MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Engaging with Education Research (Distance)

Unit code EDUC77201
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
Offered by Education
Available as a free choice unit? No


The sessions are grouped in relation to 4 overall themes.  


Theme 1: What is educational research?

  • Research design
  • Reading qualitative and quantitative research
  • Becoming critical


Theme 2: What kinds of topics can be researched in education?

  • Learning about current research projects – showcase
  • Developing topics
  • Peer review


Theme 3: How can you review the literature?

  • Literature review purpose and practice
  • Systematic review approaches
  • Determining trustworthiness


Theme 4: Why should education research be taken seriously?

  • Engaging with theory
  • Impacts and uses of education research


EDUC77201 DTCE DL Conditions (Programme 05872 & 07737)


' To understand literature review as a research methodology.
- To understand the role of literature searches and reviews in relation to educational research.
- To understand ways in which to structure a literature review.
- To discuss and communicate in writing reactions to and understanding of educational research papers, and concerns regarding the acceptability of given conclusions in educational research papers. This will include the understanding of research design, statistical information, and validity in research.
- To provide students with the opportunity to develop their critical evaluation skills.
- To develop specific skills related to the finding and retrieval of information.
- To provide participants with an opportunity to review a specific area of education.

Teaching and learning methods

Each theme will be started with a lecture, followed by two smaller group seminars. Students will be expected to complete up to two hours of preparatory work before each face-to-face session (including readings) and up to an hour of follow-up work. Each week students should expect to spend 3 hours of independent study time on this module. Students will be placed in study groups to gain support in completing these tasks and will be expected to work collaboratively within these groups.

 Preparatory work is likely to include:

  • Pre-recorded lectures
  • Interactive tutorials
  • Readings

 Follow-up work is likely to include:

  • Participating in discussion boards
  • Completing short writing tasks based on in-class work
  • Quizzes

Learning Hours:

Activity Hours Allocated
Staff/Student Contact 22
Tutorials 1
Private Study 27
Directed Reading 40
Assignment Preparation 31
Total Hours 150

This course is aligned with the weekly PGT Study Skills workshops. It is expected that students will use these workshops as an opportunity to apply and develop the knowledge and skills introduced in this module, as appropriate to their needs.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of literature sources and issues related to data retrieval and use.
  • Have an enhanced appreciation of critical reading.
  • Structure the writing and presentation of a small scale literature review.

Intellectual skills

  • Critique research accounts;
  • Understand key concepts of validity, reliability and trustworthiness in qualitative research.
  • Process and present information in an appropriate format.

Practical skills

  • Effectively contribute to debates about educational research in a range of different contexts and from different perspectives.
  • Conduct a small scale literature review in a systematic manner

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Conceptual and analytical skills.
  • Information handling.
  • Group working.

Assessment methods

The assignment is split over the two parts of the course unit.

Assessment task

Word Length or Equivalent

Weighting within unit

A critical review of an article draft.

1000 words


A critical literature review

2000 words


Completion of study tasks



Assignment 1 (30%): a 1000 word critical review of an article draft. Students will be given a draft of an article written by a junior member of staff or PhD student in MIE. They need peer-review and constructive criticism to help them get the article published. The critical review should examine the strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations for how they can improve the research and the article.

Assignment 2 (60%): a 2,000 word critical literature review in relation to your area of interest.  As well as providing a substantive review of the literature it should include an explanation of how sources were chosen and why - for example, what parameters were set and what search terms used and why.  Critical reflections on lessons learnt about carrying out a literature review should be included within the assignment.

Completion of study tasks (10%): students will also be marked on the completion of the 11 weekly study tasks – preparatory and follow-up. These are marked on a pass/fail basis so completing all the weekly tasks will achieve 100%.



Feedback methods

Students will receive feedback online on Blackboard

Recommended reading

Ball, S.J., Bowe, R. & Gewirtz, S. (1996) School choice, social class and distinction: the realization of social advantage in education, Journal of Education Policy, 11:1, 89-112,

Evans, J. and Benefield, P. (2001) Systematic reviews of educational research: does the medical model fit? British Educational Research Journal 27, 527-41.

Hammersley, M. (2001) On ‘systematic’ reviews of research literatures: a ‘narrative’ response to Evans and Benefield. British Educational Research Journal 27, 543-54.

Robson, C. (1993) Real world research. Oxford: Blackwell.

Tooley, J. (1997) On School Choice and Social Class: a response to Ball, Bowe and Gewirtz, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 18:2, 217-230

Skrtic, T.M. (1985)  Doing naturalistic research into educational organizations.  In Lincoln, Y.S. (Ed.) Organisational theory and inquiry. London: Sage.

Wallis, M. and Wray, A. (2006) Critical reading and writing for postgraduates. London: Sage

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sylvie Lomer Unit coordinator
Susie Miles Unit coordinator
Pauline Prevett Unit coordinator
Maria Pampaka Unit coordinator
Kirstin Kerr Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This is a core unit for MA in Digital Techologies, Communications and Education Distance Learning Students.

Return to course details