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Online Course

Multidisciplinary Research methods for Engineers

Delft University of Technology via edX

Overview

The use of data to understand phenomena and evaluate designs and interventions in different disciplines is increasingly evident. As a result, engineers and other applied scientists frequently find themselves needing to collaborate in multidisciplinary fields when carrying out research to remain innovative.

This course will help you to become a successful multidisciplinary researcher in industry, non-profit, or academia, and be more efficient and successful as you will know where the pitfalls are! This course explains the fundamentals on how to plan and carry out state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative research in different phases of an innovation or research project.

The course has been designed by a team of experienced, multidisciplinary researchers in education, engineering and research methodologies and will also feature experts in the field of research methodologies as guest lecturers. In the course you will be working towards creating a project plan for your research, giving you a head-start in your research project.

The interuniversity, interdisciplinary Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Center for Education and Learning is a leader in multidisciplinary technological research and innovation projects. Learning from leading experts in the field you will learn to apply the best practices in your own context.

Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to research

  • What constitutes multidisciplinary scientific research and how is it used
  • Structure of research: Scientific method and engineering design cycle
  • Language of research
  • What to research and how to find out more
  • What is a research objective and a research question
  • How to formulate a research objective and a research question?

Week 2: Phases and methods of scientific research

  • Research questions and hypotheses
  • Desktop research, literature study
  • Theoretical modeling and conceptual frameworks
  • Experimental/Study design
  • Data collection
  • Evaluation, validation and verification
  • Research ethics and human resource research ethics

Week 3: Research method selection and study design

Understand and select the appropriate method for a research question in terms of:

  • Qualitative methods
  • Quantitative methods
  • Mixed method approaches
  • Formative and summative evaluation studies

Week 4: Data collection and analysis

  • Data collection and data management
  • Data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Data interpretation
  • How to validate and verify data

Week 5: Research management, documentation and publishing

  • How to report research results
  • Reporting multidisciplinary work
  • Reporting in different disciplines
  • Project management
  • Scientific publishing including open science

Week 6: Verified certificate only: Research plan writing

  • Writing a project plan based on a multidisciplinary research case where students can choose from which discipline they approach the problem.

Taught by

Marcus Specht, Gillian Saunders-Smits, Jacqueline Wong and Martine Schophuizen

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