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Unit information: Research Methods in Learning, Leadership and Policy in 2016/17

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Unit name Research Methods in Learning, Leadership and Policy
Unit code EDUCD0090
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Thomas
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

Understanding Educational Research

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

The unit is aimed at academics, administrators, curriculum developers, teachers, students and governors and anyone else with an interest in research methods, designs and approaches related to educational leadership and management, teaching and learning, policy and evaluation. An introduction to a range of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods will be covered, such as: questionnaire design; interviewing; systematic and video observation; participant observation; documentary evidence; secondary datasets. An introduction to a range of quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis will also be covered, such as: data modelling and statistical inference; grounded theorising; and textual, video and documentary analysis. Examples will be drawn from current and recent research projects undertaken within the Graduate School of Education and a range of organisational settings. The strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and strategies to data collection and analysis will be considered and participants will be guided in considering these methods in relation to their own research plans and in relation to the key paradigms introduced in the Understanding Educational Research unit. Web-based and other resources to inform and guide the selection and use of research methods will be highlighted (eg ESRC NCRM).

Aims:

  • develop participants understanding of key issues in relation to data collection, contexts and sampling and analysis, with particular reference to research concerned with educational leadership and management, teaching and learning, policy and evaluation.
  • emphasise to participants the importance of matching choice of research methods to the requirements implied by specific research questions and highlight where to find resources to support the use of different research methods.
  • develop participants knowledge, understanding and initial skills regarding a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and techniques of analysis.
  • explore the strengths and limitations of a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and techniques of analysis, as well as the reliability and validity of different approaches.

Intended learning outcomes

Participants will have:

  • developed their understanding of key issues in relation to data collection, contexts and sampling and analysis, with particular reference to research concerned with educational leadership and management, teaching and learning, policy and evaluation.
  • enhanced their understanding of the importance of matching choice of research methods to the requirements implied by specific research questions.
  • developed their knowledge, understanding and initial skills regarding a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and techniques of analysis and know where to find resources to support the use of different research methods.
  • explored the strengths and limitations of a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and techniques of analysis, as well as the reliability and validity of different approaches.

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars, tasks, practicals, student presentations.

Assessment Details

  • 3000 word assignment outlining a research proposal which uses qualitative and quantitative methods. The main part of the assignment will comprise the methods of data collection and analysis, what type of findings will be produced, and strengths and weaknesses of approaches described.
  • 1000 word assignment outlining the data collection and analysis approaches of a research project from the participants own experience (or a research project that they are familiar with) to be prepared prior to the unit and discussed and developed as the unit progresses.

Reading and References

  • Somekh B. and Lewin C.(Eds) (2004), Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London: Sage
  • Bogden, R and Biklen, S. (2002) Qualitative Research for Education, 4th edition, Boston: Allyn & Bacon
  • Bryman, A. (2001) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Punch, K.F. (2005) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches, 2nd edition London: Sage
  • Tacq J (1997) Multivariate analysis techniques in social science research: from problem to analysis. London: Sage.
  • Goldstein, H. (1997) Methods in school effectiveness research, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 8, pp. 369395.

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