Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Orientation in Professional Research
Academic Year
Semester 1
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Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a systematic reflection on the student’s professional experience.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of practitioner-led enquiry, action research methodologies, and the ethical position of the practitioner-researcher;
3. Critically evaluate the nature, quality and validity of evidence and its application to practice;
4. Consider and evaluate implications of research findings for future development both personally and within their profession;

Brief description

This module aims to ensure that DProf students embarking upon their pilot studies and final theses or professional practice portfolios will be fully prepared to do so, and possess a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of methodological frameworks and specific methods used in work-based research. The module will begin by introducing participants to key principles in professional practice and work-based research, and then move on to look in further detail at specific forms of inquiry, and their theoretical underpinnings, including action research, ‘insider’ or practitioner-led inquiry, practice-based inquiry, as well as examining in detail some of the distinctive methodological features of these. The second part of the module will look in greater detail at practical considerations facing the work-based researcher, and consider literature reviews, positionality in work-based research.


This module is the core of one of the 60 credit block of the MProf, that provides the basis for moving on to complete a DProf. The module is designed to ensure that students have a full understanding of key concepts in work-based research and inquiry, and are fully equipped to undertake their subsequent research projects in their workplace contexts. It introduces students to a number of key methodological frameworks in work-based research, including action research, practitioner-led enquiry, reflective learning and experiential learning.


This module works on the principle of reflecting on the student’s professional practice, and beginning the task of putting that reflection into a critical context.

To this end, the module will have 20 hours of face to face contact, building towards a professional biography in which students systematically evaluate their professional experience, and 1 x 3,000 word essay in which this experience is reflected upon within a critical context.
1. Reflecting on my professional identity and aspirations.
2. Introduction to Theories of Professional Practice, and Communities of Practice.
3. Preparation for Assignment 1 - the professional biography.
4. Introduction to Work-based Research – Pioneers, Principles and Practices.
5. Action Research – the theoretical basis and methodological frameworks.
6. Leadership and professional development.
7. Preparation for Assignment 2 (critical evaluation essay).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Quantitative approaches to collecting and analyzing data will be addressed in the module, and students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of these in their assessed task.
Communication Communication is core to effective completion of the module. Academic and professional spoken communication will be developed throughout face-to-face elements, but not assessed. Written communication will be developed throughout written assessments, online discussion board activities, and assessed through written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance This is core to the module, and will be achieved through a systematic evaluation of the student’s professional experience.
Information Technology Much of the academic content of the module will be accessed using ICT, as will many of the seminar discussions, and supervision sessions. Written assignments will be word-processed. Management and protection of data will also be addressed during the module.
Personal Development and Career planning This is core to the module and will be achieved through a systematic evaluation of the student’s professional experience.
Problem solving Through applying critical literature to professional experience.
Research skills Students will be expected to access and retrieve information from a variety of different sources (books, journals, online). Bibliographic skills, data analysis, critical reading of research literature and analytical methods all play an integral part in this module.
Team work This skill-set will inevitably developed during seminars, but will not be assessed.


This module is at CQFW Level 7