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The University of Southampton

EDUC6446 Level 7 Dissertation

Module Overview

This module is a 30 ECT (60 CAT) independent research project which allows you to embark on a program of independent reading, writing and refinement of your research proposal that will help prepare you for working on your PhD project during the second and subsequent years of the program. This 30-credit assessment is coursework-only and consists of three elements: - submission of a refined or redeveloped version of your research proposal (up to 6,000 words) focusing predominantly on a detailed outline of your intended methodology - a single 6-8,000 word report written in the style of a journal article - presentation of the work that is contained in the report (possibly as part of a project mini-conference) Your work for the module report may consist of a substantial section of literature review in an area that is well connected to your intended research for the Integrated PhD. You may, if you wish, include an empirical research component, as part of the work for the module report, although it is not a requirement to do so. An examples of empirical work of suitable scale and scope would be attempting to undertake some modest pilot work relevant to your proposed study, or to conduct a validation of a specific research instrument that forms part of the data collection for your proposed study. Important dates for the module There are three major milestones: submission of the revised/redeveloped research proposal, submission of a draft version of your module report for formative feedback, and submission of the final module report for assessment. You should agree these submission dates with your supervisor at the outset. All work needs to be completed and submitted by the end of Semester 1 in Year 2 of the Integrated PhD.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental writing and research skills.
  • Analyse and summarise the work of others in a relevant context.
  • Apply standard techniques to achieve satisfactory performance in writing and presentation skills within Education/the Social Sciences.
  • Demonstrate an improved awareness of how to communicate the context of research with emphasis on the relevance to an audience
  • Display an improved ability to communicate research findings to internal and external audiences.
  • Precis and critique the work of others.
  • Study and learn independently, solve problems systematically.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the process of writing an academic paper.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure and writing style required for academic papers.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to communicate in the context of research.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to tailor your communication to a specialist or non-specialist audience.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key components of selecting and summarising contextual academic papers of relevance to your discipline within the field of Education.
  • Appreciate and critique theoretical perspectives.
  • Critically review appropriate research literature.
  • Determine criteria for a desired communication with a particular audience.


To allow you to develop and demonstrate mastery of an advanced aspect of research relevant to your research, including critical evaluation of current research and research methods, and an awareness of the current limits of knowledge in this aspect of the field of Education. Contact time will consist of a mix of workshops focusing on reviewing the research skills associated with the project and supervision meetings. You will be supported by at least one supervisor, based on your declared interests. Together you must agree on a research area that is relevant to your PhD and of appropriate scale and scope, and decide on a set of materials to draw upon. These materials should include significant articles relevant to the chosen topic and may also include attending classes taught as part of relevant modules that are being delivered concurrently, where the agreement of the module leader(s) has been obtained. Between them, these materials should provide a representative background to the chosen research area, allowing you to carry out a critical review of it. In many cases this research exercise will allow you to explore and familiarise yourself with a new domain and/or new set of methods. Your research report should be written up in the style of a self-contained journal article indicating the background to the topic, the approaches that have been taken and the methods that have been applied, and an evaluation of these approaches and methods, indicating any outstanding unsolved issues and problems. Additional materials that cannot be included in the body of the "journal paper" (e.g., extended literature review, additional figures, extended discussions, technical appendices) may be included in one or more appendices that do not count towards the word count. You are recommended to follow the following structure, or similar, for your research project report: - Articulation of research question/problem area - Context/literature review - Research methodology - Project outcome/results - Critical appraisal and evaluation - References - Appendices as required This project is not required to have an empirical research element but may do so. It might be appropriate, for example: - to conduct some modest scale pilot work relevant to your PhD proposal - to validate a specific research instrument for use in collecting data as part of your proposed PhD study - to replicate and/or extend work from one or more of your surveyed articles

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will include tutorials and problem solving. Learning activities include directed reading, case studies, student directed problem solving and presentations, peer-to-peer learning networks to facilitate cohort cohesion.

Independent Study470
Total study time500

Resources & Reading list

Wengraf, T (2002). Qualitative Research Interviewing. 

Neuendorf, K (2002). The Content Analysis Guidebook. 

Creswell, J (2002). Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 

Fink, A (1998). Conducting Research Literature Reviews. 

Bell, J (2005). Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 

Rubin, I., & Rubin, H (2005). Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data. 

Wragg, E (1999). An Introduction to Classroom Observation. 

Lichtman, M (2010). Qualitative Research in Education- A User's Guide. 

Krippendorff, K (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. 

McNiff, J., & Whitehead, J (2002). Action Research: Principles and Practice.. 

Guba, E., & Lincoln, Y (1998). Competing paradigms in Qualitative research. In Denzin, N. & Lincoln,Y. (eds). The Landscape of Qualitative Research: Theories and Issues. 

Patton, M (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. 

Strauss, A. and J. Corbin (1990). Basics of Qualitative Research. 

Punch, K (2009). Introduction to Research methods in Education. 

Willig, C (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology. 

Hopkins, D (2002). A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Research. 

Kvale, S (2008). Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. 

Oppenheim, A (2000). Questionnaire Design. 

Fink, A (2009). How to conduct Surveys: A Step by Step Guide. 

Yin, R (2004). The Case Study Anthology. 

Muijs, D (2004/8). Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 20%
Report  (8000 words) 40%
Research proposal  ( words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 80%
Presentation 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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