross-disciplinary in nature, is designed to equip the student to pursue a long-term career as a researcher even beyond his/her postgraduate studies. It also provides an excellent opportunity to learn how to collaborate at various levels with researchers from other disciplines.


Upon completion of the course, the course participant will be able to:


  • Identify and describe the key philosophies that underpin research and appreciate their implications for research.
  • Outline the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the main research methods.
  • Prepare a research proposal using appropriate research methods in order to meet a specified research question.
  • Evaluate, analyze and interpret data.
  • Identify appropriate statistical procedures to perform basic analysis of quantitative or qualitative data.
  • Present a summary of information in a report format.


The Engineering Research Methods course will give students a general introduction to postgraduate research, its methodologies, its challenges and its organisation, including in creative practice. Students will be introduced to a range of research tools and will be well equipped to plan and organise their research, as well as to communicate their findings. This course will enable participants to identify and apply appropriate research methodologies in order to plan, conduct and evaluate basic research in an institution or organization. The course will furthermore, enable participants to distinguish between scientific methods and common sense knowledge, while laying the foundation for research skills at higher levels.


Mode: Blended - Online Learning