USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

EDR8000 Foundations of Contemporary Educational Research Methods

Semester 3, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Faculty of Education
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Karen Trimmer
Moderator: Patrick Danaher


The expectation that educators should be able to apply the findings of current and recent rigorous and systematic research studies to the formation of educational policy and practice requires that such professionals should have a sound understanding of the principles and practices of research design and methodology. Further, those who are to be involved in any of the various approaches to research in education must be cognisant of appropriate procedures for effective, efficient and equitable research. This course is intended to provide those involved in education with the foundations needed to generate, analyse, and evaluate research data through the development of an understanding of the characteristics and components of contemporary educational research.


This course introduces students to the theoretical and methodological foundations of contemporary educational research. It is intended as an introductory course in research methods in education, with particular attention given to developing an understanding of the current philosophical debates about and the major approaches to research in education, as well as of basic research design and procedures in such research.


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. demonstrate understanding of the theoretically framed principles underlying educational research (Assignment 1)
  2. articulate selected elements of the conduct of educational research (Assignment 1)
  3. develop a conceptually based viewpoint about links between educational research and researcher identity and/or context (Assignment 1)
  4. trace the historical development and contemporary applications of at least one research method (Assignment 1)
  5. choose and/or develop a research method appropriate to a particular problem or question/s (Assignment 2)
  6. explicate appropriate techniques for data collection (Assignment 2)
  7. identify appropriate procedures for the analysis of data (Assignment 2)
  8. design ethically appropriate research activities (Assignment 2)
  9. demonstrate competence in the use of scholarly language and literacy appropriate to the post graduate level (Assignment 1 and 2).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Philosophical and theoretical debates in contemporary educational research 25.00
2. Historical development and contemporary applications of selected research methods 25.00
3. Elements of educational research design 25.00
4. Applications of educational research design 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. (

  • Somekh, B., & Lewin, C. (Eds) (2011), Theory and methods in social research, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, London.

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.
  • Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., & Sorensen, C (2010), Introduction to Research in Education, 8th edn, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K (2007), Research methods in education, 6th edn, Routledge, London and New York.
  • Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. B (2008), Educational research: quantitative, qualitative and mixed approaches, 3rd edn, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Mertler, C. A., & Charles, C. M (2011), Introduction to educational research, 7th edn, Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.
  • Wiersma, W., & Jurs, S. R (2008), Research methods in education: an introduction, 9th edn, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.
  • Yates, L (2004), What does good education research look like?: situating a field and its practices, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 55.00
Directed Study 55.00
Private Study 55.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
RESEARCH PROPOSAL 50 50 07 Feb 2014

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 material 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 marks 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. The philosophical essay and the research proposal necessitate a literature review that will require students to be able to access libraries or online articles/books.

  3. Students are required to use the American Psychological Association (5th edition) referencing system.