Postgraduate taught 

International & Comparative Education MSc

Policy Enquiry And Decision-Making EDUC5249

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides training in programme and policy analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches, applied to both primary and secondary data sources. The emphasis is on applied understanding, which is reinforced through examination of actual cases.


The course runs over 11 weeks; 10 x 2 hour sessions with one reading week.


1. Written assignment: Analyse and critique recently published research - a (peer reviewed) journal article or a (commissioned) research report (1,200 words)


2. Report: Develop a proposal for a small-scale enquiry (2,800 words)

■ background to the project and a brief indication of relevant literature

■ specific aims and objectives of the proposed enquiry

■ proposed methodology and data sources (data collection plan linked to questions)

■ a realistic timeline (over one academic session/12 months)

■ consideration of ethical issues

■ identification of any limitations of the proposal

Course Aims

The course aims to:

■ Develop the ability to access and critically review relevant literature (information literacy)

■ Develop the use of research evidence in making educational decisions

■ Introduce research skills - in particular qualitative and quantitative methods of enquiry, as applied in programme and policy evaluation.

■ Increase awareness of ethical issues in conducting policy research

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Use search techniques to access and record information to fulfil research needs

■ Evaluate information sources and critically review information retrieved

■ Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different data gathering techniques used in practitioner research

■ Conduct preliminary analysis of qualitative and quantitative data

■ Use ethical guidelines in appraising published research

■ Design and justify an appropriate methodology for a small-scale, policy enquiry

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completion of assessed work, attendance at all sessions.