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Unit information: Statistics in Education in 2020/21

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Unit name Statistics in Education
Unit code EDUCM5504
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Browne
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit introduces the most commonly used statistical procedures used in educational research. No previous experience of statistics is required.

The unit aims to:

  • introduce the most commonly used methods of descriptive statistics in educational research;
  • introduce commonly used procedures, in educational research, for comparing groups and measuring association (independent and paired samples t-tests, non-parametric tests of difference, correlation coefficients and chi-square tests);
  • introduce procedures for selecting the most appropriate technique in relation to the research questions and data collected;
  • be able to carry out appropriate statistical procedures in the SPSS software and report them accurately;
  • effectively interpret statistical results obtained in relation to the original research questions posed;
  • develop students’ critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a range of quantitative methods as applied in the research literature.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Select from the statistical methods covered in the unit and justify their use in a given situation.
  2. Generate descriptive statistics and conduct statistical tests in SPSS, and appropriately report and interpret the output.
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of aspects of the quantitative research approaches used in the social sciences

Teaching details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including lectures, computer practicals using SPSS software, and critical reading and discussion of published quantitative articles.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: Regular SPSS worksheets will be provided in which students attempt to apply the taught methods to data and to interpret the results. Annotated answers will then be provided, allowing students to check their progress. Students will also have the opportunity to post questions and receive feedback on the unit material, SPSS and general questions about the assignment.

Summative assessment: Students will provided with a selection of prepared datasets and/or statistical outputs. In a structured assignment with a number of sections, students will be required to identify the appropriate method for statistical analysis for a given research question and dataset, conduct that analysis in an appropriate software package, select the relevant parts of the statistical output, present them effectively, and interpret the findings (2,000 words equivalent). ILOs 1-3

Reading and References

Field A. (2013) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (4th Edition). London, Sage

Foster, L., Diamond, I. & Jeffries, J. (2014). Beginning Statistics: An Introduction for Social Scientists (2nd Edition). London, Sage

Salkind, N.J. (2013). Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics (5th edition). Sage.