Module code: GCAM007

Module Overview

This module enables participants to interrogate and evaluate higher and professional education research that they have encountered in previous modules and beyond. This module aims to encourage critical and reflective thinking with respect to educational research within and across disciplines. In particular, participants are encouraged to assess the validity of findings for a particular research area through the lens of various epistemological, theoretical and methodological perspectives. This module is a good complement to the “Researching in Higher and Professional Education” and “Research Dissertation” modules. Participants will work collaboratively sharing their evaluation of research and reflecting on viewing research through different lenses.

Module provider

Surrey Institute of Education

Module Leader

HERON Marion (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 102

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Not applicable

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  •         Epistemological perspectives: e.g. normative, interpretive and critical theory paradigms

  •         Methodological approaches: e.g. ethnography, experiments, longitudinal surveys, mixed methods, phenomenology

  •         Theoretical approaches: e.g. constructivism, behaviourism, socio-culturalism, cognitivism

  •         Disciplinary perspectives: e.g. sciences, arts, humanities, medical sciences

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Oral presentation on 2 research articles 20
Coursework Critique of a suite of research papers 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to:

The assessment strategy is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to demonstrate that they are able to meet the learning outcomes by judging their peers on their evaluation of research studies within Higher and Professional Education and reflecting on the process, the merits and challenges of evaluating research. 


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Oral presentation in which participants present a critique of the methodological approaches in two papers of their choice. (LO1)

  • Reflection/ Evaluation report: Reflective analysis on using different perspectives (methodology, theoretical, epistemological, disciplinary) for understanding the research impact of studies in an area of interest LO3, LO4)


Formative assessment:

Formative assessment and feedback

  1. Students will have the opportunity to get formative feedback on a draft of assessment 1. They will be asked to choose specific areas they would like feedback on.

  2. Students will have the opportunity to get formative feedback from peers and tutor for assessment 2. This will be in the form feedback on a short oral presentation of their report.


Module aims

  • Encourage critical thinking, inquiry and reflection around participants¿ beliefs in accepting educational research
  • Encourage critical thinking, inquiry and reflection on educational research.
  • Encourage an evidence-based culture amongst the participants.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001  Evaluate the validity of methodological approaches in educational research CT
002 Prepare critical feedback on different perspectives of research which includes feedback to their peers  PT
003 Reflect on the validity of research from different theoretical lens KC
004 Assess the impact of research findings  CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

provide students with a safe environment to work collaboratively and critique both experts’ and novices’ work. The strategy aligns with the programme aims as it allows students to respect disciplinary research approaches but also question how these differing approaches shape and transform higher and professional education. The learning and teaching strategy is also designed to encourage interaction and communication with all group members. The mode of study is online and therefore the synchronous seminars and discussion board activities are crucial to the development of a group identity. In addition, the learning and teaching strategy reflects the SIoE values through encouraging respect for each others’ experiences and values, valuing dialogue and open-mindedness. Furthermore, through the learning and teaching strategy participants are encouraged to be honest, reflective and critical.


Captured content 

Participants will have access to pre-recorded short videos and different supporting resources such as pdf slides, short articles and resources on self-reflection.  The captured content aims to develop understanding of key concepts and theories. Participants will be expected to engage with the captured content in order to participate in the interactive activities both online and in the synchronous sessions. All the captured content will be accompanied by a guided learning worksheet. In order to maximise the learning opportunities from the captured content, and to make links to the in-session material, participants will be expected to engage with the captured content prior to the synchronous sessions. Engagement with the captured content and other online resources support the development of participants’ digital capabilities and ability to work autonomously. 


Weekly synchronous seminar sessions 

The synchronous seminar sessions will build on the captured content and will allow participants to explore issues and reflect on their own educational and disciplinary context, as well as their own research knowledge.  It is expected that participants will bring their completed guided learning worksheet to these sessions. These synchronous seminar sessions will involve interactive tasks either whole class or in break out rooms, quizzes and presentations. The aim of the seminar sessions is to critique Higher and Professional Education research in the context of current scholarship.  To maximise the potential for sharing ideas and learning from others, participants will be expected to engage in whole group and smaller group activities and discussions based on the pre-session and in-class material. Discussions and other interactive activities with classmates supports the development of global and cultural awareness and understanding of how to work in multilingual contexts.


Guided study 

The guided study comprises a number of reading activities drawing on the key literature in the field. All readings are accompanied by a reading comprehension worksheet which will allow participants to read key texts and engage with theories in their own contexts. Guided study aims to encourage independent work and develop planning and monitoring skills. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: GCAM007

Other information

The  MA in Higher and Professional Education is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow participants to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital capabilities: Participants are expected to engage with the learning management system (Surrey Learn) throughout the module, and engage in synchronous seminars. Participants are also expected to contribute to weekly discussion forums. In assessment 1, they will be critiquing their own and others’ critical discussion in an online environment and this will raise awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of online discussion. They will be expected to use a variety of different online software in the seminars e.g. Padlet.

Global and cultural capabilities: Participants may be engaging and collaborating with participants from different educational and linguistic backgrounds. This plus a focus on argumentation in written work will raise awareness of different approaches to writing and rhetoric which may differ depending on cultural, educational and linguistic backgrounds.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The module will create a safe space in which participants will give and receive feedback which may be uncomfortable initially but will build resilience and resourcefulness in their own practice going forwards. They will also learn how to manage large quantities of academic reading and how to read a research paper in a focused and purposeful manner.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Higher and Professional Education MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.