For your final assignment, we would like you to write about a classroom-based research project on an aspect of student understanding. The required length is 3,000 words (+/- 10%), as usual. The word count for assignments includes quotations, but not references or appendices. The assignment will be formally assessed in relation to Masters-level criteria. You will be assessed on:
- yourorganisation of the material;
- your knowledge and understanding of relevant literature and key issues;
- the criticality of your assignment and its depth of analysis;
- your ability to draw implications from your research for your own and your colleagues’ professional practice;
- the quality of your presentation and the accuracy of your referencing and language.
Your first task is to choose a suitable research focus.
- It might be an area of student understanding which you have found professionally challenging in your own classroom.
- You might look at a single learning and teaching episode or a series of such episodes.
- You could undertake a study of the developing understanding of either an individual student or a small group of students; in what ways do they appear to understand a particular concept and in what ways do they not?t
1) Introduction: Introduce the topic. Provide a rationale – why it is worthy of study? Outline your broad aim and your specific focus (research questions), and present a brief outline of what is going to be covered in the assignment.
2) Literature review: Include literature about the model of ‘student understanding’ and the topic of your study.
3) Research design: Explain the approach and how it is suited to the research questions; explain the methods (how data was collected) and the rationale for your methods. Draw on the research methods literature. Describe the sample selection and the nature of the sample. Outline the ethical considerations and procedures. Include relevant documents related to ethics in appendices.
4) Results and discussion: Present your results in a clear and accessible manner, where appropriate using graphs, tables, and direct quotes. You should include analysed data in the results section but it is preferable to include raw data (prior to analysis), or a selection of it, in appendices. (See section 7 below). Make clear cross references in the results section to your numbered appendices.
It is vital that your results are analysed and discussed in a critical way, relating them to existing and wider research. You might choose to have a separate discussion section.
5) Conclusion: This usually includes a summary of answers to your research questions. A critique of your study, including strengths and limitations, can be included here or in a separate section. End with implications for further reading/research and perhaps a final personal reflection.
6) Reference list
7) Appendices (not in word count) must include: ethics statement; information sheet(s); blank consent form(s); formal email requests (NOT the responses but just the requests); if appropriate blank questionnaires/observation sheets/lesson plans/teaching materials; if useful, an extract from the raw data e.g. transcribed interview data (anonymised); collated questionnaire responses; entries from a reflective journal. Please number appendices so that you can refer to them in the main text.
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