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Unit information: Introduction to Educational Inquiry in 2020/21

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 Introduction to Educational Inquiry
Unit code EDUCM5000
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Jo Rose
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This core unit provides an introduction to the variety of methods used to conduct research in education. It engages students in the key debates surrounding educational research and its importance in developing educational policy and improving educational processes. The question of what constitutes good educational research is addressed and students will be encouraged to develop strategies to better understand and critique the immense variety of educational research reported in book and journals. In this course, students are introduced to the entire process of conducting educational research from the initial stages of thinking about research questions to designing a project, choosing particular methodologies and methods. Students are encouraged to look at this from a political and philosophical as well as educational perspective and also to consider and reflect on the key issues that educational researchers face, including how it is possible to ensure good ethical practice. Particular emphasis is placed on research designs for complex issues and processes.

The unit aims are to:

  • present the main philosophical and methodological positions within social science research with special reference to research in education
  • appreciate the importance of critically engaging with research literature
  • understand and engage with the process of research design and its conduct, including issues in data collection and analysis
  • be prepared to undertake an empirically-based dissertation
  • enrich their reading and understanding of research literature that they engage with in their other units on the programme.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • Recognise the diversity of research questions and related methods which are used in educational research
  • Read critically and evaluate research-related documents, which have employed a range of research approaches and methods based on differing epistemologies
  • Formulate a research question and an appropriate research design for a small-scale project
  • Critically engage with issues of ethics, validity, trustworthiness and reliability in relation to research
  • Collect, analyze, and report on research data and findings
  • Demonstrate the skills and confidence to work successfully as part of a group
  • Make decisions regarding their future learning needs, in particular in the area of data collection and analysis techniques (this is particularly important for those likely to be undertaking a dissertation).

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions, and involving both independent and collaborative group work with peers.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

Summative assessment for the unit will be on the basis of two pieces of work:

  • A 10 minute audio recorded group powerpoint presentation of methods/findings of group project (1 presentation per group) (25% of grade) ILOs 3-7
  • A 2,500 word written assignment to assess students' critical understanding of the research methods literature, and apply concepts and theories to their own research practice (75% of grade) ILOs 1,2,47

Reading and References

Essential (Core text)
Matthews, B. & Ross, L. (2010). Research methods a practical guide for the social sciences. Longman: UK.

Suggestions for recommended and further reading will be made separately through Blackboard.