Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Research Methods
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hours
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 2 hours. Seminars 1 & 2: Planning for oral presentation of draft research proposal
Practical 1 x 3 hours. Oral presentation of draft research proposal


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written assignment  6,750-word written assignment  50%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  Oral presentation based on a draft research proposal  20%
Semester Assessment Written assignment  4,000-word written assignment (draft research proposal)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Written assignment  All failed elements of the assessments must be re-taken if the student’s average mark falls below the required pass mark of 50%. 1 x 6,750-word written assignment (new title)   50%
Supplementary Assessment Oral presentation  Oral presentation based on a draft research proposal (new presentation)  20%
Supplementary Assessment Written assignment  4,000-word written assignment (new draft research proposal)  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Show a critical understanding of different approaches to the design and conduct of social science research

Make informed choices of different research methods that are appropriate to the research questions being addressed in their own work;

Write a viable proposal for a small scale social science research project;

Show a sound grasp of the ethical principles governing current research practice involving children.

Demonstrate justification of their proposed methodology from the research methods literature;


The main purpose of this module is to provide a broad foundation in the methodologies of educational research and to raise awareness of the issues associated with the selection of different methodologies.

The main aims of this module are to:
• Provide an introduction to a range of research methods commonly employed in social science research;
• Consider research in a variety of social science perspectives and settings that will include family, school-based as well as other work-based settings;
• Consider issues related to: (a) research design and the formulation of research questions in different types of social science research; (b) quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis;
• Encourage and develop critical approaches to the reading of the social science research literature;
• Address the specific ethical principles governing research in a social science context and particularly where children are involved;
• Guide the students in the planning of a small scale research project.


Lectures/workshops will include the following topics:

1. Quantitative approaches to social science research – an overview plus questionnaire design.
2. Qualitative approaches to social science research – an overview plus designing and conducting semi-structured interviews.
3. Critical reading of the research literature and use of library resources/databases for research.
4. Research ethics and the responsibilities of researchers and use of the Web for social science research. Specific ethical principles governing research involving children.
5. Historical and archival research in social science. Linking research design to the planning a research project. Writing a research proposal.
6. Planning and carrying out a small scale survey. Introduction to statistical analysis and SPSS.
7. Research on teaching/learning processes. Observing and recording talk across settings (with a audio or video recorder).
8. Approaches to the analysis of settings discourse. Transcribing and analysing discourse.
9. Approaches to evaluation in educational and wider non-educational contexts. Analysis of qualitative data (e.g. interview transcripts) using a software package.
10. Approaches to the analysis of media images and texts. Thesis writing.

Seminars 1 & 2: Planning for oral presentation of draft research proposal

11. Oral presentation of draft research proposal

Brief description

This module will provide an overview of the different kinds of research undertaken on or about or with or by children and will draw on the categories of research by Johnson and Christensen (2008). The categories of research addressed will include: basic research, applied research, evaluation research, action research, and orientational research. In doing so, the module will proceed to draw on the work of researchers from a variety of social science perspectives and settings (family, pre-school to include non-school based Early Years settings, school, Children’s Services, and work-based) in order to demonstrate how they have set about to carry out research into children’s experience. A significant element of this module will be the consideration of the specific ethical principles governing research involving children. Whilst considering the ethical issues surrounding children’s participation in research we will specifically address this from the perspective of involving children in both primary as well as secondary research. This module will look into research strategies and approaches to research design that are associated with the different categories of research, including case studies, practitioner-based action research, classroom and community-based ethnography, research into classroom processes and teacher-learner interaction and small-scale survey work.. Whilst considering action research we will define the practitioner-researcher role as well as what constitutes an action research cycle and links will be made with data collection approaches used in evaluation research. Overall, focus will be place on the different stages of the research process, including the justification of research questions, framing hypotheses (where relevant), sampling, data collection, preparation of data for analysis and data analysis to include both quantitative and qualitative. In the case of the latter both grounded and a priori approaches will be covered Throughout this module, there will be an emphasis on critical reading of published social science research, on ways of interpreting the results of different types of research and on the need for awareness of the ways in which different approaches to research design have a bearing on the views of users and work-based practitioners. There will also be an emphasis on the need to take account of the social and cultural contexts in which the research is conducted.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number An introductory workshop on statistical analysis and the use of SPSS will be offered.
Communication Students will be expected to take an active part in the workshop discussions and oral presentation (assessed). In their assignments, the students will be expected to demonstrate the capacity for critical thinking and an awareness of the issues which underpin methodological choices in social science research. They should also develop a familiarity with the different genres used in research e.g. research proposals, reviews of the literature, and sections of a thesis.
Improving own Learning and Performance Whilst this is not a formal component of the module, students will be offered ample opportunity to talk about their learning with both the tutors and their peers. Detailed feedback on oral and written assignments will be provided as a matter of course
Information Technology A workshop on the ‘Use of the Web for Social Science Research’ will be offered. All assignments will be word-processed. Students will be required to produce and deliver a PowerPoint presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to equip the students with the necessary research skills and to prepare them to plan a small-scale research project.
Problem solving In preparing for a viable proposal for a small scale social science research project.
Research skills Students will be expected to access and retrieve information from a variety of different sources (books, journals, on-line) in preparation for both workshop discussion and written work. Bibliographic skills, data analysis, critical reading of the research literature and analytical methods all play an integral part in this module.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work The oral presentation workshop will provide opportunities for students to present interim research plans to other participants and receive informal feedback from tutors.


This module is at CQFW Level 7