Planning & Communicating Research - EDU00035M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Zoe Handley
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

  • To consolidate knowledge and understanding of research methods To help students plan a small research project, then communicate that plan and/or disseminate the results
  • To enable students to orally communicate clearly and professionally a research project idea, plan, or finding to an audience.
  • This module will provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills involved in conducting a research study and allow them to reflect on these to enrich their own experience.

The module builds on the Autumn term modules on Research Methods. ESL students will also receive further training in giving an academic presentation in English as part of their English Language Support programme. English native speakers are normally invited to these sessions if they wish to attend. The module is designed to support the Independent Study Module. It is also designed to offer an opportunity not available elsewhere on the MA programme for students to disseminate orally to an audience the results of high quality empirical work undertaken for a taught module.

Module learning outcomes

Students should, by the end of the module be able to:

  • Apply skills associated with planning, implementing and communicating a research study in the specific context of their own work.
  • Apply knowledge of research methods to the development of their own research project.
  • Create a coherent outline of a planned research project (The research proposal should be at least 500 words. References are not included in the word count).
  • Critically analyse and communicate methodological frameworks and research findings.
  • Show an awareness of key issues concerning the collection and interpretation of research data.
  • Show an awareness of ethical issues in education research and apply this to the context of their own study to match appropriate ethical guidelines.
  • Assess the ethical implications of a research project, and modify the project where necessary.
  • Communicate ideas and research in a concise, clear and interesting way that is appropriate to the audience concerned.
  • Develop and make use of ICT skills as an aid to presentation.
  • Handle questions by the audience at the end of a presentation.
  • React critically to other people s presentations by questioning the speaker.

Module content

In weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of the Spring term there are five lectures. The first four are designed to help you develop and improve skills relating to designing and carrying out research. The fifth is designed to help you prepare for the assessment and will focus on helping you prepare effective oral presentations.

Alongside these lectures there are also three workshops in weeks 3 and 5. During these workshops you will gain hands on experience in preparing a research proposal, and an ethics application and consent form.

In the Summer term, you will carry out the research for your own dissertation. This will begin with you (1) constructing a workable research proposal and (2) completing the Ethics Audit Form with your supervisor. You will begin work on this with your supervisor in the Spring term. The deadline for the submission of the research proposal to the supervisor for feedback is week 10 spring term. The deadline for the submission of the final research proposal is week 2 of Summer term. If the research proposal does not meet the assessment criteria, resubmission will be required in week 7 of Summer term.

The deadline for completion of the Ethics Audit Form is week 2 of Summer term.

In weeks 2-5 of the Summer term, you will give a short (10 min) oral presentation on your proposed research and answer questions from the audience. The aim is to both inform and entertain the audience.  If the presentation does not meet the assessment criteria, you will be given another opportunity to present your proposed research in front of a small audience of staff in week 9.

Course outline

Spring Term

Week 2                       Developing a research proposal

Week 3                       Ethics workshops

Week 4                       Using mixed methods

Week 5                       Writing proposals workshops

Week 6                       Reliability and validity in quantitative research

Week 8                       Dependability and trustworthiness in qualitative research

Week 10                    Giving effective oral presentations


Summer term

Week 2                       Oral presentations

Week 3                       Oral presentations

Week 4                       Oral presentations

Week 5                       Oral presentations

Course details

Week 2 Developing a research proposal

This session will be made up of two parts. The first part will introduce the course materials on the VLE which include a number of resources designed to help students complete the assessments. These include a template and guidelines for producing a research proposal, ethics guidelines and guidelines for preparing an oral presentation. The second part will focus on how to develop a research proposal (the formulation of effective research questions, the role of the literature review, ethical guidelines, etc.).

Week 3 Ethics Workshop

Week 4 Using mixed methods

In this session we will consider the advantages and disadvantages of mixing or combining different research methods within a single research design. This is a popular approach for masters dissertations, but always needs to be thought about and justified very carefully. We will think about the conceptual and practical aspects of mixing methods. This will include reflecting on whether methods which relate to different research 'paradigms' can be legitimately combined in the same project. It will also mean thinking about the place of different methods in a design and the order in which different methods are used. Recent trends in educational and social science research which emphasise the primacy of the research question over any particular method will also be discussed.

Week 5 Writing proposals workshop

Week 6 Reliability and validity in quantitative research

This session will provide an overview of the ways in which reliability and validity can be ensured/ increased in quantitative research. Drawing on your previous Research Methods training and reading, we will discuss types of validity and reliability at all stages of a study (project and instrument design, data collection, data analysis, reporting and communicating results).

Week 8 Dependability and trustworthiness in qualitative research

In this session we will draw on your previous training and reading in Research Methods, as well as on the previous session, to discuss validity and reliability in qualitative research (i.e., dependability and trustworthiness - different terms are preferred for reasons that will be discussed during the session.) We will look at ways of increasing the rigour of a qualitative study at all stages, from planning and research design to communicating results.

Week 10 Giving effective oral presentations

In this session you will learn how to prepare and give an oral presentation of your research. The aim of the session is to help you plan and prepare your talk; to give you suggestions on how to design your slides and how to structure your presentation; to offer advice on how to deliver you talk and deal with questions; and to explain how your presentation will be assessed.



Task Length % of module mark
Dissertation Abstract
N/A 1
Ethical Audit
N/A 1
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 1

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Successful ethics audits will be signed off as appropriate by the supervisor. Written checklists and guidelines for acceptable proposals and presentations will be given to students. Verbal feedback will be provided by supervisors for the initial and final proposals. Feedback on the final proposal will be given within two weeks and include an annotated checklist with problem (= Fail) areas made explicit. Short verbal feedback on the presentation will be given immediately, followed by written feedback within two weeks, using an annotated checklist. The same system will apply for assessments and reassessments.

As this is a pass/fail assessment all fails are moderated. Failed research proposals and ethics applications are normally moderated by the Programme Leader. Where the supervisor is the Programme Leader, fails are moderated by the Module Leader. Failed presentations are normally moderated by the Module Leader.


Task Length % of module mark
Dissertation Abstract
N/A 1
Ethical Audit
N/A 1
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 1

Module feedback

You will receive feedback in a range of ways throughout this module. This will include oral feedback in class, responses to posts on the VLE discussion board and written comments on work. You will have the chance to obtain feedback on your writing during the module, and you will have a short one-to-one meeting with a module tutor to discuss assessments.

You will be provided physical written feedback on assignment report sheets as well as them being readily available on the VLE. Feedback in the department will take 4 to 6 weeks.

Indicative reading

Bell, J. (2010). Doing your research project: A guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science (5th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. Oxford : Oxford University Press

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morisson, K. (2007). Research methods in education. Routledge[Available as an e-book]

Robson, C. (2011). Real world research : a resource for users of social research methods in applied settings. Chichester : Wiley-Blackwell

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.