EDM183-Designing Qualitative and Mixed Method Educational Research

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Elizabeth Mccrum
Email: e.m.mccrum@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:

  • 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.;

Additional outcomes:

  • 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;

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;

  • An Introduction to a range of qualitative methods of data collection and analysis for example:

  • Life Hi story;

  • Case Study research;

  • Action Research;

  • Discourse analysis;

  • Grounded theory;

  • Narrative analysis;

  • Integrating mixed methods 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 be based around exemplars, both through discussion with researchers about their design decisions surrounding a particular piece of research and through shared presentations and readings.  Teaching will be a combination for asynchronously delivered online materials and synchronous taught sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 24
Seminars 6
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 100
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Preparation for tutorials 10
    Essay preparation 50
Total hours by term 0 0 200
Total hours for module 200

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:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

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):

1) 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.

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

Students work will be submitted online only

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

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

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 


Last updated: 28 October 2021


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