University of the West of Scotland

Module Descriptor

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 14/12/2022 12:06:27

Title of Module: Practitioner Enquiry: Early Years

Code: EDUC09058 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:C  Gollek

Summary of Module

This modules is designed to provide an introduction to qualitative research methods in education, with a focus on practitioner research.

The module discusses aspects of practice strongly related to practitioner research, which apply methods of action research and rely on evidence-based practice and research based information. Students will critically examine practice based experience and discuss the influence of research on the sector and wider society.

Students get to know research tools commonly used in qualitative research:

  • Focus groups/Interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Observations/creative methods

The methods are critically investigated and applied to the workplace context. Students will have the opportunity to explore the methods and reflect on ethical considerations, context and relevance of a method and their own positionality. Specific focus will be on ethical considerations around research with colleagues, children and parents.

Throughout the module, students will be encouraged to reflect on their own research idea, consider the presented research tools and develop a visual representation to address the suitability for their project. 

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully Online
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance Learning (D/L) (ie.Virtual Campus): (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Hamilton:D/L Virtual Campus:Other:
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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

At the end of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the role and function of qualitative research in education.

L2. Critically analyse key research methods and tools and demonstrate autonomy and initiative when presenting an appropriate tool for a sector-based research question.

L3. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of ethical research and enquiry by discussing the impact on colleagues, parents and children.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

critically understanding a range of the principles, theories, concepts and terminology associated with qualitative research and research-informed practice in education.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

testing a range of research tools in a safe environment, encouraging peer feedback and discussion

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

identifying and analysing routine professional problems and issues;
drawing on a range of sources in making evidence-based judgements

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

presenting information on sector relevant topics in a variety of modes to a peer audiences;
using a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work;
interpreting, using and evaluating numerical and graphical data to achieve goals/targets

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

taking responsibility for presenting own work and work of others in appropriate manner;
dealing with ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional and ethical codes and practices

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Learning and Teaching
The module handbook, online tasks/discussions and supporting materials will be posted on the VLE. These will provide specific information on the particular learning and teaching methodologies, and combinations of these methodologies, to be used for timetabled student sessions. This will clarify for students both their expectations for timetabled sessions and for their independent study.

A balance of individual and group activities in-class will enable students to learn independently and collaboratively. Preparation tasks/readings to be undertaken at home will help students to contextualise lectures. Follow-up group workshops and tutorials will allow them to consolidate their learning each week.

Learning and teaching will guide students from an introduction to qualitative research to exploring a variety of research methods, with a focus on application to the education sector. The sessions will support students to analyse the presented ideas from a critical perspective and apply them to their own idea of a research project.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
CategoriesStudent Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content DeliveryScheduled36
Work Based Learning/Placement Placement35
Independent StudyIndependent129
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Robert-Holmes, G. (2018). Doing Your Early Years Research Project: A Step by Step Guide 4th edition. London: Sage.

Groundwater-Smith, S., Docket, S. & Bottrell, D. (2015) Participatory Research with Children and Young People. London: Sage.

Bolshaw, P. and Josephidou, J. (2019) Introducing Research in Early Childhood. London: Sage.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)
Attendance Requirements
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

Course Reference Numbers (CRNs) (if known)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Hamilton:D/L Virtual Campus:Other:







Trimester(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
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For Internal Use Only

Programme BoardEducation
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelChildhood Studies/Practice
External Examinerc Counihan
Accreditation DetailsContact School for current details.
Changes/Version Number


minor changes to wording; update reading list; change of assessment from two components to one

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids at end of document)
Poster presentation of the suitability of research methods for a selected research project, highlighting the most suitable research tool (poster/other visual methods). Critical discussion, focusing on appropriate theory, current research and policy.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each main assessment category) can be found at the end of this descriptor which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Assessment Category 1
Assessment CategoryAssessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
PracticalDemonstrations/ Poster presentations/ Exhibitionscheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Assignment Categories100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using VLE, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)