Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Methods and Skills

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Education Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit consists of topics related to philosophical inquiry and reflection, feminist epistemologies and research, ethical guidelines, as well as qualitative and quantitative research methods in the domain of inclusive education. The study unit also includes topics related to the use of software for computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) and how to conduct quantitative data analysis.

The first part of the study-unit will introduce students to the main methods of philosophical inquiry into inclusive education. These include the reading and writing of texts and discourses, philosophical analysis of educational theories, policies or documents, philosophical discussion about educational practices or pedagogies, the analyses and deconstructive approaches to text. The lectures will explore instances where philosophical inquiry is pursued through a more active engagement with researcher participants through conversations and narrative inquiry.

The second part of the study-unit will introduce students to qualitative research methods. Students will be introduced to the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research, to main methods such as case study research, ethnographic observation and interview, focus group interview, action research, narrative inquiry, and participatory and arts-based methods in inclusive educational settings. The appropriate method for different types of participants ( children, parents, teachers, support staff, etc.) and setting (school, home, individual programme) and the issue of research rights, representation and voice will permeate the course.

The third section of the study-unit will introduce the Bachelor of Arts in Facilitating Inclusive Education students to the core concepts of quantitative research methods and statistical analysis. The main focus will be on the understanding and development of research skills required for questionnaire design, data collection, data management and statistical analysis of collected data. Through a hands-on approach, students will also learn how to use the well-known proprietary (SPSS) and open-source software for statistical analysis of quantitative and mixed method data.

Study-unit Aims:

1. Engage students in processes of knowledge-based and applied research activities guided by the highest ethical and professional standards in the domain of inclusive education;
2. Introduce Bachelor of Arts in Facilitating Inclusive Education students to the process of developing applied qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies;
3. Introduce students to research methods and effective evidence-based practice that can facilitate inclusive education;
4. Engage students in an active examination of teaching practice with research methods for questions in the area of promoting inclusive education;
5. Enlarge teachers’ knowledge of philosophical modes of inquiry into educational practices, policies, documents and pedagogies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Implant the purpose and the main epistemological approaches to the applied research in the domain of facilitating inclusive education;
2. Examine the core components of applied research practices and research ethics in the field of inclusive education;
3. Review and describe various approaches to applied applied philosophical, qualitative and quantitative studies in the area of inclusive education;
4. Examine the research process, including research design, data collection and analysis;
5. Analyse and evaluate results of research studies in the field of inclusive education;
6. Explore philosophical texts in problematising ideas about inclusive education, educational practices, policies and pedagogies.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Discuss ethical and other research-related issues in the domain of inclusive education;
2. Identify research processes and responsibilities of researchers who work with vulnerable populations;
3. Analyse and formulate a critique of research studies in the domain of inclusive education;
4. Apply methodological knowledge and skills to develop research instruments for data collection;
5. Conduct small-scale studies, as well as analyze and interpret the collected data;
6. Conduct critical and deconstructive reading of the production of texts related to inclusion and education.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Selected chapters from the following key sources:

Philosophical inquiry

- Biesta G. & Burbules N. (2003). Pragmatism and educational research. Rowman & Littlefield.
- Richardson, V. (Ed.) (2001). Handbook of research on teaching (4th Edition). Washington, DC.: American Educational Research Association.
- Maarten Simons,Mark Olssen & Michael A. Peters (2009) Re-reading education policies. A handbook studying the policy agenda of the 21st century. Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.
- McLaure Maggie ( 2004) Discourse in Educational and Social Research. Buckingham Open University Press.

Qualitative research methods and research ethics

- Denscombe, M. (2014). The good research guide for small-scale research projects. Berkshire: McGraw Hill/Open University.
- Groundwater-Smith, S. , S Dockett & S. Bottrell (2015). Participatory research with children and young people. Los Angeles: Sage.
- Wellington, J. (2006). Educational research. Contemporary issues and practical approaches. London: Continuum.

Quantitative and mixed methods

- Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2012). Research methods in education. London: Routledge. [Available at Short Loans Collection LB1028.W517 2000 A/V ]
- Gillham, B. (2008). Developing a questionnaire. London: Continuum Publishers. [Available at Short Loans Collection (H61.G55125 2007)]
- Kirkpatrick, L.A., & Feeney, B.C. (2011). A simple guide to SPSS for Version for Version 17.0 (11th ed.). Belmont (CA): Wadsworth. [Available at Short Loans Collection (HA32 .K5642)]
- Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
- Kuckartz, U. (2014). Qualitative text analysis: A guide to methods, practice & using software. London, UK: Sage.

Supplementary reading materials will be available in a separate booklet, through VLE and links to the online web-sites or eJournals.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 20%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 40%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 40%
Important - Due to the COVID19 Pandemic the information regarding the method of assessment indicated above may have been changed. Further details have been provided by your F/I/C/S.

LECTURER/S Louis John Camilleri
Mario Cutajar
Mary Darmanin
Victor Martinelli
Milosh Raykov (Co-ord.)
Oswald Tanti Rigos
Kenneth Wain

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.