Research Methodology 1: Research in Education

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreNA4

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 1

Course Coordinator and Team: Krishna K Dixit (C)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: pre-doctoral


The overall aim of the course is to provide a bird’s eye view of the research methodology terrain in education. This being an introductory level course for fresh incoming researchers with basic training/education background in different disciplines within and outside the domain of social sciences, the focus is on facilitating to reflect on and interrogate meanings about what constitutes science and knowledge and scientific enquiry.

The objectives of this course are:

  • Introduce students to educational philosophy and thereby facilitate exploration of meaning of knowledge, science, scientific enquiry, etc.
  • Enable students to understand logic of inquiry and research design
  • Learn epistemological perspectives such as positivism and interpretivism
  • Facilitate extensive reading and critiquing research studies in education with reference to methodologies introduced

Course Outcomes:

  • Ability to think and express critically (both in oral, written and other creative forms) about the inquiry processes and knowledge formation
  • Articulate differences between philosophical positions such as positivism, interpretivism, and critical tradition/theory perspectives
  • Locate the issues and problems they seek to research within the guiding frameworks of philosophical frameworks
  • Critique / critically evaluate research studies in terms of buiding arguments, accuracy of methodology deployment, and assess validity, reliability and ethics in research

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Knowledge and Theories of Knowledge

This module is centred around the exploration of knowledge and the various frameworks deployed to define and configure knowledge. The core content of the module includes notions such as episteme and epistemology, knowledge systems, scientific revolution, academic and professional expertise, empiricism, inductivism, disciplinarity and its discontents, ‘two cultures’, and indigenous/local knowledge.

Module 2: Perspectives on Education

The focus of this module is on exploring philosophical questions concerning the nature, aims, and problems/challenges of education. It aims to help students in looking both inward to the discipline of education and outward to educational practice, as well as to educational psychology, cognitive science, and other relevant disciplines. The aim of the module is facilitating the understanding of the proper aims and guiding ideals of education and how are they enacted and evaluated.

Module 3: Approaches to Research I

This module aims to introduce generic quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary research approaches. The focus is on enabling students to explore these approaches through key research studies in terms of the focus, objectives, research question(s), data collection instruments, analysis and interpretation, and ethics.

Module 4: Approaches to Research II

The module focusses on a few distinct research approaches in education, namely ethnography, case study, autobiographical research, narrative inquiry, researching from global south perspectives, research and sustainable development goals. The overall aim of the module is to help students in reading and exploring research through these approaches.

Reading List

  • Agarwal, A. (1995). Indigenous and scientific knowledge: Some critical comments. IK Monitor, 3(3), 1-9.
  • Bhatt, G. (1975). Basic Ways of Knowing. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. (Chapter 2: Nature of knowledge)
  • Claxton, G. (2014). School as an epistemic apprenticeship: The case of building learning power. Journal for the study of Education and Development, 37(2), 227-247.
  • De Sousa Santos, B. (2014). Epistemologies of the South: Justice against epistemicide. London: Routledge. (Chapter 4: Beyond abyssal thinking: From global lines to ecological knowledges.)
  • Frodeman, R. (2010). (Ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapters – 1. A short history of knowledge formations. 2. A taxonomy of interdisciplinarity. 21. Evaluating interdisciplinary research.)
  • Jackson, P. W. (2012). What is Education? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Kuan-Hsing, C. (2010). Asia as Method: Toward deimperialization. London: Duke University Press. (Chapter 1: Globalization and deimperialization)
  • Lattuca, L. R. (2019). Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinarity research and teaching among college and university faculty. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. (Chapters - 1: Considering interdisciplinarity. 2: Disciplining knowledge).
  • McCain, K. and Kampourakis, K. (2020). (Eds.). What is Scientific Knowledge? An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology of Science. New York: Routledge. (Chapter 1: How many scientists does it take to have knowledge?Chapter 17: What are the limits of scientific explanation?)
  • Pring, R. (2013). Philosophy of Educational Research. London: Bloomsbury. 3rd edition.
  • Pritchard, D. (2006). What is this thing called knowledge? London: Routledge. (Chapters – 1. Some preliminaries. 3. Defining knowledge. 4. Structure of knowledge.)
  • Rea, L. M. and Parker, R. A. (1997). Designing and Conducting Survey Research: A comprehensive guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books. (Chapter 4: Research adventures on indigenous lands.)
  • Srinivas, M. N. and Ramaswamy, F. A. (2002). The Fieldwork and the Field: Problems and challenges in sociological investigation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 1: The fieldworker and the field)
  • Trotman, D., Willoughby, R. and Lees, H. E. Helen (2017). Education Studies: The key concepts. London: Routledge.

Assessment plan:

  • Term Paper – 50%
  • The scholars will write a term paper on a theme from a selected area pertaining to the topics covered in the modules of the course.
  • Portfolio – 50%

The scholars are expected to compile, reflect on and present a portfolio of their semester-long process of learning. The portfolio will be drawn on classroom discussion, classroom notes, readings, reflection, interaction with peers and teachers, etc. and will be accompanied by a reflective note.

[*Assessment plans may be revised if necessitated by circumstances.