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Course content

  • Develop your skills in research design
  • Complete intensive training in social research methods and approaches
  • Learn to present aspects of research in a range of engaging ways

Social Research in Education at Winchester offers a programme of focused study of research methods applicable to educational settings and educational enquiry. You are equipped and encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of research methods, research design, and the cultural and ethical contexts in which educational research takes place. The course helps you to develop advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills, which support you in starting or enhancing a career in research or as a senior professional able to support others in research endeavours, for example in schools.

We focus on research design, which enables you to select appropriate approaches and methods to carry out investigations. It provides you with the opportunity to develop intellectual and practical skills, along with the ability to analyse and communicate complex ideas, and creatively plan and manage an independent postgraduate research project in education. It also equips you with the necessary skills to undertake further doctoral study.

You study core modules in Quantitative Methods in Social Research, Qualitative Methods in Social Research, and Theory, and Practice and Ethics in Social Research. You may choose to target a particular aspect of educational practice for data collection, although assignments analyse data collection methods, analysis approaches or ethical aspects of the research rather than the content of the practice.

There is also a final dissertation project, for which you choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology and explore it. This may also include an investigation of an aspect of education that interests you. You participate in workshops and seminars, and on-going online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students. These include debating issues such as ethical considerations in research, and help develop some of the underpinning research skills.


Graduates of the course are equipped to pursue careers in educational research, as research officers working for educational bodies such as local authorities, as contract researchers, or as project officers working on funded projects in higher education or research institutes.

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Work experience

Students who are not currently working in an educational setting need to establish clear links with at least one setting for research purposes.

Learning and teaching

Start dates: September

Distance learning available: For research methods modules. Independent study supervisions may be conducted by Skype or email.

Teaching takes place: Weekends. However, the Theory, Practice and Ethics in Social Research module is taught at the summer school in June/July, and one weekend in September.

Workshops and seminars develop some of the underpinning research skills. Students are part of ongoing online and face-to-face discussions with tutors and other students, and are equipped to present aspects of research in a range of ways.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester


Assessed work includes portfolios of completed tasks, essays, presentations and posters; all assessments are given numerical grades. For the dissertation, students choose an empirical or theoretical aspect of research methodology, and explore this through a project which may also explore an aspect of education that interests them.

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes.

Further details on assessment types used can be found by attending an open evening or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures section.


  • Introducing Mixed Methods in Social Research
  • Exploring Mixed Methods in Social Research
  • Theory & Ethics in Educational Practice
  • Independent Study (Dissertation)

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at

The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Visit the Social Research in Education MRes page on the University of Winchester website for more details!