MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Digital Education Research 2 (Distance Learning)

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC77012
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit is divided into three main components:  

  1. Digital education research designs: 
      • Identifying research problems and developing appropriate research questions
      • Developing a deeper understanding of ethical issues associated with digital education research
      • Conceptual issues involved in digital education research design
  2. Digital education research methods: 
      • Using appropriate frameworks and approaches in the design, conduct and analysis of digital education research 
      • Understanding key concepts of validity, reliability and trustworthiness in relation to specific methods and paradigms used for digital education research
      • Designing data generation instruments for digital education research
      • Generating data using instruments developed for digital education, including sampling strategies
      • Reflecting on theoretical, ethical, and practical implications of data collection and analysis practices


EDUC77012 DTCE DL Conditions (Programme 05872 & 07737)


  1. Enable students to identify and define a research problem, and to subsequently design, develop and complete an independent research project in the field of digital education.
  2. Enable students to demonstrate critical understanding of digital education research design: how research methodology is selected given a problem, how the data are analysed and interpreted; how research is reported; and the implications of the findings to theory, research and practice.
  3. Support students’ research proposal development and pilot studies for dissertation projects.
  4. Enable students to understand the applicability of academic research practices to non-academic contexts.

Learning outcomes



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

  • Articulate an addressable digital education research question.
  • Select appropriate method(s) to investigate a digital education research question and justify this selection.
  • Discuss the relationship between academic research and robust evaluations in digital education practice.
  • Discuss the rationale for and practical experience of ethical approval processes.
  • Understand the range of ethical concerns that inform digital education research study design and practice.

Intellectual skills

  • Critically reflect on their own research designs in relation to wider literature and frameworks.
  • Justify research design in relation to key concepts of validity, reliability, generalisability and trustworthiness in educational research

Practical skills

  • Effectively contribute to debates about educational research in a range of different contexts and from different perspectives.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Persuasively and ethically present findings and related proposals to address specific problem spaces.
  • Analysing practical and ethical implications of digital educational research
  • Use the internet and library resources to research a specific digital education field.
  • Use appropriate software and technology for generating, analysing and communicating data.
  • Problem solve through critically engaging with key theoretical and practical issues around digital education research methods.
  • Work collaboratively with others by productively engaging in collaborative group activities.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Report 70%

Assessment 1: Outline proposal of study design to investigate selected digital education problem space. Assessment 2: Report on pilot study and reflections on challenges and improvements to study design

Feedback methods

 Feedback will be available online via Blackboard

Recommended reading


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.

Ross, J. (2017) Speculative method in digital education research. In Learning, Media and Technology, 42:2, 214-229, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2016.1160927

Savin-Baden, M., Tombs, G. (2017). Research Methods for Education in the Digital Age. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 24
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Amanda Banks Gatenby Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Directed reading 60 hours

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