Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Education for Sustainable Development Research Seminars

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Centre for Environmental Education and Research

DESCRIPTION The study-unit exposes students to current ESD research. It is intended to provide students with points of departure for their own research projects. Through seminar sessions, the study unit presents fora through which students review potential areas of interest, discuss ways of defining research questions and appropriate research methodologies to answer the research questions. The research seminars will address a variety of contexts; i.e. different educational sectors and different target audiences.

Study-unit Aims

• Allow students to discuss the nature of ESD research.

• Introduce students to consider research methods employed in ESD research.

• To present ethical issues that arise from ESD research for discussion.

• Introduce students to different approaches to educational research and to research strategies (e.g. the survey, the case-study, the experiment, ethnography).

• To present specific case studies showing the impact of ESD research on policy making and practice.

• Critically analyse the strengths and limitations of each research strategy.

• Explore the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methodologies, data collection techniques, methods and research instruments.

Learning Outcomes

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

• describe the characteristics and quality of good ESD research;
• write clear and focused research questions/objectives to guide a specific ESD research study;
• select the research methodology and tools which are appropriate for investigating different ESD research questions;
• review specific research designs and distinguish between qualitative, quantitative and mixed research;
• appraise various research techniques, e.g. sampling, questionnaires, interviews, triangulation, and research authenticity; and
• discuss practical and ethical issues regarding the processes of entering the field and interacting with the targeted research sample.

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

• select an area for their own research study;
• identify the research questions for their study;
• select the appropriate research methodology for their study;
• discuss their choice of research methodology; and
• analyse the ethical implications of their research.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Barraza, L. (2001). Perception of social and environmental problems by English and Mexican schoolchildren. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (6), pp 139 - 157.

Burke, J. and Christensen, L.B. (2004). Educational Research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches. Pearson Education Inc.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K (2011) Research Methods in Education (7th Edition) Routledge. (Available in Library)

Courtenay-Hall, P. and Rogers, L. (2002). 'Gaps in Mind: problems in environmental knowledge-behaviour modelling research'. Environmental Education Research, 8:3, 283 - 297

Hsu, S. J. (2004). The Effects of an Environmental Education Program on Responsible Environmental Behaviour and Associated Environmental Literacy Variables in Taiwanese College Students. Journal of Environmental Education (35), 2, pp 37 – 48.

Johnson, R.B. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33 (7) 14-26.

Korhenen, K. and Lappalainen, A. (2004). Examining the environmental awareness of children and adolescents in the Ranomafana region, Madagascar. Environmental Education Research (10), 2, pp 197 - 216.

Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (2000). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences. In N. K. Denzin, and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 163–188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Nau, S. D. (1995). Mixing methodologies: Can bimodal research be a viable post-positivist tool? The Qualitative Report, 2(3).

Reid, A. D. and Scott, W.A.H., (2006). Researching Education and the Environment: an introduction. Environmental Education Research, 12 (3-4), pp. 571-588.

Schwandt, T. A. (2000). Three epistemological stances for qualitative inquiry: Interpretivism, hermeneutics, and social constructionism. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln, Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 189–213). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Other texts can be proposed by the lecturers or by the students themselves depending on the subject area chosen by the student.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation Yes 20%
Seminar Paper Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Vincent Caruana
Alexandra Mifsud
Mark C. Mifsud
Paul J. Pace

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.