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Unit information: Developing as an Educational Researcher in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Developing as an Educational Researcher
Unit code EDUCM5919
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Cassie Earl
Open unit status Not open




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


The unit relates to the Introduction to Educational Inquiry unit. It is neither subject nor discipline-specific, but concerned rather with generic issues involved in developing research projects, including but not limited to MSc dissertations. Issues to be addressed in the unit include: methodology and research design, constructing appropriate research questions, linking of theory and method, considering different ways to analyse data and procedures for making informed and ethical choices in research design. Issues around the crafting of a research project, and ways that 'good ideas can be made into good projects' are critically discussed, using existing examples, including MSc dissertations. An emphasis is placed (1) on structure and organisation of the project as a whole, and (2) writing as academic practice Emphasis is also placed on the importance of addressing practical (access; scheduling) as well as academic limitation.

The unit aims to equip students with:

  • an understanding of the main expectations of a research project;
  • ways of articulating those expectations, theoretically, methodologically and practically;
  • tools for undertaking the project efficiently, effectively and competently

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • recognise the key issues involved in turning good ideas into good research projects, including dissertations;
  • plan a research design for their dissertation/research project;
  • make considered and defensible choices of research strategies, methods and techniques; and
  • write a dissertation/ research proposal that complies with required criteria, standards and protocols.

Teaching details

Given the nature of the programme, teaching is organised into an intensive, 3-day event during which a combination of teaching strategies, such as whole group lectures and seminars, case studies, critical analysis of key readings, group discussions and student presentations.

Assessment Details

For students who have already submitted Introduction to Educational Inquiry (EDUCM5915):

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

For students who have not yet submitted Introduction to Educational Inquiry (EDUCM5915):

A 4,000 word report on a group research project. Outline details of the project and provide a thorough discussion of the methodological and ethical issues that were raised.

Reading and References

  • Kumar, R. (2011) Research Methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners. London: Sage
  • Blaxter, L. Hughes, C. & Tight, M. (2010) 'How to Research' Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Walliman, N. (2008) Your Dissertation in Education, London: Sage