Postgraduate taught 

Museum Education MSc

Contemporary Research Theory and Methods in Social and Pedagogical Contexts EDUC51017

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course offers students the opportunity to engage with traditional and contemporary research theories and methods, and to consider the role(s) that research plays in shaping sustainable and ethical futures. Delivered via readings, course work, expert inputs and hands-on workshops, the course equips students to be able to design a piece of research in response to a range of motivating factors. It also offers practical experience in applying a range of data generation and analysis techniques, including interview, participant observation, autoethnography, surveys and arts-based approaches. Throughout the course students are supported to understand research as an embodied, personal and performative practice, and to place their own research orientations in dialogue with wider historical, political, cultural, and social debates. The course content covers research paradigms, qualitative and quantitative approaches, methods and tools for data generation and analysis, personal, cultural and institutional research ethics; as well as a range of methodological theories and debates, such as participatory, indigenous, post-qualitative, arts-informed, feminist, queer and anti-colonial approaches.


10 x 3 hour sessions, held fortnightly across semesters 1 and 2.

Excluded Courses





The assessment consists of:


Summative assessment 1 - Portfolio (40%)

Submission of a research log detailing students notes and reflections on classwork and mock-fieldwork exercises conducted throughout semester 1, accompanied with a 1,000-word reflection on key learning points.


Summative assessment 2 - Written assignment (40%)

Submission of a 2-page research design, accompanied with a 2,000-word justification that refers to the literature and considers concerns of ethics, representation, and/or sustainability.


Summative assessment 3 - Oral assessment (20%)

Participation in a mini-viva to discuss and defend chosen research design outlined in summative assessment 2.

Course Aims

This course supports students to:

■ Develop their awareness of a wide range of traditional and contemporary theories, methodologies and methods suited for the research of social and educational topics.

■ Critically engage with different paradigms and orientations to research, and locate their relevance for and relationships to different historical, political, cultural, and social contexts.

■ Reflexively consider their own personal orientations to research and consider the productive and performative roles that research can play in challenging or reinforcing existing hierarchies of knowledge.

■ Acquire practical research skills for designing and carrying out research, including: devising research questions; generating and analysing research data; and interpreting and representing research findings.

■ Take account of and respond to different ethical dimensions of research as they emerge across personal, cultural, and institutional frameworks.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ ILO1: Understand a range of social and educational research theories, methodologies and methods and assess their suitability for different research paradigms and topics.

■ ILO2: Analyse the ways in social and educational research theories and methodologies are shaped by and inform wider historical, political, cultural, and social contexts.

■ ILO3: Locate their own positionality with regards a research topic, and justify their approach in dialogue with relevant subject literature.

■ ILO4: Create a coherent research design for a self-selected research topic (including the specification of aligned research questions, research paradigm, data sample, method(s) for data generation, method(s) for data analysis, and medium(s) for representation), and feel confident in their ability to apply the design in practice.

■ ILO5: Discern the different ethical dimensions of a research topic/design, and respond to any ethical risks or issues as they exist in relation to personal, cultural and institutional perspectives.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.