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The University of Southampton

EDUC6447 Making Sense of Education Research

Module Overview

This is the first module in your studies and therefore for most people becomes an introduction to studying at masters level. The intention is that you will gain the skills to effectively read, understand and critique current research in the field of education; helping you become a critical consumer of research as a practitioner. You will use these important skills in your other modules and during your dissertation.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise and situate research in the field of education.
  • Understand and debate the philosophies that underpin education research.
  • Critically evaluate the dominant research designs and methods in education.
  • Compare and contrast current research in the field of education.
  • Evaluate and use a variety of methods to present and discus the findings of research.


The content of the module will typically cover: - Searching for education research - Criticality and reflection in reading and writing about education research - Understanding the research design process - Recognising the underpinning philosophical perspectives for research designs - Reliability and validity in research - Identifying and critiquing research questions in published research - Constructing a critical analysis of a body of research - Presenting research

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is taught entirely online. A typical ‘lesson’ would include: - Lectures - delivered live via the University’s web conferencing system (Adobe Connect) or as pre-prepared videos - Lecture notes - written by the module tutors - Selected readings - from the prescribed core texts - Written tasks – submitted via private blogs or discussion forums - Online activities - such as quizzes and tests - Individual and Group tutorials – via Skype (individual) or Adobe Connect (groups)

Wider reading or practice50
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Follow-up work18
Practical classes and workshops6
Completion of assessment task60
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

McEwan, E. K., & McEwan, P. J. (2003). Making sense of research: What's good, what's not, and how to tell the difference. (Core Textbook). 

Punch, K. & Oancea, A. (2014). Introduction to research methods in education. (Core Textbook). 

Extra Readings. During each lesson you will be directed to related readings from other textbooks and journal articles to enhance and extend your understanding of the topics under discussion. All of these resources will be available electronically via the University's library



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Core textbook Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available electronically on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Please note that the vast majority of readings are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line.

Travel Costs for placements

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees). Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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