module specification

SS5031 - Qualitative Educational Research in Theory and Practice (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Qualitative Educational Research in Theory and Practice
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 270
60 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Essay
Coursework 60%   Research proposal
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module aims:
• To develop students understanding of research as disciplined enquiry;
• To introduce students to a range of influential examples of qualitative research in education and to evaluate them with reference to their design, methodological orientation, enactment and findings;
• To outline the character, purposes and applicability of quantitative and positivist research methodologies in relation to qualitative methods;
• To support students in reading and critically assessing research based studies both in terms of their findings and their processes;
• To examine the relationship between forms of educational research and their bearing on policy;
• To provide students with some initial guidance in methods of qualitative research as foundation for thinking about their Final Year Dissertation.


A comparative review of positivist, interpretivist and critical research paradigms; understanding of their philosophical rationale along with the possibilities and limitations they present; recognition of how each paradigm translates into research design and practices. LO1,LO3

A critical survey of educational research and identification of its historical and current concerns and key themes.  Critical discussion of the relationship between research, policy and professional practice, including topical notions surrounding research-informed practice. LO5

Research design, practice and ethics. LO2,LO6,LO7

Approaches to reading and interpreting published research. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6,LO7

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will learn in lectures, seminars and tutorial groups.  They will report and reflect on their progress through the module by posting literature reviews that will form part of the assessment of the module.  Sessions will also build in opportunities for peer review.  There will also be a continuing emphasis on academic literacies through the reading, writing and information literacy strategies.  Students will be explicitly guided through reading and study strategies to enable them to confident users of the research material presented to them; there will be a continuation of the “write to learn” strategy found in the course writing strategy.  Explicit connections will be made with other modules in which research challenges are presented.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1) Identify and discuss relevant peer-reviewed educational literature for specific research purposes.

2) Describe the particular methodologies employed by qualitative educational researchers and academics in other contributory disciplines

3) Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical approaches that underpin quantitative and qualitative research.

4) Critically evaluate specific pieces of educational research, and their contribution to policy.

5) Formulate clear research questions and write a small scale qualitative research proposal to carry out in the third year dissertation module.

Assessment strategy

Assessment of this module will be as follows:
1. Summative assessment on theoretical paradigms and research strategies (2,500 words); weighting: 40%; Week due 14
2. Summative assessment  on proposed research topic for level 6 dissertation  (3,000 words)


Core Texts

Archer, L; Hollingworth, S and Mendick, H  (2010) Urban Youth and Schooling. Maidenhead: Mc GrawHill. Open University Press

Adams, J; Cochrane, M; and Dunne L eds (2012)  Applying theory to educational research: an introductory approach to case studies. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell

Bassey, M (2007) ‘On the kinds of research in educational settings’ in Hammersley, M (ed) Educational Research and Evidence based-practice. London: Sage

Bryman, A (2012) ‘The main preoccupations of qualitative researchers’. In Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 399-405

Burr, V (2003) ‘What is Social Constructionism’ In Social Constructionism. 2nd edition. Hove: Routledge

Hammersley, M (2003) ‘Can and Should Educational Research be Educative?’ Oxford Review of Education, 29: 1, pp3-25
Lichtman (2013) Qualitative Research in Education. London, Sage
O’Reilly, K. (2009) ‘Interpretivism’, In Key Concepts in Ethnography, London: Sage.

Goodson, I. and Sikes, P. (2001) Life History Research in Educational Settings, Buckingham, Open University Press (Chapter 4)

Hammersley, M (2003) ‘Can and Should Educational Research be Educative?’ Oxford Review of Education, 29: 1, pp3-25

Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) ‘What is ethnography’ (pp1-14), in Ethnography: Principles in Practice (Third Edition), London,

O’Reilly, K. (2009) ‘Interpretivism’, In Key Concepts in Ethnography, London: Sage.

O’Reilly, K. (2009) Key Concepts in Ethnography, London: Sage

O’Reilly, K. (2009) ‘Case Study’. In Key Concepts in Ethnography, London: Sage.

Punch, K (2009) Introduction to Research Methods in Education. London: Sage (See Chapter 7, Case Study, Ethnography; Chapter 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3  methods of data collection.

Other Research Methods Books

Atkins, L and Wallace, S (2012) Qualitative Research in Education. London Sage

Flick, U (2014) An Introduction to Qualitative Research . London: Sage

Other books
Ball, S. (ed.)(2004) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Sociology of Education, London: Routledge
Burton, D., and Bartlett, S. (2009) Key Issues for Educational Researchers, London: Sage.
Delaney, C. (2008) Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology, Oxford: Blackwell
Fevre, R., and Bancroft, A. (2010) Dead White Men and Other Important People: Sociology’s Big Ideas, London: Palgrave Macmillan
Hammersley, M., and  Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice,(Third Edition), London: Routledge
Kellett, M., (2010) Rethinking Children and Research, London: Continuum
May, T. (2003) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process, (Third Edition), Buckingham: Open University 
Plummer, K. (2005) Documents of Life 2, London: Sage
Hughes, J., and Sharrock, W. (1997) The Philosophy of Social Research, Harrow: Pearson Longman
Useful Journals
Gender and Education
History of Education
British Journal of the Sociology of Education
Education and Social Justice
European Journal of Cultural Studies
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 
Journal of Curriculum Studies
Journal of Education Policy
Language Awareness
Multicultural and Multilingual Development