module specification

SE6054 - Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
75 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   A research project proposal 3,500 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester LMET Distance Learning - -
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning - -
Autumn semester North Friday Morning
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

This module focuses upon the main research methodologies used in the study of early childhood, preparing students for their own research projects as well as enabling them to read and critique the research of others.

Prior learning requirements

It is expected that students will be in a work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range for a minimum of 2 hours each week throughout the module, normally in a group setting.

Module aims

This core module aims to enable students to:

  • Recognise and interpret some of the major positions/philosophies in relation to research methods
  • Develop the ability to describe, analyse and constructively critique the major research methodologies in the field of earlychildhood studies
  • Develop an awareness of ethics in relation to research
  • Apply skills in designing their own research projects
  • Develop skills in critiquing published research


Students will be introduced to areas such as qualitative and quantitative research design and different approaches to research e.g.  action research, alongside a range of methods used in early childhood research.   The course will also focus upon ethical considerations in relation to early childhood research, and will devote time to looking at research that incorporates young children’s perspectives and addressing diversity within research.  The course will conclude with sessions on how to conduct a literature review and how to analyse and present data.  Throughout the course, students will be asked to critique published research using the method focused upon that week.

Learning and teaching

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Distance Learning students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them either face-to-face, by e-mail or by telephone. All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of Web Learn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self-assessment exercises such as quizzes and reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.  For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the workplace and weekly tasks and reflective exercises support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. 

The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports individual learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Describe, analyse and constructively critique the major research methodologies used in the field of Early Childhood Studies
2. Apply ethics in relation to research
3. Understand a range of research methods e.g. how to design a questionnaire, and be able to articulate when to use them
4. Be able to critique existing research in the early childhood field

Assessment strategy

Students will demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes through the submission of one piece of work at the end of the module. This will be a research project proposal that incorporates a rationale, abridged literature review based on two academic journal articles that relate to the students proposed research question, methodology section along with a brief discussion of ethics that relate to their research question that the students chosen.

Students will have formative assessment opportunities throughout the module through in class / on-line discussions and written tutor feedback on one submitted practice tasks which involves critical discussion of two journal articles. Students will also be encouraged to access on-line self assessment, quizzes and short answer questions.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes will be invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines and to receive detailed formative feedback.  Where a personal meeting is not possible, (for example, students living abroad and studying in distance learning mode) this will take place by telephone or e-mail.  Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.
All students will receive written feedback against all learning outcomes following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.


Bell, J. (2010) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for the First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science (5th editiion), Maidenhead: OUP E book
Christensen, P. & James, A. (Eds) (2008) Research With Children: Perspectives and Practices, London: Falmer Press E book
Denscombe, M (2010) The Good Research Guide (4th edition) Maidenhead: OUP. (NB the 2007 edition is an E book)
Greig, A. & Taylor, J., Mackay, T. (2007) Doing Research With Children (2nd edition), London: Sage
Mukherji, P., Albon, D. (2010) Research Methods in Early Childhood, London: Sage
Roberts-Holmes, G. (2005) Doing Your Early Years Research Project, London, Sage.

Websites (British Educational Research Association) and search for their ethical guidelines used in educational research. (Jean McNiff’s website on action research)

Borg S. (2001) The Research Journal: a Tool for Promoting and Understanding, Language Teaching Research, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 156-177