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Unit information: Developing as an Educational Researcher in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Developing as an Educational Researcher
Unit code EDUCM5919
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Elisabeth Lazarus
Open unit status Not open

Introduction to Educational Inquiry



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit builds on the Introduction to Educational Inquiry unit. It is not subject- or discipline-specific, but is concerned with generic issues involved in developing research appropriate for a MSc dissertation. Issues of methodology and research design involving the construction of appropriate research questions, the linking of theory and method, and procedures for making an informed choice of research methods and ways of analysing data, will all be addressed. Using examples from existing MSc dissertations, issues around the crafting of the dissertation, and of ways that 'good ideas can be made into good dissertations'are critically discussed, with an emphasis (1) on structure and organisation of the dissertation as a whole, and (2) writing as academic practice. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of the ethical dimensions of the dissertation. Emphasis is placed on the importance of practical (access; scheduling) as well as academic issues.

The unit aims to equip students with:

  • an understanding of the main expectations of a dissertation;
  • ways of articulating those expectations, theoretically, methodologically and practically;
  • and with tools for meeting them efficiently and effectively

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit participants will be able to:

  • recognise the key issues involved in turning good ideas into good dissertations;
  • plan a research design for their dissertation;
  • make considered and defensible choices of research strategies, methods and techniques; and
  • write a dissertation proposal that complies with required criteria, standards and protocols.

Teaching Information

Given the nature of the programme, teaching is organised into an intensive, 3-day event during which a combination of teaching strategies, such as whole group lectures and seminars, case studies, critical analysis of key readings, group discussions and student presentations.

The needs of a wide range of students, including those with disabilities, international students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds have been considered. It is not anticipated that the teaching and assessment methods used will cause disadvantage to any person taking the unit. The Graduate School of Education is happy to address individual support requests as necessary.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

A 4,000 word dissertation proposal. Students will be expected to identify relevant research literature, outline research questions and construct a research design that would address them. Critical appraisal of the research approach being proposed will be expected.

Reading and References

  • Cooley, L. & Lewowicz, J. (2003) Dissertation Writing in Practice: turning ideas into text, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Hart, C. (1998) Doing A Literature Review, London: Sage.
  • Walliman, N. (2008) Your Dissertation in Education, London: Sage