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ED50337: Contemporary issues in education research 1: critical users

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Education
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: Completion of this unit, and associated course-work, should enable students to:
* understand the relationship between different kinds of knowledge and forms of explanation in educational research; the drivers of research and the relationships between policy, practice theory and research;
* be familiar with the values and assumptions underpinning different approaches to educational research and understand how they influence research design and issues of bias;
* recognize the tensions as well as the advantages of using mixed methodologies in educational research;
* make considered responses to ethical and quality issues in educational research;
* have an understanding issues of contextualisation, generalisation;
* be able to contribute to seminar discussion through the identification of questions and issues.

Aims: The aims of this unit are to:
* Consider the relationship between research, policy theory and practice in education at the level of classroom, institution and government;
* Explore interpretations of the concept of education and the implications this has for research methodology (ESRC);
* Deepen students knowledge and awareness of different value positions in educational research, identify contested areas and understand the political nature of much research activity;
* Understand the nature of "knowledge claim" and "evidence" and the use of interrogating questions (Wallace and Poulson);
* Consider the responsibilities of the researcher including the ethical issues in educational research within different paradigms;
* Enable the student to communicate, interrogate and discuss research.

* Application of a critical understanding of issues in educational research by evaluating examples of published research (T/A).
* Evaluating the claims of research and theoretical knowledge (T/F/A)
* Problem analysis, research and critical reflection/evaluation (T/F/A)
* Independent work and self-directed learning (F)
* Group and team work (F) (F)
* Written communication (A)
* Skills in communicating research to different audiences (T/F).

* The Politics of research (research in the context of the particular conjunctural moment, why do it, for what purpose, axiology and morality as integrral / central to design)
* The governance of research (political influence, science based evidence etc)
* What constitutes evidence? What constitutes educational theory?
* Relationship of research to policy theory and practice: at classroom, institutional, national levels
* Priorities and values of different commissioners of research
* Understanding value positions in educational research
* Relationship between methodologies, values and criteria used to make judgements about research
* Ethical Issues in educational research and their relationship to issues of epistemology and ontology
* Tensions in the use of mixed methodology
* Research and professional development
* Critical engagement - asking questions
* Research representation, presentation and audience
* The politics of representation (newer, less traditional ways of reporting / performing research).

Programme availability:

ED50337 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Education


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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