Research Strategies and Methodology

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 60

Contact Hours: 25

Assessment Hours: 40

Duration: 10 sessions


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Research is the means through which new knowledge is acquired. Academic research conforms to a set of established criteria. These criteria ensure that a disciplined inquiry is conducted in a balanced and ethical way. Academic research demands critical engagement from the researcher at all stages throughout the research process. This module will provide course participants the opportunity to widen their knowledge of what academic research in the social sciences entails and to appreciate the level of rigour that is expected. This will include learning about the philosophical underpinnings of research, the different research methods and the practical techniques needed to conduct research. This module will facilitate a better understanding of how academic integrity should be reflected in all of the researcher’s decisions and actions.

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


a. Develop a research project to address the research questions;

b. Plan and design a questionnaire;

c. Integrate qualitative and quantitative components in mixed methods research;

d. Initiate, devise and conduct qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research; 

e. Write a research proposal; 

f. Systematically analyse qualitative and quantitative data and interpret results.


a. Define the notions of ontology, epistemology and research paradigms;

b. Identify qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research approaches;

c. List a variety of research tools; 

d. Distinguish between research questions, statement of problem, hypothesis and null hypothesis; 

e. Describe the notions of validity, reliability and generalisability;

f. Identify different forms of research designs, including: sequential designs, case studies and action research;

g. Explain what is correlational research; 

h. List different sampling techniques; 

i. Identify the ethical responsibilities of the researcher;

j. Explain the limitations in research;

k. Describe what is researcher reflexivity;

l. Define what plagiarism is and how it can be avoided.


a. Evaluate and critique the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research; 

b. Demonstrate sensitivity to ethical issues in research;

c. Understand the different educational settings for research;

d. Match the research tool/s with the research question;

e. Understand how to organise the research project by effectively managing time and resources; 

f. Understand the importance of comprehensively identifying the most relevant literature for the research and develop a coherent link between the research question/s, the literature, the research design, and discussion of the findings; 

g. Understand the importance of piloting a study; 

h. Get acquainted with the division of chapters in a dissertation and the scope of each chapter;

i. Understand the difference between qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods methodologies.

Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Varun, A. (2004): Thematic Approach for effective communication in ECCE in International Journal of Education and Psychological  Research (IJEPR) Volume 3
  2. Atwell, N. (1998) In the middle: New Understandings about writing, reading and learning (2nd edition), Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
  3. Atwell, N. (2014) In the middle: A lifetime of Learning about Writing, Reading and Adolescents. (3rd edition) Heinemann.
  4. Hyland, K. (2008) Writing Theories and writing Pedagogies in Indonesian Journal of English Language teaching 4 (2): 91-110.
  5. Manuel J., Carter D. (2016). Teaching writing in Secondary English: Approaches to building Confidence, enjoyment and achievement in Journal of Professional Learning, cpl.asn.ou/journal
  6. Portelli, T. (2007) Ward ta’ kull staġun: 1500 Xrara għall-kitba fil-livell sekondarju u postsekondarju, Malta: Klabb Kotba Maltin.
  7. Zahra, T. (2007) Il-Kitba Kreattiva, Merlin Publishers.
  8. Spiteri, A. (1998) It-tagħlim tal-Kitba bil-Malti bħal lsien Nattiv: Proposta Paradigmatika u Metidoloġika. Teżi M.A. Lingwistika, L-Università ta’ Malta.
  9. Maclure, M., Phillips, T. & Wilkinson, A. (Eds.) (1988). Oracy matters: The development of talking and listening in education. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  10. Il-Malti, Sillabi u Riżorsi tad-Dipartiment tal-Edukazzjoni retrieved from
  11. Portelli, T. (2020). L-Esperjenza tat-tagħlim.
  12. It-Tagħlim tal-Malti fl-Iskejjel tal-Knisja retrieved from Lista biblijografika tal-Malti maħruġa mill-Kunsill tal-Ilsien Malti
  13. MATSEC Maltese Syllabus (Intermediate & Advanced Level) retrieved from
  14. SEC Maltese Syllabus (Ordinary Level) retrieved from
  15. SEC Maltese School Based Assessment retrieved from
  17. SEC & MATSEC Past Papers retrieved from
Supplementary Reading List
  1. Kennedy, D. (2007): Writing and using learning outcomes: A Practical Guide, Cork: Quality Promotion Unit, University College Cork:
  2. Kennedy, D. (2007): Writing and using learning outcomes: A Practical guide, in Froment, E, Kohler J, Purser L and Wilson L (eds): EAU Bologna Handbook- Making Bologna Work, article C 3.4-1 (Berlin: Raabe Verlag)

  3. Adam, S. (2004): Using Learning Outcomes: A consideration of the nature, role, application and implications for European education of employing learning outcomes at the local, national and international levels. Report on the United Kingdom, Bologna Seminar, July 2004, Herriot-Watt University.
  4. Angelo, T,A. and Cross, K.P. (1993) Classroom Assessment Technique: A handbook for College Teachers (2nd Edition) San Fransisco: Joss-Boss Inc.
  5. Murray, D. (1968) A Writer Teaches Writing: A Practical Method of Teaching Composition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  6. Taylor, M. Nancie Atwell’s In the Middle and ongoing Transformation of the writing workshop (2000) The National Council of the Teaching of English in teaching writing in the 21st century.
  7. Sochorova, K.(2016) Approaches to teaching writing in English in final years at secondary schools. Diploma Thesis Masaryk University.
  8. Parascandolo, JP. (2012) It-Tagħlim tal-Ortografija Maltija fil-lezzjonijiet tal-kitba. Teżi B. Ed Unuri, L-università ta’ Malta.
  9. Coultas, V. (2015). Revisiting debates on oracy: Classroom talk – moving towards a democratic pedagogy? Changing English, 22 (1), 72-86.
  10. Dobie, B.A. (1977). ‘Oracy’: A necessary dimension of the ‘educated’ person? Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, 48, 71-76.
  11. Sammut, A. (2000). L-Evalwazzjoni tal-Malti mitkellem fil-ħames klassi tas-sekondarja (Teżi mhux ippubblikata tal-MA). Malta: L-Università ta’ Malta.
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