Introduction to Educational Research

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2011074

Semester to which offered: (I/ III/ V)  II semester

Cohort  MA Education & MA Education (ECCE)

Course Coordinator: Manasi Thapliyal Navani, Rajshree Chanchal & Nivedita Sarkar

Email of course coordinator:;,

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives:

A thrust of the course is to initiate students into thinking about the nature of educational inquiry and education as an area of knowledge. In doing so, the course will develop basic understandings and skills that would facilitate this process. It will explore the idea of inquiry and the relation between knowledge, theory, practice and research. It seeks to engage with research as a social, ethical and intellectual enterprise.

Along with these explorations, the course aims to enable the students to comprehend and analyse research reports, papers and studies – through a continuous engagement with actual (and significant) researches that introduce a variety of methodologies and perspectives for research in the area. Developing an appreciation for research, and abilities to identify research problems and formulating research questions, will be the major concerns of the course. This introductory course on research would support the field attachment component of the programme, enable the students to conceptualise their dissertation work and facilitate in making a choice from the advanced electives offered in the third semester of the programme. The understandings developed in this course would be enhanced in the advanced level (Semester 3) courses on research methodology.

Course Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • develop an appreciation for research, and cognize it as an intellectual, ethical and social enterprise.
  • engage critically with the nature of inquiry and research in the domain of education and early childhood
  • identify education and early childhood domain as an area of knowledge/educational research in practice.
  • acquire basic understandings of research process and research skills
  • read research: comprehend and analyze research reports, papers and studies
  • acquire insights into making of a good research
  • conceptualize research: identify research problems and formulate research questions; create an annotated bibliography for the literature review; and design a dissertation study
  • develop a research proposal

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1: Idea of inquiry

Unit 2: Methods of inquiry

Unit 3: Process of research

Unit 4: Formulating a research proposal

Semester Plan:


(Formal Time)


References/ Assignment

Week 1

(4 hours/ 2 sessions)

11-18 Jan

Knowing and interpreting the world

Nature and purpose of social research

Handout (Pritchard, D. (2006). What is this thing called Knowledge? NY: Routledge. Pp. 1-7)

Readings: Cohen, L, Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2007). Nature of Inquiry and Science. In Research Methods in Education. NY: Routledge.

Crotty, M. (1998). The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the research process. Pp 1-20.

Maxwell, A. (1996) Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach. Applied Social Research Methods Series. Vol. 41. New Delhi: Sage Publications (Handout on Research Purpose)

Week 2 & 3

21 Jan-3 Feb

Methodological Approaches in Social Science Research


Nature of Educational Research

Hammersley, M. (2013) Chapter 2: Methodological Philosophies. In What is Qualitative Research. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Pp 22-56.

Pring, R. (2000). Philosophy of Educational Research. London: Continuum, Chapter 2 (focus of educational research, pp. 8-30) and Chapter 3, pp. 31-57 (which focuses on different kinds of research; their philosophical foundations and challenges the false dualism of qualitative and quantitative inquiry).

Assignment I:Research Memo will be introduced at the end of 2nd week

Week 4

4-10 Feb

Reliability, Validity, and Ethical Considerations

Handouts on reliability and validity

Kit Tisdale (2004). “Being Vulnerable and Being Ethical With/in Research” Kathleen B. deMarrais, Stephen D. Lapan (eds) Foundations for Research: Methods of Inquiry in Education and the Social Sciences (Inquiry and Pedagogy Across Diverse Contexts Series). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Morrow, V. (2008). Ethical dilemmas in research with children and young people about their social environments. Children’s Geographies, 6(1), pp. 49-61.

Week 5&6

11-24 Feb

Research Questions and Literature Review

Renck, MJ and Heider, K (2015). “Re-examining the Literature Review: Purposes, Approaches, and Issues.” In Olivia N. Saracho (ed.) Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education: Research Methodologies, Volume I. Information Age Publication. Pp. 753–781.

Maxwell, A. (1996) Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach. Applied Social Research Methods Series. Vol. 41. New Delhi: Sage Publications Research Purpose: pp 15-17.

Discussion and Group Work on Assignment 1 at the beginning of Week 5 and submission.

Assignment 2 (Annotated Bibliography will be introduced)


Week 7&8

25 Feb-3 March

Reading Educational Research

Saraswathi, T.S. and S. Verma. (2002). Adolescence in India – An annotated bibliography, pp. 199-248. New Delhi: Rawat publications. (Chapter 4: Some contexts for socialization and Chapter 5: Education and schooling)

Gracey, H. Kindergarten as academic boot camp.

Hadres, A.V. (2006). The methodology of Paul Willis: A review of ‘Learning to labour’.

Sarangapani, P.M. (1997). Social experience and child’s construction of knowledge. (PhD thesis – Chapter 3)

Govinda, R. & Varghese, N.V. (1993). Chapter 2. Quality of Primary Schooling in India: A Case Study of Madhya Pradesh, India. Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.


Week 9 & 10

4-17 March

Engaging with Methods

In-class activities, worksheets developing students’ areas of research and development of any one tool for data collection


Assignment 3: Methods Activity

Week 11 &12

18-31 March

Academic Research Proposal Writing

Maxwell, A. The Purpose of a Proposal. pp. 100- 111.

Maxwell A. Example of a research proposal: Appendix A (116-130)

In Class Workshops

Week 13 & 14

Proposal Presentations and Class conference

Assessment 4: Peer Review and Presentation of Research Proposal Week.

Submission of revised Proposal end-semester.

Assessment Plan



Date/period in which Assessment submission will take place



Research Memo

February 08



Annotated Bibliography

March first week



Methods Activity Report

March 22



Participation : In class Response activities

Throughout the semester



Final Submission of Research proposal

Exam week