Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Component A: Preparing for the Dissertation

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Education Studies

DESCRIPTION This study-unit complements the dissertation study unit where student teachers are to engage in a research project related to educational practice and submit a written dissertation about it. The lectures and seminars sustain their processes of becoming teachers by preparing them to 1) recognize the importance of their professional responsibilities in inquiring and researching their practice 2) understand the methodological aspects of doing research and apply some research approaches in their practice.

One part of the study-unit will help student teachers problematize the notion of the profession, reflecting on what is means to act ethically and responsibly as a teacher. Knowledge about the legal aspects of the profession will be informed by a critical analytic approach that highlights the responsibilities of their actions as teachers.

The other part draws on the professional, ethical and political commitments of teachers in researching practice by introducing them to important methodological approaches and research methods in education. An inquiry into Qualitative and Quantitative research methods will be informed by reflections on methodological and ethical issues involved in doing research grounded in educational practice. This part of the study-unit is also intended for student teachers to reflect on the kind of research they would like to carry out and identify processes in developing their own research project and in writing a research proposal.

The last part of the study-unit gives the opportunity to student teachers to delve into the theoretical framework, methodologies and practical aspects of a specific research method and/or a particular research area. Students will be asked to choose and follow a number of lectures to specialise in a particular area / methodology that is closely related to their dissertation. These include Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS, Ethnography, Mixed Methods, Multimodal Method, Action research, Educational assessment and test construction.

Study-unit Aims:

- Engage student teachers into processes of becoming inquiring, reflective and ethical practitioners who are responsibly committed to their own development as professionals in relation to that of learners.
- Inquire into important political and ethical issues related to teaching as a profession.
- Initiate student teachers into the process of developing a professional ethics.
- Sensitize them towards their professional obligation to contribute to and conduct research which has educational aims.
- Introduce student teachers to research methods and approaches that inform their practice.
- Engage them in reflective and inquiring activities related to the various stages of the research process.
- Reflect on the ethics of doing research that is grounded in practice, focusing in particular on doing research in schools and doing research with children.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Discuss important aspects related to professional ethics including codes of practice and other legal obligations of the teaching profession.
- Identify teachers’ responsibilities to maintain standards in their teaching and research practices.
- Describe the various approaches that fall within the realm of qualitative and quantitative research.
- Critically evaluate particular research methodologies.
- Discuss the relations formed through research and teaching practices.
- Deliberate on ethical issues related to teaching and research.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Discuss ethical and professional issues related to educational contexts in schools and classes.
- Examine their own value positions and make their own professional decisions related to teaching and practice.
- Reflect on the processes related to doing an educational research project.
- Reflect on their responsibility in doing research with others and especially with children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.
- Read and analyse research reports and research papers.
- Write a research proposal.
- Conduct, analyse and interpret data obtained from qualitative methods.
- Conduct, analyse and interpret data obtained from quantitative methods.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research (2nd ed.). UK: Blackwell.

Kirkpatrick, L.A., & Feeney, B.C. (2011). A Simple Guide to SPSS for Version 18.0 (11th ed.). Belmont (CA): Wadsworth.

Creswell (2007, 2nd Edition). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: choosing among five traditions, London: Thousand Oaks, Sage.

Silverman, D. (ed.) (2004). Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice , London, Sage.

Richards, L. (2005). Handling qualitative data: A practical guide. London: Sage.

Denzin N. & Lincoln Y.S. (eds.) (2003). Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials (2nd ed.) London, Thousand Oaks, Sage.

Biesta G. and Burbules N. (2003). Pragmatism and Educational Research. Rowman & Littlefield.

Hansen D. (2001). Exploring the Moral Heart of Teaching. New York: Teachers College Press.

Hansen, D.T. (1995). The Call to Teach. New York: Teachers College Press.

Richardson, V. (Ed.) (2001). Handbook of Research on Teaching (4th Edition). Washington, DC.: American Educational Research Association.

Hostetler, K.D. (1997) Ethical Judgment in Teaching. Boston: Allyn & Bacon/Longman.

Strike K.A. & Ternasky, P.L. (Eds.) (1993) Ethics for Professionals in Education: perspectives for preparation and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Other research papers and articles will be available through VLE, in a separate booklet or online directly through a web-site or eJournals.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 20%
Case Study (Take Home) SEM2 Yes 30%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%

Mark Borg
Maria M. Brown
Louis John Camilleri
Patrick Camilleri
George Cremona
Mary Darmanin
Mateja Enrika Farrugia
Simone Galea
Sandra Hili Vassallo
Milosh Raykov
Lara M. Said
Christine Scholz
Sandro Spiteri
Joseph Vancell
Yosanne Vella

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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.