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IE921-60 Research Methods & Dissertation for Drama & Theatre Education

Education Studies
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Cheryl Cane
Credit value
Module duration
48 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module is the final assessed element for students of the MA in Drama and Theatre Education, taught jointly with students who follow the MA Drama and English Language Teaching. It provides students with an opportunity to synthesise the practical, professional and academic work covered in other modules within the degree; to examine critically existing research within the field of drama education; and to research in depth into a chosen aspect of the theory and practice of drama education.
The MA in Drama and Theatre Education has been successful due to its essentially practical nature. In order to preserve this sufficiently in the restructured MA, the research methods module and dissertation are combined in a way that differs from other Masters courses in the Department of Education Studies.

Module aims

This module, which involves a taught element and individual research supervision, provides students with an opportunity for in-depth enquiry into an aspect of drama and theatre education of personal interest to them. Students will produce at the end of the module a dissertation demonstrating their ability to analyse and synthesise relevant literature; to design and implement an appropriate research strategy; and to analyse, reflect upon and report their findings in line with best academic practice within the field. Students will be required to present coherent arguments supported by relevant theoretical evidence.
The module will provide students with training in research methodologies appropriate to the aims and practices of practical and scholarly research in drama education and will support them in carrying out in-depth investigations. The module will:

  • enable students to engage in a critical reading and analysis of research accounts within the field of drama education;
  • introduce students to relevant research paradigms and related ethical issues;
  • equip students with basic skills in a range of established research strategies and techniques, including questionnaires, interviews, and observation of live and recorded classroom practice;
  • prepare students to frame and refine research questions and to design and execute a research project;
  • introduce students to best academic practice in presenting findings that result from scholarship and research.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

This module includes a taught course relating to research methods before a final stage where an individual research project is completed. Following needs analysis and discussion with tutors, students select either a topic for empirical research within the field of drama and / or theatre education or an area of scholarship related to drama and / or theatre education. Students write a 15,000 word dissertation in consultation with their supervisor. In order to undertake the study, students select and read appropriate theoretical and methodological literature in consultation with their supervisor.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of a specific topic within the field of drama and theatre education
  • Show development of good quality written communication skills
  • Demonstrate use of information technology via analysis of qualitative data, quantitative data, or use of e-resources in the library , e.g. literature searches
  • Demonstrate ability in critical analysis of existing theory and research accounts within the field of drama education
  • Demonstrate ability to understand and articulate new concepts
  • Demonstrate ability to plan and structure a sustained report of research within the field of drama and / or theatre education or a piece of sustained academic scholarship related to drama and / or theatre education
  • Read and critically evaluate research accounts and theoretical arguments
Indicative reading list

Bell, J. (1987) Doing Your Research Project, OUP
Donelan, K. (1999) Towards an Intercultural Aesthetic: ‘The Gods’ Project’ Biography in the NADIE Journal, vol 23, no. 2
Edmiston, B. (1995) Discovering right actions: forging ethical understandings through dialogical interactions in Selected readings in drama and theatre education, Brisbane, Aus, NADIE Publications.
Gallagher K. (2000) Drama Education in the Lives of Girls
Grady, S. (2000) Drama and Diversity, Heinemann
Schon, D. (1986) Educating the Reflective Practitioner (Chapters 1 and 2), Jossey Bass
Somers, J. (1996) The nature of learning in drama in education in Drama and Theatre in Education: Contemporary Research, North York, Ontario: Captus Press.
Stake, R. (1995) The Art of Case Study Research, London, Sage
Taylor, P. (ed.) (1996) Researching Drama and Arts Education, Falmer.
Read Introduction; Chapters 1 – 3; Chapters 8 – 11; Afterword
Taylor, P. (2000) The Drama Classroom, London, Routledge,
Wagner, BJ (ed.) (1998) Educational Drama and Language Arts: What Research Shows, Heinemann
Winston, J. (1998) Drama, Narrative and Moral Education, Falmer
Read Introduction and Chapters 1, 6, 7, 9
Yin, R. (2003) Case Study Research: Method and Design, Sage

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

With guidance from supervisors, students undertake a short piece of empirical research or a desk-based study related to drama and theatre education. Students can choose to operate as a teacher/researcher, a performer / researcher or alternatively can study the practice of an established arts / education practitioner. The resultant dissertation will be a 15,000 word document.

Subject specific skills

Subject specific / professional skills

  • Examine, evaluate and deploy the findings of empirical research project with in the field of drama / theatre in education.
  • Critically evaluate the claims of existing theory and research accounts within the field of drama education.
  • Reflect upon the ethics of studying aspects of drama and theatre education.
  • Generate and explore suitable research questions
  • Use research strategies and techniques appropriate to their chosen field of inquiry.
  • Carry out empirical or desk-based studies ethically.
  • Use appropriate methods of data collection carefully matched to appropriate research questions.
  • Analyse data effectively.
  • Demonstrate an ability to present their findings in an appropriate form.
Transferable skills
  • Active listening ·  Analysis and decision making ·         Attitudes and aptitudes for work ·         Cognitive flexibility ·         Communication skills ·         Complex problem solving ·         Confidence ·         Coordinating with others ·         Creativity ·         Critical thinking ·      Data handling .   Emotional intelligence ·   Initiative and also follow instructions ·         Intellectual ability ·         Cultural awareness ·         Interpersonal and communication ·         Knowledge of chosen job/career (teaching / research / theatre) ·   Leadership in drama theatre education ·         Literacy ·         Motivation, tenacity, commitment ·         Negotiation · Passion - Performance skills ·   Personal development skills ·         Persuading/influencing ·         Planning and organisational skills ·         Problem solving ·         Reasoning ·         Self-management/resilience ·         Team working

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 2 hours (3%)
Project supervision 10 sessions of 30 minutes (1%)
Private study 575 hours (96%)
Total 600 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Dissertation 100%

15,000 word dissertation

Feedback on assessment

Standard Education Studies feedback form through Tabula

Post-requisite modules

If you pass this module, you can take:

  • EQ943-60 Dissertation

There is currently no information about the courses for which this module is core or optional.