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ED60298: Pilot research enquiry

[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 ED60297.
Aims: The unit's aims are to provide participants with a critical understanding of:
(i) the practical issues concerned with the limits and possibilities of educational research as a means of gaining knowledge and understanding of educational systems and processes;
(ii) those principles, theories, techniques and standards of judgement associated with the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative and/ or qualitative data; and a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of such processes;
(iii) the different forms of representation which can be used in the generation of educational theories;
(iv) when it is appropriate to employ particular methodologies and methods, to collect certain types of data, and use particular modes of analysis.

Learning Outcomes: As a result of the development of that critical understanding, participants will be able to:
(i) design, plan and carry out the collection of primary data in order to inform responses to complex educational problems
(ii) make appropriate judgements about which approaches to educational research they can most appropriately use in their own research enquiries so as to meet their own research objectives;
(iii) understand and evaluate the approaches to research described in published papers, and be able to form critical judgements about the worth and effectiveness of such research;
(iv) carry through those enquiries efficiently and effectively, and thus meet the requirements of the EdD degree as a whole.

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) Ability to collect primary data that is suitable for the production of advanced educational research (professional/ practical skill)
(iv) Continually develop and enhance participants' own practice 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)
(v) 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)
(vi) Recognise and judge the value, relevance and reliability of information drawn from multiple sources (theory, research, policy and emerging practice) and interpret that information in ways that cultivate improvements to practical activity and decision-making (professional/ practical skill)
(vii) Use networked learning technologies as a means of developing one's own professional practice and scholarship (transferable skill).

Content: In a pilot research enquiry the student works with the unit tutor to develop and carry out an initial empirical study 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 pilot enquiry, the focus of the study and the characteristics of the research (i.e. its methodological foundations, its methods of enquiry and the data collection mechanisms to be used) are negotiated with the tutor.
Only one of the two non-core units can be taken as a pilot research enquiry, 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:

ED60298 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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