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ED60297: Reading paper

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Education
Credits: 18 [equivalent to 36 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 360
Level: Doctoral (FHEQ level 8)
Modular (no specific semester)
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assignment (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: This unit is only available to students on the EdD programme. Director of Studies approval is required. Ordinarily the unit cannot be taken alongside ED60298.
Aims: The unit's aims are to provide students with:
(i) an in-depth understanding of an educational topic/ problem of their choice;
(ii) an understanding of different approaches to the critical assessment of literature;
(iii) experience in effectively linking theoretical debates and educational practice.

Learning Outcomes: Students who complete the unit will be able to:
(i) undertake a critical review of the literature pertaining to their topic of choice, effectively engaging with material from a range of theoretical perspectives;
(ii) evaluate the evidence for, and against, the arguments put forward by different schools of thought;
(iii) extract practical implications from the literature reviewed and assess practical alternatives in their area of study, based on the literature reviewed.

Skills: (i) Apply a systematic and coherent approach to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, information and issues that is well-grounded in existing educational research and literature (intellectual skill)
(ii) Identify and address complex and/or emerging issues in education and make informed judgements in the absence of complete or consistent information (professional/ practical skill)
(iii) Continually develop and enhance participants' own practice and influence the practice of others through critical reflection and practical action with the aim of improving conditions for the development of all involved in the educational enterprise (professional/ practical skill)
(iv) Use networked learning technologies as a means of developing one's own professional practice and scholarship (transferable skill).

Content: In a reading paper the student works with the unit tutor to develop and carry out a critical review of published work or policy documents in a particular area of enquiry which might be related to the student's final research enquiry, or could be quite distinct. The assignment comprises a critical account of this study. The context of the reading paper, the focus of the study and the characteristics of the research are negotiated with the tutor.
Studying by means of a reading paper entails going back to sources upon which the original authors drew, to the sources of those sources, and further back where appropriate, and also to other relevant sets of ideas which are relevant to the arguments that are made. In this way, a reading paper entails a full exploration of the ideas within the series of documents the student has chosen; the result is likely to be in the form of a critical essay which maps the field and, as such, will be of interest to the wider community of scholars.
Only one of the two non-core units can be taken as a reading paper, and the approval of the Director of Studies for Research Students is needed for a unit to be followed in this way. The Director of Studies will need to be satisfied:
* that the students' learning context will allow him/her to work in an appropriate fashion with the unit tutor - this will relate, inter alia, to ease of communication between student and tutor;
* that the student be able to access appropriate academic literature; and
* that the student's working context is appropriate for study in this mode - this will relate, inter alia, to whether the student is likely to be able to effect an empirical study of the kind that is proposed.

Programme availability:

ED60297 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Education


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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