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Research Methods for Education I: Researching Questions - EDU00108M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Liz Thomas
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This is the first of two core Research Methods modules which focus on developing skills in research methodology in the field of Education. The module focuses on the questions that a researcher should consider when planning to carry out research.

Related modules


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • To prepare students to consider the contexts for research in Education;
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the essentials of research in the field of Education, including formulating research questions, literature searching and reviewing, and quantitative and qualitative research design;
  • To familiarise students with a range of research methods and quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques to conduct independent research on educational topics.
  • To familiarise students with how to read research literature and reports in the field of Education with critical analysis, understanding, and insight to assess the strengths and weaknesses of such research.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

At the end of the module, students will:

  • develop a good knowledge and understanding of educational research processes, including research questions, designs, methods, and quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques;
  • be familiar with commonly-used instruments in educational research, including questionnaires, interview schedules, and observation schedules;
  • be able to evaluate the appropriateness of methods and analytical techniques for different research topics and questions;
  • critically describe the strengths and limitations of different data collection methods and analysis techniques;
  • develop a clear understanding of the characteristics of scientifically rigorous educational research.

Academic and graduate skills

At the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • critically evaluate academic arguments as presented in the research literature and reports using a range of methods and techniques;
  • manage a range of sources and critically assess the reliability and validity in informing and supporting academic argumentation.

Module content

Week 2: What is postgraduate research? Introduction to the module and your research project
Week 3: What is already known about the topic? Critically examining the literature to inform your research project
Week 4: How do you develop good research questions? Constructing, critiquing and using research questions and thinking about ethics
Week 5: How do you research attitudes and perceptions? Questionnaire design
Week 6: How do you research opinions and experiences? Interviews and focus groups
Week 7: How do you design a research project? Epistemology, ontology and choice of research methods to answer your research questions
Week 8. Why and how do you use education theory to inform your research? Using education theory to improve your research project
Week 9: How do you analyse quantitative data? Introduction to quantitative data analysis techniques
Week 10: How do you analyse qualitative data? Introduction to qualitative data analysis, and preparation for summative assessment


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open exam : Specific Timeframe Online Examination of 3 hours (time from release to deadline)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will be given the opportunity to take part in a formative mock exam in Week 6 of Autumn Term.


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open exam : Specific Timeframe Online Examination of 3 hours (time from release to deadline)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessments. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 5th Edition

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

Cottrell, S. (2017). Critical thinking skills. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

De Brun, C. (2013). Searching skills toolkit: Finding the evidence. Oxford: BMJ Books.

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.