Taught course

Research Methods (Education)

Durham University · School of Education

Entry requirements

An honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent). Significant relevant experience will also be considered.

Months of entry


Course content

he MA in Research Methods (Education) provides broad learning in research design methodologies. The course is designed for students interested in theoretical and empirical understanding of research in social science and as well as those who plan to pursue doctoral level studies in the field of Education. The course is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing suitable training for this purpose, and the course is one of the named routes on the MA in Research Methods. It is a Social Sciences faculty degree that involves other departments within the University.

This course delivers high-quality research methods for learning in education. The focus is on understanding research designs for conducting and evaluating rigorous research. The course includes training in the use of research tools for analysing and interpreting research data with detailed discussion on formulating research questions, innovative research designs, and developing theoretical understanding of concepts in social science research.

The course is conducted at a cross-faculty level and modules are taught within the School of Education, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Psychology, the School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA), and the Department of Anthropology. This provides you with the opportunity to come into contact not only with researchers from different disciplines but also with other students studying research methods in different disciplines across the Social Sciences.

Discipline-specific modules

Research Design and Process (15 credits)

To provide training in research design and an understanding of the research process in preparation for the MA dissertation/Phd research and careers in social research.

Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)

This module introduces you to social scientific research, and focuses on establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences. The module also covers the essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.

Intermediate Statistics for Social Science Research (15 credit)

Experiments in Education (15 credits)

This module contributes to the debate about the role of experimentation in education research. The module introduces a wide range of range of experimental designs. There are lots of examples discussed for understanding the relevant concepts enabling students to judge quality of experiments and research in general. The module also provides learning on how to analyse, synthesise and interpret data from experimental research.

Systematic Reviews (15 credits)

The Systematic Reviews module will introduce knowledge, understanding and skills that will enable students to overview the existing research knowledge in their own topic areas of interest. This module will be a stage advanced from conducting ordinary literature review.

Designs And Methods in Education Research (30 credits)

This is a comprehensive module on research. The content of this module covers learning about a wide range of research designs and methods. The learning aims to understand theoretical perspectives in research, development of research questions and selection of appropriate research design for conducting a high quality research.

Dissertation (60 credits)

This is an opportunity of practical implementation of research that you design and conduct under supervision. You will meet with your supervisor on an individual basis and will discuss the topic, direction and content of your dissertation. The dissertation is a substantial, independent piece of academic research (approximately 12,000 words). It is recommended that you discuss your individual programmes of work with your supervisors and/or with the Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes.

Examples of optional modules:

Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (SOCI59215- Credits 15)

Qualitative Methods in Social Science (SOCI58815- Credits 15)

Fieldwork and Interpretation (ANTH43415- Credits 15)

Quantitative Methods in Social Science (SOCI57815- Credits15)

Applied Statistics (PSYC40130- Credits 30)

Systematic Reviews (EDUC46715 – Credits 15)

The MA can be taken part-time, over two years: please contact us if you are interested in exploring this option further.

Fees and funding

UK students
£8,700.00 per year
International students
£21,360.00 per year

Scholarships available for 2022 entry will be determined in September 2021. Over 60 scholarships are available, each year. Some scholarships are awarded to more than one person. For further information see the course listing.


Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details