Student perspectives: generic research methods

A longitudinal study investigating student perspectives on generic research methods courses.

Principal applicant: Dr Kenneth Fordyce, School of Education

Team members:

  • Dr Peter Allison, School of Education
  • Dr Rory Ewins, School of Education


The proposed study will investigate change and development in the perspectives of students studying generic research methods courses as part of Taught Masters programmes in the School of Education.

The courses under focus cater for several hundred students across more than a dozen taught Masters programmes; and the majority of these students are international students for whom English is a second language. The courses use an innovative mix of online and face-to-face instruction. The generic nature of the courses, their blended learning format, and the multi-national nature of the student cohort create a mix which put these courses at the forefront of current educational practice in UK higher education.

However, there is a clear lack of research providing in-depth insights into student perspectives on: 1) the relevance of generic research methods training in their own subject discipline; 2) being taught in a blended learning format; and 3) the demands of such courses for students with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This study will use a combination of focus groups and reflective diaries over a period of nine months in order to look at student perspectives on these issues and how they change and develop over time.

The aim of this study will be to further develop and improve these courses in light of the research findings. In turn, the development of these courses could lead to them being made more widely available (e.g. to doctoral students, or to other schools within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.)

Final Project Report

You can download the final project report below:

Fordyce PTAS project report (PDF)