Educational Research Methods

MQF Level: 6

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 60

Contact Hours: 25

Assessment Hours: 40


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Research, which involves the gathering of data from carefully identified sources, is useful; particularly when the ultimate aim of every research is to acquire knowledge that will contribute to the area of discipline of the researcher. This module introduces participants to research methods in education and intends to help participants understand the nature and use of educational inquiry with reference to the particular concerns of educational research in Malta.

The course introduces students to ethical aspects of research as well as the orientation of quantitative research. It will also give the students detailed knowledge of what is involved in quantitative and qualitative methods of research. Finally, the course is informed by a rationale that highlights the epistemic responsibility of the student researcher. 

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Formulate clear, specific and measurable research questions;

b. Establish one’s epistemology, ontology and theoretical framework;

c. Implement method/s and methodology best suited for a study;

d. Carry out a research investigation;

e. Manage, analyse and interpret the data gathered;

f .Produce a coherent write-up about the research design, the methodology used and the measures taken to ensure trustworthiness;

g. Comply with the research ethics;

h. Negotiate matters of confidentiality, anonymity, data storage and dissemination with the research participants;

i. Ensure that sampling, recruitment and access to the participants follows the research ethical guidelines.


a. Identify own positionality;

b. Communicate about one’s ontology;

c. Describe what methods and methodology are;

d. Comment and sustain on own theoretical framework;

e. Write a specific and measurable research question;

f. Write unambiguous field questions;

g. Plan all the ethical measures that need to be taken when carrying out a rigorous investigation;

h. Detail the steps taken in the sampling and recruitment of the participants as well as how access was obtained;

i. Draw a draft pilot study for your study.


a. Design a research plan for a study;

b. Demonstrate a coherent link between the research questions, the methods, the methodology and the theoretical framework;

c. Formulate research questions and field questions;

d. Operationalise a pilot and a main study;

e. Interpret results obtained from the data.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Assignment.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Clough, P., and Nutbrown, C. (2012). A Student’s Guide to Methodology (3 ed.): Sage Publications.
  2. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2013). Research methods in education. Routledge.
  3. Jackson, E. (2013). Choosing a methodology: Philosophical underpinning. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 7(1), 49-62.
  4. Thomas, G. (2017). How to do your Research Project. (3rd edition). Sage Publications Ltd.
Supplementary Reading List
  1. Blaikie, N. (2000). Strategies for Answering Research Questions. In P. Press (Ed.), Designing Social Research (p. 85-127).
  2. Bryman, A., (2004). Social Research Methods. (2nd ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press
  3. Byrne, D., (2002). Interpreting Quantitative Data. London: SAGE
  4. Creswell, J. W., and Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining Validity in Qualitative Inquiry. THEORY INTO PRACTICE, 39(3). 
  5. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches: Sage.
  6. Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process: Sage.
  7. De Vaus, D. A. (2001). Research design in social research: Sage
  8. Fink, A., (2003). The Survey Kit. (2nd edition). London: SAGE.
  9. Neuman, W. L., (2003). Social Research Methods – Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. (5th edition). USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
  10. Opie, C., (2010). Doing Educational Research. London: SAGE
  11. Oppenheim, A.N., (1999). Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement. London: Pinter
  12. Punch, K.F., (2003). Developing Effective Research Proposals. London: SAGE.Tashakkori, A. & Teddie, C., (1998). Mixed Methodology – Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. London: SAGE.
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