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EDR8001 Effective and Ethical Educational Research

Semester 2, 2011 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Faculty of Education

Contents on this page


Examiner: Patrick Danaher
Moderator: Warren Midgley


It is vital that educational researchers understand and engage with the ethical and political dimensions and effects of the research paradigms, methods and techniques that they deploy to address their research hypotheses or questions. Researchers need also to comprehend and evaluate approaches to data management in educational research as a foundation for ensuring that their own data collection and analysis approaches are as effective, efficient and equitable as possible. This course provides students with the opportunity to apply critical understandings of principles and strategies gleaned from published research to provide a substantial foundation for their own effective and ethical practices as contemporary educational researchers.


This course provides an overview of selected contemporary issues related to the ethics and politics of educational research, and to the appropriate management of data in educational research projects. Topics include: anonymity and confidentiality; informed consent; gatekeepers and stakeholders; overt and covert research; recording and representing participants' voices; situated ethics; research benefits and interests; ethical implications of and for research designs; primary and secondary data; data collection techniques; data analysis techniques; sampling and selecting participants; reliability, validity, credibility and trustworthiness; drawing inferences and reaching conclusions.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. identify the theoretically framed ethical and political dimensions and effects of educational research (Ethical Clearance Application and Commentary)
  2. engage with the approaches to educational research ethics and politics by researchers working with specific research paradigms, methods and techniques (Ethical Clearance Application and Commentary)
  3. demonstrate the skills required to prepare an appropriate and effective ethical clearance application (Ethical Clearance Application and Commentary)
  4. articulate the conceptually framed key components of the efficient collection and management of research data (Data Collection and Analysis Critical Commentary)
  5. communicate the principal elements of the effective analysis and reporting of research data (Data Collection and Analysis Critical Commentary)
  6. demonstrate the skills required to interrogate a published educational researcher's approach to data collection and analysis (Data Collection and Analysis Critical Commentary)
  7. demonstrate competence in the use of scholarly language and literacy appropriate to the postgraduate level (Ethical Clearance Application and Commentary/Data Collection and Analysis Critical Commentary).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Educational research ethics 25.00
2. Educational research politics 25.00
3. Data collection techniques 25.00
4. Data analysis techniques 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Coombes, PN, Danaher, MJM & Danaher, PA (Eds) 2004, Strategic uncertainties: ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational research, Post Pressed, Flaxton, Qld.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Brown, R, Finger, G & Rushton, C (Eds) 2007, Educational Research: who needs it?, Post Pressed, Teneriffe, Qld.
  • Knight, BA, Walker-Gibbs, B & Delamoir, J (Eds) 2008, Research into 21st century communities, Post Pressed, Teneriffe, Qld.
  • Martin, KL 2008, Please knock before you enter: aboriginal regulation of outsiders and the implications for researchers, Post Pressed, Teneriffe, Qld.
  • Preston, N 2007, Understanding ethics, 3rd edn, Federation Press, Annandale, NSW.
  • Smith Iltis, A (ed) 2008, Research ethics, Routledge, New York.
  • Somerville, MA 2007, The ethical imagination: journeys of the human spirit, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, VIC.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information // The gateway to education resources is here ... //

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 82.00
Independent Study 83.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ETHICAL CLEARANCE APPLICATION 50 50 09 Sep 2011 (see note 1)

  1. Assessment due dates will be negotiated individually between the student and her/his supervisors.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to participate appropriately in all activities including discussion fora scheduled for them, and to study all materials provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete an individual assessment item satisfactorily, a student must achieve a grade of at least C-.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval then a penalty of 2 Equivalence Points gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grade for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted grades obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have Internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. In additional to reading the course materials and the recommended textbooks, students are strongly encouraged to access libraries and/or online articles and books in order to do the background reading necessary to complete both the summative assessment items for the course.

  3. IMPORTANT NOTE: You are not required to collect data for the assessment requirements for this course. Moreover, you may NOT collect data for your project or dissertation unless you are doing so under the supervision of your supervisor and, if such data gathering involves human participants, unless you have the prior written approval to do so from the Faculty of Education Ethics Reference Group and/or the USQ Human Research Ethics Committee as appropriate.

  4. Students are required to use a recognised referencing system, preferably the American Psychological Association (5th edition) referencing system.