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EQ201-30 Research Methods

Education Studies
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Rebecca Morris
Credit value
Module duration
20 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module tackles the nature of qualitative and quantitative research as a method of inquiry in education, introducing students to the theoretical and methodological knowledge that underpins both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in education. Different types of research designs, i.e., experimental, quasi-experimental and survey designs, are presented, with the advantages and disadvantages of experimental and non-experimental research designs discussed. The process of constructing questionnaires and interview schedules will be present and illustrated with examples, while naturalistic observation will be discussed as a way of collecting qualitative data. Practical advice will be provided on literature reviews, from locating and accessing sources, to making notes, synthesising information, and writing up.

Module web page

Module aims

Understanding the process of formulation of research questions and hypotheses;
Consideration about the theoretical paradigms and methodological underpinnings that inform the development of the research design;
Appreciation of the need to match the research questions to appropriate research methodologies;
Justification for employing quantitative/qualitative research methods, recognising their strengths and limitations in education;
Development of instruments for qualitative and quantitative data
collection (eg, questionnaires; interview schedules, observation schedules);
Develop research, analytical and methodological and ICT skills cognisant with the wider degree and appropriate to the discipline.

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.

The nature of qualitative and quantitative research as a method of inquiry in education - to introduce students to theoretical and methodological knowledge that underpin both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in education.
Different types of research designs, i.e., experimental, quasi-experimental and survey designs - to present and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of experimental and non-experimental research designs, the key issues with regard to sampling, generalisability, validity and reliability, and provide examples from research studies for illustration purposes.
The development and implementation of data collection procedures, questionnaires, interviews and observations - to present and provide examples to illustrate the process of constructing questionnaires and interview schedules. Also, naturalistic observation will be discussed as a way of collecting qualitative data.
Case Studies and ethnography in qualitative research - to introduce students to case studies and ethnography as a way of collecting rich, contextualised data.
To discuss the ethical and practical considerations of researching, particularly in relation to vulnerable groups with an emphasis on the voice of such groups and insider /outsider perspectives.
To provide practical advice on the process of doing a literature review in terms of the importance of doing a lit review; locating and accessing sources; making notes and synthesising the information; and writing up.
To discuss issues regarding the ethics and legal requirements when doing research. Specifically, issues regarding confidentiality, anonymity and informed consent will be discussed.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Describe and apply theoretical and methodological understandings underpinning research and key issues regarding research designResearch skills appropriate to the discipline: quantitative, qualitative and library based, written and oral communication, textual analysis as and where appropriate.ICT Presentational and research skillsAnalyse and articulate key theoretical concepts relating to the process of conducting research, the nature of knowledge and ethical and legal issues involved in researching in an education field Develop research skills and methods appropriate to conducting qualitative and quantitative research;Synthesise, interrogate and analyse issues related to research as a method of inquiry.Appropriate this knowledge and understanding to formulating research questions and developing research designs.Recognise the advantages and disadvantages of certain methods for data collection and analyses.
Indicative reading list

Bell, J. (2010) Doing your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science. Fifth Edition. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education, Open University Press.
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods. Third Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Christensen, P. and James, A. (Eds.) (2008) Research with Children. Perspectives and Practices. London: Routledge.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K (2011). Research Methods in Education, 7th Ed, London: RoutledgeDenscombe, M. (2010) The Good Research Guide for Small Scale Social Research Projects. 4th Edition. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education, Open University Press.
Creswell, J. (2013) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. 4th Edition. London: Sage
Greig, A., Taylor, J. and MacKay, T. (2012) Doing Research with Children. Third Edition. London: Sage.
Harcourt, D., Perry, B. and Waller, T. (eds.) (2011) Researching Young Children's Perspectives. Debating the Ethics of Educational Research with Children.
Lewis, A. and Lindsay, G. (2000) Researching Children’s Perspectives. Buckingham, Oxford University Press.
Mac Naughton, G., Rolfe, S. A. and Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2010) Doing Early Childhood Research. International Perspectives on Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education, Open University Press.
Muijs, D (2004). Doing quantitative research in education with SPSS. London: Sage.
Punch, K. (2009) Introduction to Research Methods in Education. London: Sage
Roberts-Holmes, G. (2011) Doing Your Early Years Research Project. A Step-by-Step Guide. 2nd Edition. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education, Open University Press.
Robson, C. (2011) Real World Research. A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers. Third Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
Scott, D., and Usher, R. (1996). Understanding Educational Research, London: Routledge.

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

This module prepares students to complete their own small-scale empirical research project for one of the assessments. Students learn about a range of research approaches, designs and methods. They also explore the philosophical, theoretical and practical issues related to conducting social sciences/education research.


This module introduces students to research from a range of disciplines (sociology, economics, psychology etc). Students are encouraged to consider the different methodological approaches used in this research and to consider the most appropriate theoretical and empirical approaches to take for their own projects.

Subject specific skills

Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of -

  • the underlying values, theories and concepts relevant to education
  • the diversity of learners and the complexities of the education process
  • the complexity of the interaction between learning and local and global contexts, and the extent to which participants (including learners and teachers) can influence the learning process
  • the societal and organisational structures and purposes of educational systems, and the possible implications for learners and the learning process
  • constructively critique theories, practice and research in the area of education.
Transferable skills
  • Analysis and decision making
  • Application of numeracy
  • Attitudes and aptitudes for work
  • Basic numeracy skills
  • Communication skills
  • Complex problem solving
  • Confidence
  • Coordinating with others
  • Data handling
  • Initiative and also follow instructions
  • Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Management of learning
  • Motivation, tenacity, commitment
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Positive attitudes to work
  • Stakeholder and organisational awareness

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 30 sessions of 1 hour (15%)
Seminars 30 sessions of 1 hour (15%)
Private study 140 hours (70%)
Total 200 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 do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
4000 word assignment 60% 60 hours

Students plan, carry out and report a small-scale research study on an education-related topic of their choice.

2000 word research proposal 40% 40 hours

2000 word research proposal based upon a brief delivered by a professional from the world of education (e.g. a head teacher, policymaker, university staff member).

Feedback on assessment

Written and verbal feedback on assignments.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UEQA-X35B Undergraduate Education Studies