EDM183-Designing Qualitative and Mixed Method Educational Research

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Jill Porter

Email: j.porter@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is designed to support students at masters and doctoral level, who already have an idea of the topic of their inquiry, with the design of qualitative and mixed methods research. It engages with the particular design decisions that underpins these types of research and encourages students to consider these in relation to their own developing research ideas.


  • Understand values and assumptions underpinning different strategies for qualitative research

  • Recognize the place of theory in relation to different strategies for qualitative research

  • Recognize the ways in which qualitative research strategies can pose particular ethical tensions

  • Understand the ways in which researchers offset potential areas of bias in qualitative research

  • Be familiar with different approaches to the analysis of qualitative data

  • Have knowledge of the ways in which qualitative research can contribute to a mixed methods approach to research

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • define researchable problems and formulate questions appropriate for qualitative research;

  • define and apply the concepts of objectivity, subjectivity and reflexivity in research; and be able to apply this understanding to the conduct and interpretation of  research;

  • articulate the relationships between, and the rationale for, particular qualitative research methods and be able to select and apply appropriate strategies for research;

  • articulate the  issues posed by qualitative research in relation to ethics, confidentiality and legality (including IPR), and respect, consider and attend to the rights of other researchers and research participants;

  • competent in methods of recording, analysing and interpreting qualitative data, including observation and the interpretation of text;

Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • articulate the philosophic and pragmatic debates concerning the relationship of qualitative to quantitative research and be able to devise a coherent strategy for their parallel or combined use;

  • knowledge of different software for analysing qualitative data;

  • Experience of the design of a poster

Outline content:

Introduction- ontology and epistemology in relation to qualitative research strategies; relationship between researcher and researched; Insider:outsider research; quality and qualitative research implications for integrity and ethics;

'Use of theory in qualitative research'

Design decisions and qualitative research;

Ethnographic research

Phenomenology and Interpretive Research

Life History

Case Study research

Action Research

Discourse analysis; grounded theory; narrative analysis

Integrating mixed methods research

Poster design and the dissemination of qualitative research

Data collection tools of observation, interviewing, document analysis

Reporting and presenting qualitative data

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students will be given an overview of the values and assumptions that underpin different types of qualitative and mixed methods research and the ways in which these impact on the design decisions. Teaching will then be based around exemplars, both through discussion with researchers about their design decisions surrounding a particular piece of research and through shared reading of key research articles. Students will, in turn, take the lead on discussions around particular articles and the ways in which it has influenced their own design decisions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 24
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

EITHER: written assignment including essay, OR: produce a poster:

Students can EITHER submit one 3000 approximate word assignment reflecting on the approach taken in a key piece of research and comment how it influenced their own research planning, OR, produce a poster that outlines their research plan with a particular audience in mind (academic, professional or policy maker, together with a brief handout.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will carry out supervised group collaborative tasks and will receive immediate formative feedback on their work.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

Students who fail the assessment will be given the opportunity to re-sit any tests they failed, and to do the coursework assignment for a second time but their overall mark will be capped at 50%.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Suggested text books: There are two course books Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln Y.S. (2011) (Eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage. 3nd Edition. The library holds two copies but also has previous additions.

Cresswell J.W. (2015) A Concise Introduction to Mixed Methods Research. London: Sage.  Cost £19.99. Two additions of this book would be needed. Notably this is a generic text- not specific to educational research and would be of value to other students across the University carrying out social science research. There are earlier texts by the same author which will be supplementary texts.

Specialist equipment or materials: none

Printing and binding:

Students work will be submitted online only

One submission of the best poster/year will be printed: £25

Computers and devices with a particular specification: No specific computer equipment is required for this module.

Travel, accommodation and subsistence: none

Last updated: 19 September 2018


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