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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 31/03/2022 09:58:26

Title of Module: Research Theory and Design

Code: EDUC12002 SCQF Level: 12
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 30 ECTS: 15
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:B  Cross

Summary of Module

This module is the second module in the Professional Doctorate programme. The module provides a sound basis for the creation and interpretation of a theoretical and conceptual approach for professional doctoral level study in a multidisciplinary context. The module will enable doctoral candidates to apply their professional knowledge to confirm the importance of evidence-based practice and to use such practice to engage with theories at the forefront of their discipline. The module also aims to ensure that candidates can apply theoretical frameworks and models of research and enquiry to the professional field, with a view to generating new and significant knowledge and understanding. Work in this module will develop a critical perspective to consider epistemology in relation to relevant professional knowledge and theory. The doctorateness of this module comes from the requirement to critically engage with a range of epistemological frames (not just methodological ones)  in relation to the proposed research. Candidates will also be facilitated to construct and write material to a standard suitable for publication in a journal relevant to their professional practice.

As part of the teaching and learning process within this module, the module tutor team will further develop the community of practice approach to discipline specific and interdisciplinary tasks.

The UWS Graduate Attributes that are commonly developed through the completion of this module are:

  • Critical and analytical thinking;
  • Resilience, autonomy and motivation;
  • Effective communication and collaboration;

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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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.

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

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.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3check mark

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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically examine, develop and synthesis ontological, epistemological and methodological issues and concepts that may inform effective professional practice.

L2. Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise a range of research methods, techniques and designs relevant to their professional practice.

L3. Manage, locate, critically review, analyse and synthesise relevant bodies of knowledge/theoretical frameworks and literature relevant to their own area of work, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

L4. Construct and write material to a standard suitable for publication in a high impact journal within their professional field.

L5. Contribute productively to internationally oriented discussions in order to demonstrate a critical understanding of the national and international context of research in their own area of professional practice

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 12.

Demonstrate and/or work with:
• A critical overview of a subject/discipline/sector, including critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles.

• A critical, detailed and often leading knowledge and understanding at the forefront of one or more specialisms.

• Knowledge and understanding that is generated through personal research or equivalent work that makes a significant contribution to the development of the subject/discipline/sector.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 12.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:

• In using a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector.

• In using and enhancing a range of complex skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are at the forefront of one or more specialisms.

• In applying a range of standard and specialised research and/or equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry.

• In demonstrating originality and creativity in the development and application of new knowledge, understanding and practices.

• To practise in the context of new problems and circumstances.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 12.

• Apply a constant and integrated approach to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, information and issues.

• Identify, conceptualise and offer original and creative insights into new, complex and abstract ideas, information and issues.

• Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues.

• Deal with complex and/or new issues and make informed judgements in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 12.

Use a wide range of routine skills and a significant range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline/sector, for example:

• Communicate at an appropriate level to a range of audiences and adapt communication to the context and purpose.

• Communicate at the standard of published academic work and/or critical dialogue and review with peers and experts in other specialisms/sectors.

• Use a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and specify software requirements to enhance work.

• Critically evaluate numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 12.

• Demonstrate substantial authority and exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.

• Take full responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others.

• Take significant responsibility for a range of resources.

• Demonstrate leadership and/or originality in tackling and resolving problems and issues.

• Practise in ways which are reflective, self-critical and based on research/evidence.

• Manage complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on new and emerging issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:EDUC 12001 Critical Professional Reflection
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The core material will be delivered through blended learning: a mix of key lectures on study days/weekends, directed reading, private and work-based study and the use of learning materials through IT (administered through MOODLE at this stage) and web conferencing. Doctoral candidates will be given reading material and learning materials, which have been developed by the University specifically for this programme. Candidates will be expected to maintain regular contact with the module team on a weekly basis throughout the module.

The module involves 300 study hours (includes teacher-led activities, self-directed learning, peer learning/coaching and unsupervised study); listening skills; communication skills; interactive/small group work skills; reflective skills; critical thinking skills; writing skills; advanced literature searching.

To promote accessibility, anticipatory adjustments have been made to teaching and learning strategies and assessment. Further reasonable adjustments can be made for students who have been assessed as requiring specific adjustments e.g. use of note taker, specialised lecture room furniture, hearing assistive devices, specialised equipment for studying e.g. laptop, specialised software.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery40
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop20
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity80
Independent Study160
300 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:

Clarke, A., & Dawson, R. (1999). Evaluation research: An introduction to principles, methods and practice. Sage.

Costley, C., & Fulton, J. (2019) Methodologies for Practice Research: Approaches for Professional Doctorates. Sage

Cresswell, J. W. & Cresswell J.D. (2018) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Sage.

Ravitch, S and Mittenfelner Carl, N (2020)Qualitative Research,Bridging the Conceptual, Theoretical, and Methodological, Sage.

Goertz, G. & Mahoney, J. (2012) A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences, Princeton University Press.

McNiff, J. (2013) Action Research: Principles and practice, 3rd edition, Routledge.

Robson, C. (2002) Real world research. Oxford: Blackwell.

Rose, N. (1999) Powers of freedom: Reframing political thought. Cambridge university press.

(**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)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime participants (part-time and distant learning participants 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 participants who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardEducation
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCareer-Long Professional Learning
ModeratorS Day
External ExaminerB Radeljic
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Article for Publication (3500 words – not including references)

Production of an article for publication based on a review of the literature on the candidate’s area of professional practice and specialised research topic and of a quality to satisfy peer review. The article will be required to meet standards to merit publication but publication of the article will not be a requirement.
Candidates present poster on research plans at poster event organised by the Module Tutor Team.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below 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.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay   check markcheck mark501

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck mark  501
Combined Total For All Components100% 2 hours

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

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  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
This module is appropriate for all doctoral candidates irrespective of ethnic status, disability, age, gender, socio-economic background, religious and sexual orientation. To promote inclusive practice, procedures and processes have been subject to Equality Impact Assessment where appropriate. Flexibility and anticipatory adjustments in teaching and learning strategies and assessment facilitate inclusiveness within this module.

In line with current legislation (Equality Act, 2010) and UWS Equality Scheme (2010-13) the School of Education encourages the disclosure of additional/ enabling support requirements (including disability) throughout recruitment, selection and throughout the duration of this module. Emphasis is placed on confidentiality of information, the benefits of disclosure and that no detriment to progress will be experienced. Furthermore, a number of approaches, congruent with the requirements set out via the QAA Code for Higher Education- Collaboration and Flexible and Distance Learning (FLD) (2010) and advice offered by the Higher Education Academy (2010), are incorporated within the programme design. More specifically in the context of this module, then it is appropriate for any individual who meets with the specific entry requirements for the module (in line with the relevant programme specification) and the learning activities include a number of asynchronous discussions and written activities for which appropriate support can be provided when required.
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)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.