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Unit information: Preparation for Dissertation in 2018/19

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Unit name Preparation for Dissertation
Unit code EDUCD0089
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Reed
Open unit status Not open

Understanding Educational Research, 3 other substantive units



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


The unit assumes and builds on the introduction to educational research provided in Understanding Educational Research. It is not subject- or discipline-specific, but is concerned with generic issues involved in developing research to be published in the form of a dissertation. Issues of methodology and research design link questions of topic, theory and method, and provide contexts for informed choice of methods. Using examples from existing EdDs, issues around the crafting of the dissertation, and of ways that good ideas can be made into good dissertations are critically discussed, with an emphasis (1) on structure and organisation of the dissertation as a whole, and (2) writing as academic practice. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of the ethical dimensions of the dissertation. A key focus is on making the most of the supervisory relationship. Emphasis is placed on the importance of practical (access; scheduling) as well as academic issues.


  • an understanding of the main expectations of a dissertation;
  • ways of articulating those expectations, theoretically, methodologically and practically;
  • and with tools for meeting them efficiently and effectively

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit participants will be able to:

  • recognise the key issues involved in turning good ideas into good dissertations;
  • structure and organise their dissertation;
  • make considered and defensible choices of research strategies, methods and techniques; and
  • write a dissertation that complies with required criteria, standards and protocols.

Teaching details

Teaching and learning opportunities will include both tutor and student presentations, seminars, small group work and micro-skills sessions.

Assessment Details

A 4,000 word dissertation proposal. Students will be expected to identify relevant research literature, outline research questions and describe a research method that would address them. Critical appraisal of the research approach being proposed will be expected.

Reading and References

  • Boden, R, Kenway, J and Epstein, D (2004) The Academics Support Kit. London:Sage
  • Clough, P. and C. Nutbrown (2002). A Student's Guide to Methodology. London, Sage
  • Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA:
  • Crotty, M (1998 2nd ed)The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process
  • Gorard, S., with Taylor, C. (2004) Combining Methods in Educational and Social Research, London: Open University Press
  • Punch, Keith (2005) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. London: Sage