MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Digital Education Research 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC70441
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No



• What is educational research (and why do it)?

• Defining what we mean by research on 'digital education'

• The link between research problems and research questions

• Research impact and the relationship to policy and practice

• Conceptual issues involved in educational research design

Introducing digital education research methods:

• Introducing frameworks and approaches used in the design, conduct and analysis of digital education research

• Considering the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative, qualitative, mixedmethod and other digital education research methods through 'case studies' of existing practice

• Exploring theoretical, ethical, and practical implications of data collection and

Critically engaging with digital education literature:

• Searching for and identifying existing digital education research, considering systematic strategies for searching research literature.

• The importance of criticality when considering research

• Critiquing existing research on digital education

• Exploring how concepts of transferability, generalisability, researcher positionality and research limitations apply to digital education research

Note, this unit is intended to be a precursor to Digital Education Research 2 (Semester II) which
will focus in greater detail on concepts and issues raised in addition to supporting students to
develop further knowledge needed to plan, design and execute an independent research project.





(1) Introduce the key principles, debates, and practices of research methods in the field of digital education.

(2) Develop foundational knowledge and understanding relating to the design, conduct and analysis of research in digital education.

(3) Promote critical engagement with quantitative, qualitative, mixed method and other digital education research strategies to develop an understanding of key methodological strengths and weaknesses.

(4) Provide the foundation for further study during Semester II (Digital Education Research 2: DER2) and later dissertation. 


Teaching and learning methods

Onsite/FT and DL/PT mode learning and teaching processes will include a combination of lecture and seminar style sessions, to include asynchronous introductory lecture by the course tutor, in-class discussions, small group activities, presentations, critical reading, case studies, as well as self-directed work and reading outside of class, including online materials and activities through blended learning.

Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate an understanding of how research problems and questions relating to digital education might be addressed by different methodological/analytical approaches.

Demonstrate an awareness of academic conventions in the presentation of qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method and other digital education research. 

Demonstrate an understanding of digital education research design: how data may be collected, analysed and interpreted; how research can be reported; and the implications of transferring findings to theory, research and practice.

Intellectual skills

Critique others’ research accounts and considering connections with other DTCE units.

Understand the centrality of researcher(s) in generating qualitative, quantitative and other digital education research.

Understand key concepts of validity, reliability, generalisability and trustworthiness in digital education research.

Practical skills

Demonstrate an ability to locate - and critically analyse – existing academic research on digital education.

Effectively contribute to debates about digital education research in different contexts and from different perspectives.

Recognise the applicability of practical skills used to solve research problems - for instance, which reflect a design and evaluation perspective - to their other academic/professional work

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Written communication; by explaining and defending their understanding of existing literature and digital education research approaches.

Information Technology; use the internet and library resources to research their chosen field as well as have access to other appropriate software and technology that may assist in the generation and analysis of research.

Problem solving; critically considering how to respond to key theoretical and practical issues associated with digital education research methods.

Working with others; by productively engaging in collaborative group activities.



Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Report 40%

Feedback methods

Via Blackboard

Recommended reading

Bryman, A. (2015). Social Research Methods (5th ed). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Coe, R., Waring, M., Hedges, L. V., & Ashley, L. D. (Eds.). (2021). Research methods and methodologies in education. Sage.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education (7th edition). London: Routledge Falmer. 

Creswell, J. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed). Sage.

Hine, C., Watson, H., Snee, H., Roberts, S. and Morey, Y. (Eds). (2016). Digital Methods for Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Research Innovation. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan

Laurillard, D. (2013). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. Routledge.

Savin-Baden, M., & Tombs, G. (2017). Research methods for education in the digital age. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 150
Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Louis Major Unit coordinator
Amanda Banks Gatenby Unit coordinator

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