Short Title:Research Methods for Horticulture
Full Title:Research Methods for Horticulture
Module Code:HTSC H3027
ECTS credits: 10
NFQ Level:7
Module Delivered in 3 programme(s)
Module Contributor:Michael Hagan
Module Description:The completion of a research project measures the extent to which a student has developed scientific and analytical skills and how well they can apply them to a selected topic. This module will introduce the student to the concepts of research methods as commonly used in horticulture. This will include generating a hypothesis from the consideration of a research question and carrying out a literature search in the relevant area. By constructing and writing a detailed literary review, the student will have the ability to develop their understanding of the scientific process. This will enable them to build upon their research in the future.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to
  1. Determine an appropriate research question for a horticulture topic and devise a testable hypothesis from this.
  2. Choose an appropriate experimental design and plan to answer a scientific question and carry out an appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative analysis.
  3. Interpret, evaluate and synthesise research information completed by others.
  4. Evaluate appropriate Hypothesis testing procedures for a statistical problem in science
  5. Produce an informed literary review that demonstrates the student's knowledge of scientific literature and critical analysis.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
The Scientific Research Process.
Determination of a research question. Hypothesis generation. Setting out the null and alternative hypothesis. Requirements of a supported hypothesis, that it be verifiable, realistic and have an acceptable explanation. The Scientific Method. Purpose and design of a research project. Steps in conducting research. The stages of a research project as set out by the scientific method.
Research Design
The evaluation of research methods. Qualitative and Quantitative methods and data types. Case studies of these types.The critical appraisal and evaluation of material for literature research based projects.The principles of quantitative and qualitative methods. Identification and application of these research methods to questions arising in horticulture; examples of typical research problems.
Experimental design for Horticulture
The design of experiments; the definitions of the elements of an experiment. Completely randomised designs, block designs and the Latin square design.
Research Planning
Requirements for a research project plan. Project planning tools. Project staging; milestones and deliverables.
Introduction to statistical data analysis
Statistical testing and its reliability. Effective experimental design and relevant data collection. Descriptive Statistics: calculation and interpretation of measures of dispersion, including the mean, mode, median and standard deviation. Inferential Statistics. Sample and population. The definition of probability. The definition and meaning of a random variable. Discrete and continuous probability distributions.
Literature Review and Academic Writing
Summarising and quoting the work of others. The difference between description and critical review and synthesis. Third person writing, impartial representation of facts. Referencing and citation methods. Structure and layout of an academic report/dissertation.
Indicative Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work Assessment %100.00%
Course Work Assessment %
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Performance Evaluation Present and discuss a research question. Comment on and discuss three other research questions in the class group. (Online forum) 1,3 5.00 Week 2
Performance Evaluation Present and discuss your hypothesis. This will form the basis of the project proposal. Comment on/discuss at least three other hypotheses. (Online forum) Demonstrate an understanding of existing research and any knowledge gaps in this area. Also demonstrate the real world application. 1,3,5 10.00 Week 3
Written Report Research Design: Submit an appropriate design method for the proposed project. Justify this design by reference to other work. 2,3 20.00 Week 5
Written Report Project Plan: Produce a timed project plan (in terms of activities, milestones and deliverables) None 5.00 Week 6
Written Report Literature Review. Compile a detailed literature review on a cross section of academic sources and resources. Produce well-structured evaluation and discussion of the material researched using correct referencing. 2,3,5 50.00 Week 8
In-class test Introductory Statistical Analysis. In-class quiz assessments. 2 10.00 Week 10
No Final Exam Assessment %
Indicative Reassessment Requirement
Repeat the module
The assessment of this module is inextricably linked to the delivery. The student must reattend the module in its entirety in order to be reassessed.

ITB reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Indicative Module Workload & Resources

Indicative Workload: Full Time
Frequency Indicative Average Weekly Learner Workload
Every Week 2.00
Every Week 4.00
Every Week 3.00
Recommended Book Resources
  • Catherine, Dr. Dawson,, Introduction to Research Methods, 4th Ed., How To Books [ISBN: ISBN: 1845283]
  • Martin Brett Davies, Doing a Successful Research Project:Using Qualitative or Quantitative methods [ISBN: ISBN: 1403993]
  • Tadhg O'Shea, Essential Statistics for Researchers, Treorai [ISBN: 9780957]
  • John W. Creswell, Research design, Sage Publications Thousand Oaks, Calif. [ISBN: ISBN: 9781412]
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Derek Rowntree 2000, Statistics without tears, Penguin London [ISBN: 0140136320]
  • Allan G. Bluman, Elementary Statistics, McGraw Hill Higher Education [ISBN: 0070091781]
  • Calvin Dytham 2003, Choosing and using statistics, Blackwell Pub. Malden, MA [ISBN: 1405102438]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
BN_SHTSC_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Horticulture [240 ECTS credits] 6 Mandatory
BN_SHTSC_7 Bachelor of Science in Horticulture [180 ECTS credits] 6 Mandatory
BN_SHTSC_D Bachelor of Science in Horticulture [NFQ level 7, Add on 60 ECTS credits] 3 Mandatory