MA International Education (Curriculum and Pedagogy)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Engaging with Education Research

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC60011
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? Yes



Brief Description of this Unit’s Content

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
  • Developing topics in educational research

Theme 3: How can you review and critique the literature?

  • Literature review purpose and practice
  • Evaluating trustworthiness, validity, reliability, and generalisability


Theme 4: Why should education research be taken seriously?

  • Engaging with theory

Impacts and uses of education research



To introduce expectations and practices around reading and reviewing educational research, and systematically processing and reporting on educational research.

Teaching and learning methods

 Each theme will be discussed through lectures and seminars. Students will be expected to complete up to hree 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 or videos
  • Interactive tutorials
  • Readings
  • Short writings based on in class work


Learning Hours:



Hours Allocated

Staff/Student Contact




Private Study


Directed Reading


Assignment Preparation


Total Hours



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



Assignment 1 (40%): a 1000 word critical review of a published research article. They need to critically evaluate the article by should examining its strengths and weaknesses and making recommendations for improving the research design.

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.




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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jessica Gagnon Unit coordinator

Additional notes


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