Skip to main content

Unit information: Understanding Educational Research in 2021/22

Unit name Understanding Educational Research
Unit code EDUCM5502
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lucas
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit develops concepts and practices to enable participants to develop a reasoned evaluation of published educational research. The unit provides an overview of paradigmatic differences that operate in social science research and facilitates participants in considering the implications of these for understanding and evaluating research in their own field of interest. Particular attention will be paid to associated issues concerning the relationship between evaluation and educational values; research ethics; implications for research design and methodology; research quality criteria; and the intended applications and audiences of the research. Participants will critically engage with these issues by evaluating one or more published studies in their field of interest as group activities during the unit and as the basis for individually prepared assessed work.


  • To explore the issues and practices involved in evaluating research in education
  • To examine the paradigmatic influences in current educational research and the implications of these with associated issues for the reasoned evaluation of published research.
  • To undertake the evaluation of selected reports of research that relate to the participant’s field of interest.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After taking this unit, the student should:

  • be familiar with key issues in evaluating published research
  • be aware of current debates over the paradigmatic influences in social science and educational research and their implications for evaluation
  • be able to demonstrate the evaluation of a selected report of research an to support the evaluation with appropriately reasoned analysis

Teaching Information

The unit is taught intensively. The course includes practical activities, reading tasks, discussion and opportunities to relate course material to participants’ own research ideas. Students also engage in a group presentation of a critical evaluation of a research text.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment tasks include the oral presentation of an evaluation of published research undertaken in groups of approximately four students to the whole class.Summative assessment consists of a 4000 word evaluation of a student selected report of research concerned with evaluating research in the student’s area of interest.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM5502).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.