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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Project
Module Code ED8057
School 78
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Francis Ward
Semester 2: Francis Ward
Autumn: Francis Ward
Module TeachersFiona Giblin
Francis Ward
NFQ level 10 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
Autumn assessment comprising of various elements.

Central to initial teacher education is the promotion of student teachers as self-reflective practitioners. The importance of the self-reflective teacher engaging in and with research is advocated by the Teaching Council (2020) in the criteria and guidelines for initial teacher education programmes in which it states that student teachers should have opportunities to “to investigate and learn from their practice and derive ideas and conclusions that enriches and advances their understanding of their [own pedagogical and reflective] practices, and enhance their teaching” (p. 19). Building on research-informed understanding of practice in foundation and profession modules, professional practice and reflection tutorials, students will engage with the core ideas, principles underlying practitioner research using a self-study approach. Self-study as a form of practitioner research will allow the student teacher to reflect systematically upon and study their practice in an effort to identify tensions or dissatisfactions, with the aim to improve practice and understanding practice with others (Bullock & Peercy, 2018; Samaras, 2011; LaBoskey, 2004; Loughran, 2002). As characterised, the student’s self-study will focus on improving their own practice and their own role in it, and looking more deeply to identify motivations, beliefs, and concerns around an aspect of practice and contribute to the knowledge base and ongoing professional learning of the teacher. During this year-long module, the students will be supported by engaging in research methods lectures and group seminars facilitated by a supervising tutor to conduct their self-study. The group seminars will allow for the student to participate in a ‘learning community’ (Wenger, 2006). The seminars will be based on critical collaborative inquiry whereby the research project supervising tutor and students will act as 'critical friends' to probe and analyse a personal challenge/an issue related to primary education that each student wishes to investigate. This personal situated inquiry will stem from reflections on professional conversations with Treoraí and student’s own reflections and thinking from within and across programme modules from PMEP1-2. The students will share their research with their ‘critical friends’ who will include their supervising tutor, their peers and their Treoraí on professional practice. The research project will be desk-based to ensure research is conducted ethically and within the parameters of University Ethical Approval and adhere to GDPR regulations. This research will lead to the submission of a 7000 word research report, and the development of artefacts from the research process that will be included in the student’s learning portfolio, Taisce. The overall aim of the module is that, through engagement in their own self-study research project, students will demonstrate that they are capable of engaging in and with research while taking an inquiry stance to their professional learning and development as a primary teacher and integrate the knowledge, understanding and skills that have developed during the initial stage of teacher education.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain and critique some of the key principles, concepts and methodologies underlying the process of conducting educational research, in particular practitioner/teacher research (eg. qualitative, quantitative, ethics, validity, reliability).
2. Take an inquiry stance to critically investigate an aspect of their own practice relevant to primary education and conduct a self-study research project ethically and systematically.
3. Individually, and in collaboration with their supervising tutor, peers and Treoraithe, reflect on an on-going basis and challenge their attitudes, values and beliefs about teaching and learning in primary education which inform and guide their professional practice.
4. Engage critically and analytically with the literature to provide multiple perspectives to their own self-study research.
5. Using qualitative methods, collect data from multiple sources and analyse data in response to the research question underpinning their self-study.
6. Justify the potential impact for practitioner research and in particular, present and share the findings and learnings from conducting their own self-study research in terms of its contribution to future practice and professional development.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture10Participate in lectures on research methods and the research project process.
Seminars6Participate in group seminars with supervising tutor and peers.
Online activity2Complete online ethics module.
Independent Study50Engage with readings and online resources to support research.
Assessment Feedback61Submit drafts of sections 1-3 of research report to supervising tutor for individual formative feedback and apply feedback received.
Report121Conduct self-study research and write report.
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Research Methods
To support the student conducting educational research, students will participate in lectures that focus on preparing students to engage with confidence in ethical research on topics and issues of value and concern to themselves by developing their research knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes. This component of the module will address key themes in educational research including practitioner research as structured intentional inquiry on practice, research design, methodological options and research concepts (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, ethics, validity and reliability). Self-study qualitative research will be afforded prominence as a viable and appropriate student teacher-led and practice-based mode of inquiry that sits well within an understanding of the promotion of student teachers as self-reflective practitioners engaging in and with research is advocated by the Teaching Council (2020). Key content will include: • Introduction to the module and research as structured, intentional inquiry. Key principles that inform and guide the process of undertaking ethical research in education, including practitioner research. • Taking an ethical and enquiry stance on educational research by identifying an issue/challenge/problem as it relates to the personal and professional practice in primary education based on previous professional practice modules • Considerations in planning viable, research-informed, ethical research projects include formulating research questions, purpose and approaches of literature reviews, collecting and analysing data; presentation of findings, identifying the potential impact and limitations of research, sharing research.

Research Project Report
For this component of the module, each student will be allocated an academic supervising tutor to guide the student towards completion of their self-study research project within a disciplinary or interdisciplinary area within primary education. To facilitate critical collaborative inquiry and establishing a learning community to frame their self-study, students will participate and contribute to group seminars. The supervising tutor will facilitate the seminars by some of the following activities: • Professional conversations with critical friend(s) • Reflective journal • Narratives including autobiographical writing • Case inquiry • Concept/mind maps • Active learning experiences • Approximations of practice/micro-teaching lesson study/modelling of a practice to peers •Analysing data including reflections, course work, artefacts from Taisce or data generated from any of the above activities. The seminars will scaffold the students to take an inquiry stance to devise a research question that seeks to improve theirs and/or a school’s planning and practice in relation to their research topic. Taking a self-study approach, the student will conduct a qualitative research project as a means of addressing their research question. Only data created by the student or publicly available have ethical approval to be used in the research project (School placement tutor reports/children’s work/data referring to children or teachers or schools are NOT to be used). The student will present their own research in a written report (7000 words) by including a rationale for their self-study, the literature underpinning their research, the methodological approach taken ie. qualitative, self-study to address their research question, a discussion of your findings and the implications of their practitioner research to professional development and learning. A comprehensive reference list and appendices with data sampling will be included in the report.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activityRecord of participation and completion of online ethics module0%n/a
Research PaperSubmit drafts of section 1, section 2 and section 3 of research report for individual formative feedback.0%n/a
Report(s)Present self-study research in a written report (7000 words) by including the research context with a rationale for the research, the literature underpinning the research, the methodological approach taken ie. self-study, a discussion of findings and the implications of the practitioner research.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Available on: 0, Module Loop page,
  • Alderson, P., & Morrow, V. (2011).: 0, The ethics of research with children and young people: a practical handbook. London: Sage.,
  • Bell, J. (2010).: 0, Doing your research project: A guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. Maidenhead: Open University Press.,
  • Brandenburg, & McDonough, S. (2019).: 0, Ethics, Self-Study Research Methodology and Teacher Education (Brandenburg & S. McDonough, Eds.; 1st ed. 2019.). Springer Singapore.,
  • Burton, N., Brundrett, M., & Jones, M. (2014).: 0, Doing Your Education Research Project London: Sage.,
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018).: 0, Research methods in education. New York, London: Routledge,
  • Creswell, J. W. (2012).: 0, Educational research: planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Thousand Oakes: Sage,
  • Loughran, Hamilton, M. L., LaBoskey, V. K., & Russell, T. L.: 0, (2004). International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices (Vol. 12). Springer: Netherlands.,
  • Ovens, A., & Fletcher, T. (2014).: 0, Doing self-study: The art of turning inquiry on yourself. In Self-study in physical education teacher education (pp. 3-14). Springer, Cham.,
Other Resources

53331, Digital resources and supports, 0, Available on Module Loop page, 0, 0, BERA, 2004, Revised ethical guidelines for educational research: Southwell: British Educational Research Association, http://www.bera.ac.ukguidelines.html,
Module Teachers: Faculty Academic Staff teaching on the PMEP Programme
Programme or List of Programmes
PMEPProfessional Master of Education Primary

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