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Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth
Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth

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Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth


‘Doing research’ is a process. It is a flexible one that is likely to be reworked, modified, changed and revised along the way. It usually, but not exclusively, starts with a problem which raises questions that then might then be revised and refined, or even discarded. Any process of investigation is complex and any one stage might expose further questions and require further decisions to be made as it progresses. Each stage of the research depends on decisions made in the previous stage: the process is cumulative but not always sequential.

In this free course, Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth, you will build on your understanding of how to evaluate research by thinking about a fundamental part of the research process: research perspectives and approaches. Some of the different ways of researching situations that can arise when working in education and working with children and young people will be examined. You will explore distinct and influential ways in which people think about and study the complexities around working with children and young people, the practices involved in learning and teaching and the structures that support and impact on them.

You will also become familiar with the different theoretical tools used in research, which will enable you to begin to interrogate research literature and the research process itself.

The way research is conceptualised is informed by the decisions a researcher takes about how the research will be designed and undertaken. Therefore, in this course you will also consider what lies behind researchers’ decisions – the research questions they formulate and the choices they make – what they have chosen to pay attention to and how they have decided to do this.

Signpost with directions to ‘This way, ‘That way’ and ‘Another way’.

Who is this course for?

Open to all, this course can be studied on its own or, if you are already studying or have studied a Masters qualification in Education, Childhood or Youth, it will secure your understanding and help challenge your thinking about research, taking it to the next level.

The course has relevance for anyone interested in research and who may want to further develop and expand on their knowledge and understanding of the research process and how research theory is used and applied. It especially explores research approaches through the lens of education, childhood and youth studies and has been designed to sit alongside and feed into postgraduate (level 7) accredited modules in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. It may also be useful to those interested in embarking on Masters-level study, or interested in finding out more about research methodology and ways of knowing.

Click on these links to find out further information about the Masters in Education [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  and Masters in Childhood and Youth at The Open University. Or you can email

Regardless of whether you study this course on its own or as part of a Masters qualification, on completion you will be eligible for an OpenLearn Statement of Participation certificate.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of postgraduate level study in Education, Childhood & Youth.