module specification

ED7123 - Research Methods in Education (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Research Methods in Education
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
64 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
100 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   3500 -word Qualitative Research Proposal
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Evening

Module summary

Throughout the module, students will engage with the stages of the research process in social and educational research.  The module will prepare students to develop a small-scale qualitative research proposal. Students will be encouraged to identify a research topic related to their personal/professional interest and/or interest within the academic discipline of education.  


The module will enable students to understand the nature of qualitative research and the differences with quantitative research. Students will be introduced to some key debates in the philosophy of research and the emergence of the interpretivist paradigm in social research. They will be required to locate their research topics within the interpretivist paradigm and conduct a mini-literature review (including the theoretical framework) to contextualise their research.


Students will have opportunities during the lectures and seminars to develop a deeper understanding of the research process (literature review, qualitative research design, data collection, data analysis, ethical issues, subjectivity/reflexivity, writing up their research proposal). 


They will be encouraged to reflect on their own research topics throughout the module.


Module aims


The module will provide students with the appropriate skills and knowledge to


understand the meaning of social and educational research and its function in creating and interpreting new knowledge; 

engage with the philosophical bases of educational research and understand the difference between the two main traditions of social research – the positivist and interpretivist paradigms. 

develop familiarity with a range of qualitative research approaches used in educational research. 

explore different methods of data collection and methods of data analysis. 

develop an understanding of the importance of ethical issues, reflexivity and subjectivity in qualitative social and educational research.

write a mini-literature review (including initial ideas for the theoretical framework) as part of the qualitative educational research proposal which will form a basis of the MA dissertation. 

Prior learning requirements

Pre-requisites: None

Available for Study Abroad? NO


PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: RESEARCH AND                                                       THEORETICAL APPROACHES. (LO 01, LO 02, LO 03)

Students will be introduced to the importance of educational and social sciences research, the philosophical/theoretical basis of social research and the differences between quantitative and qualitative research.  

Key terminology in quantitative educational research will be introduced in order to enable students to make sense of studies carried out using numerical data and differentiate from studies that employ qualitative data. 

The first part of the module covers key features of the methodological approaches and types of research situations in which qualitative research might be appropriately employed. 


Students will learn about the various types of qualitative research design. They will be introduced to a range of data collection methods and data analysis methods.

Students will be encouraged to develop personal reflexivity and think about their own role in the research process, including how their personal and professional histories might influence the data that they collect and the claims that they might make. They will be introduced to ethical issues in educational research and the implications for their own proposed studies. 


The third part of the syllabus will prepare students to carry out a mini-literature review (including the theoretical framework)  to support their research topic. Students will have the opportunity to review all stages of the Research proposal that have been covered in the module.

The module as a whole will aim to develop students’ skills of designing a coherent, epistemologically tenable, and practically feasible qualitative research project incorporating briefing and feedback sessions.  Students will have opportunities to present and discuss aspects of their essay for in-class peer and tutor review. They will also have a personal tutorial to receive feedback on their assignment.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Twelve lectures and seminars delivered, once a week, in three hours blocks in the evenings. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own research topic throughout the module. Lectures will be interactive encouraging students to participate in small reflective activities. Seminars will give students the opportunity to develop their understanding of the different stages of the research proposal.

These contact sessions will be accompanied by some opportunities to extend understanding and analysis of key ideas and issues in Weblearn, the virtual learning space for the module. 

This module is envisioned as also being deliverable using a blended learning approach

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, the students will be able to: 

understand the process of educational research and the role it can play in creating knowledge and furthering understanding of educational issues; 

demonstrate understanding of the philosophical bases of social research and the differences between the quantitative and qualitative paradigms of social research; 

demonstrate an understanding of qualitative educational research and the implications of this for their own proposed investigations; 

show understanding of different methods of data collection and analysis, and make an appropriate choice in the context of their own study; 

show a good insight into subjectivity, reflexivity and ethical issues, related to educational research and the implications of these for their own studies; 

be able to write a mini-literature literature review (including initial ideas for the theoretical framework) to support their qualitative small-scale research proposal.