module specification

SE7P00 - Research Methods and the Dissertation (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Research Methods and the Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 600
540 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Dissertation 100%   Dissertation
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

This module explores key concepts in research and supports students to undertake a small-scale independent piece of research relevant to their professional discipline.

Module aims

This module aims to support students to undertake a small-scale, empirical, independent investigation of their choice relevant to their discipline. Through the course of their work for the dissertation students should:

  • Produce a comprehensive and critical review of the literature
  • Develop a critical understanding of research methodology and methods
  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of ethics as applies to research
  • Gain skills in identifying and selecting appropriate source material including data from primary sources
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of research carried out by themselves and by other people
  • Design and execute a well-planned piece of research
  • Produce an extended piece of writing with a clear structure and conceptual organisation which shows stylistic competence, and uses a conventional system of full and accurate referencing


During the first part of the module key concepts in research are explored including:

  • Research theory and paradigms
  • Research design
  • Ethics
  • Research tools
  • Critical reading and writing
  • Data analysis
  • Communicating your findings

Students submit a research proposal (using a structured proforma) at week 10 of the module and receive written formative feedback before beginning work on their research dissertation.  The dissertation is an independent study, involving the collection and analysis of data from primary sources, carried out by individual students on a topic of their choice.  The dissertation should be between 15000 words (excluding any appendices).

Each student is assigned a tutor who supports them during their research.

Learning and teaching

Students will receive 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 WebLearn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self-assessment exercises such as reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching – reflection will be promoted by the discussion-board exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. 

Teaching and learning strategies and methods will link module content to workplace skills and professionalism in the early years.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to plan and carry out a small-scale piece of research relevant to discipline:

1. implement appropriate research methods in the context of a chosen topic of research
2. apply ethical considerations appropriate to their chosen area of research
3. critically analyse and present findings based on appropriate source material including data from primary sources
4. justify and evaluate the strengths and limitations of research carried out by themselves and by other people
5. structure and maintain an extended piece of writing which shows stylistic competence, and uses a conventional system of full and accurate referencing.

Assessment strategy

A dissertation based on secondary research and work in progressA dissertation based on secondary research and work in progress


Albon, D. Rosen, R. (2014) Negotiating Adult-Child relationships in Early Childhood Research, London: Routledge

Brown, T. and Jones, L. (2001) Action Research and Postmodernism: Congruence and Critique. Buckingham: OUP

Christensen, P.H. and James, A. (Eds) (2008). Research with children: perspectives and practices. (2nd ed.). New York; London: Routledge.

Christensen, P. and Prout, A. (2002). ‘Working with Ethical Symmetry in Social Research with Children’. Childhood, 9 (4), 477–497.

Clark, A. and Moss, P. (2001 and 10). Listening to Young Children: The Mosaic Approach. London: NCB/JRF.

Gallacher, L.A. and Gallacher, M. (2008). ‘Methodological Immaturity in Childhood Research? Thinking Through ‘Participatory Methods’’. Childhood, 15 (4), 499-516.

Hart, C. (2005) Doing Your Masters Dissertation, London: Sage

Johnson, B. and Christensen, L. B. (2008). Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches. (3rd Ed.). Los Angeles; London: Sage.

Lahman, M. K. E. (2008). 'Always Othered: ethical research with children'. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 6 (3), 281-300.

MacNaughton, G. and Hughes, P. (2009). Doing Action Research in Early Childhood Studies: A Step by Step Guide.Maidenhead: OUP.

Mukherji, P. and Albon, D. (2015). Research Methods in Early Childhood. 2nd ed. London: Sage

Robson, C. (2011). Real World Research: A Resource for Users of Social Research Methods in Applied Settings. (3rd Ed.). Chichester: Wiley

Warming, H. (2011). 'Getting under their skins? Accessing young children's perspectives through ethnographic fieldwork'.Childhood, 18 (1), 39-53.