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Research Methods for Education

  • Module code: QC7710
  • Year: 2019/0
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module will introduce students to research methods and tools relevant to practitioners in education contexts. Theoretical perspectives surrounding methodological processes and the relevance of research to practice are critically examined and discussed. Specific research methodologies, such as Action Research and Case Study, will be evaluated to allow students opportunity to explore elements of research design including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches to data collection and data analysis. Students will engage in discussions of methodological and ethical issues in order to develop a systematic, logical and carefully considered response. The module informs the design of a research proposal and a possible research project by facilitating students' understanding in methodological decision-making and the necessary tools and processes for undertaking research projects involving complex phenomena relevant to the student's professional interest and expertise.

Aims

  • Provide an introduction to the ethical, political, methodological and epistemological issues relevant to educational research within a variety of contexts
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of key research methodologies and data collection tools
  • Examine and develop advanced skills in the design and application of a range of tools for data collection and strategies for analysis relevant to practice-oriented settings
  • Discuss and critically analyse the purpose and application of educational research with regard to policy and practice

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of research methodologies, data collection and data analysis techniques including those which may be considered innovative and at the forefront of researching professional practice;
  • Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches for the collection and analysis of data for professional practice;
  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of ethical implications associated with educational research;
  • Develop advanced strategies for researching and analysing the literature and uses ideas at a high level of abstraction;
  • Develop critical responses to existing theoretical discourses to enable independent research into real world settings.

Curriculum content

  • An introduction to educational research relevant to professional practice - paradigms, epistemology and the use of theoretical constructs relevant to the field of study;
  • The development of literature research strategies, including the use of online databases and reference management systems to construct and organise a research bibliography;
  • A critical examination of key methodologies, such as case study and action research,
  • Introduction to aspects of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods design
  • Examining what constitutes sampling strategies, data and the design of data collection tools, such as questionnaire, observation and interview,
  • Capturing, managing and analysing qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate techniques and software,
  • Approaches to ethical complexities associated with practice-related research.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module uses a wide range of teaching and learning approaches to enable learning from the distance and meet the needs of students around work, with different personal commitments, and across time zones, and to help them become enquiring, reflective and autonomous learners. It comprises a variety of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities (e.g. virtual classes, virtual reading groups, online tutorials, video-recorded lectures, video-recorded instructions, wiki's, reading tasks and discussion boards) utilising university's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) on Canvas to provide flexibility and convenience for all students.

The teaching is learner-centred. Students, with the support of the tutors, will take responsibility for their own learning. Students are expected to do their preliminary reading/tasks, which initiate and contribute to their understanding and bring their thoughts/questions for discussion with their peers and tutors in virtual classes using the web-conferencing provision of the Canvas platform. The virtual classes are set for synchronous collaborative group work on set tasks and for learning through e-seminars and e-workshops. Virtual classes for collaborative work on set tasks between the peers in small groups are set up by the students themselves following the available guidance on Canvas. Virtual classes for whole-group collaborative discussions, seminars or workshops are set up by the tutor(s).

Online discussions will continue after the virtual class. Each discussion thread will critically analyse methodological issues in educational research. This activity will be supported by online tutorials, by arrangement, and will feed forward into the final assessment. The online tutorials will allow the students to explore and discuss their developing ideas with regard to key methodologies and research design.

Students will need to have access to a computer that will allow full participation in the course. A computer that will allow full participation in the course will be a PC or Mac (ideally not older than five years) that runs a modern operating system (Windows 7, 8 or 10; Mac OX 10.7 or greater) and web browser (current versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox or Safari on a Mac). In addition, students will need access to a broadband Internet connection and will require speakers or headset and a microphone. A webcam would be useful but not obligatory.

Key skills are evident throughout the module with research capabilities, information literacy and advanced communication skills being fundamental to the students' developing understanding of their role as a research-engaged learner. These are listed within the table which maps learning outcomes and assessment.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Video-lectures/seminars Online workshops Guided learning/directed tasks Online individual and group tutorials 30
Guided independent study Researching topics Preparing for presentations and assessment tasks, e.g. production of a podcast file, webinar, Prezi presentation or written report Collaborative online learning groups 270
Study abroad / placement N/A
Total (number of credits x 10) 300 (30 credits)
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment: Online synchronous presentation and feedback from peers/tutors - Reflection on a selected methodological approach.

Online discussions (synchronous and asynchronous) - Specific questions will be set with the tutor and students facilitating the developing discussion. The set questions will be designed to support the students' developing understanding of specific elements of the module, for example, exploration of key methodologies and critical evaluation of data collection tools. 

Formative assessment will be supported by one-to-one tutorials (using Canvas conferencing platform) to feedback and feedforward towards the summative assessment. There will be a draft schedule of the online tutorials, which will be published on Canvas after consultation with the students and taking into account their needs and differences in time zone.

Video-based material will have the option to add subtitles to assist students with SEND and students with English as second language from overseas.

Summative Assessment

Part 1 (30%): A reflective journal documenting a number of deliverables stemming from the desktop research of an agreed area of interest. Including written reflection on the entire experience (circa 500 words), and multimedia reflection on the planning and development of the research (e.g. podcasts, Powerpoint, Prezi, screen-shots).

Part 2 (70%): Written assignment 2000 words. To focus upon the critical analysis of two methodological approaches which may be appropriate for a specific research design located within the students' topic or area of interest.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a critical understanding of methodologies, data collection and analysis techniques including those which may be considered innovative and at the forefront of academic knowledge Formative assessment: written task Summative assessment: written assignment
Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches for the collection and analysis of data for professional practice Formative assessment: written task Summative assessment: written assignment
Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of ethical implications associated with educational research Formative assessment: written task Summative assessment: written assignment
Demonstrate advanced strategies in researching and critically analysing the literature Formative assessment: written task Summative assessment: written assignment
Develop critical responses to existing theoretical discourses to enable independent research into real world settings Formative assessment: written task Summative assessment: written assignment

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
A reflective journal utilising written and multimedia work (1000 words equivalent) Coursework 30%
Written assignment (2000 words) Coursework 70%
100%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that the major element of assessment is passed in order to achieve an overall pass for the module. Pass mark is 50%

Bibliography core texts

Cohen L , Manion L & Morrison K. (2018) Research Methods in Education 8th Ed.

London: Routledge. Available as E-book (7th ed.) from iCat

Denscombe, M. (2017) The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects, 6th Ed. Buckingham: OUP. Available as E-book (5th ed.) from iCat

Bibliography recommended reading

Balnaves, M., & Caputi, P. (2001). Introduction to quantitative research methods: An investigative approach. London: SAGE. Available as E-book from iCat

Creswell, J. W. (2013) Educational research: Pearson new international edition 4th Ed. London: Pearson Education. Available as E-book from iCat

Gillham, B. (2010). Case Study Research Methods. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Available as E-book from iCat

Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2011). Mixed methods research: Merging theory with practice. New York: Guilford Press. Available as E-book from iCat

McNiff, Jean (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice 3rd Ed. Abingdon: Routledge. Available as E-book from iCat

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation 6th Ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Available as E-book from iCat

Newby, P. (2014) Research Methods for Education, 2nd Ed. Essex: Pearson. Available as E-book from iCat

Plowright, D. (2011) Using Mixed Methods: frameworks for an integrated methodology. London: Sage. Available as E-book from iCat

Ridley, D. (2012). The Literature Review: A step-by-step guide for students. 2nd Ed. London: Sage. Available as E-book from iCat

Silverman, D. (2010) Doing Qualitative Research, London: Sage. Available as E-book from iCat

Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis. New York: The Guilford Press. Available as E-book from iCat

Wetcher-Hendricks, D. (2014). Analyzing quantitative data: An introduction for social researchers. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Available as E-book from iCat

Woodside, A. G. (2010). Case study research: Theory, methods, practice. Bingley, U.K: Emerald Group Pub. Ltd. Available as E-book from iCat

Yin, R. K. (2016). Qualitative research from start to finish 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Available as E-book from iCat

Journals

Action Research (Sage) http://journals.sagepub.com/home/arj

British Educational Research Journal (Wiley Blackwell) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14693518

Educational Action Research (Taylor & Francis) https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/reac20/current

Journal of Mixed Methods Research (Sage) http://journals.sagepub.com/home/mmr

Websites
British Educational Index (BEI) http://www.leeds.ac.uk/bei/ 

British Educational Research Association: http://www.bera.ac.uk/

Research at Kingston University: https://www.kingston.ac.uk/research/about-research-at-kingston/  

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