Research Methods in Early Childhood Education 1

MQF Level 6


Research Methods in Early Childhood Education 1

October 2024
Module Type
ECTS Credits
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Module Description

This introductory module provides a comprehensive overview of research methods, focusing on the fundamentals of conducting research in Early Childhood Education (ECE). It covers research design, data collection, data analysis, and the ethical implications of research.

Key Learning Areas:

  • Research Process: Participants will explore all phases of the research process, enhancing their skills in literature searching and review, and learning to differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
  • Research Methods: The module introduces qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches. Participants will apply these methods in case scenarios, assessing research questions and objectives within the ECE field.
  • Ethical Considerations: Ethical aspects of research will be integrated into discussions of each topic, ensuring participants understand the responsibilities involved in research.

Designed for beginners, this module sets the foundation for further study in Research Methods 2, equipping participants with the initial tools needed to engage in and critique ECE research.

Entry Requirements

Candidates who apply for this course will possess:

  • A full qualification at MQF level 4 in Early Childhood Education and SEC/Ordinary Level passes in Mathematics, English and Maltese.


  • 2 Advanced Level passes and 2 Intermediate Level passes including 2 subjects from Mathematics, English, Maltese.
    A pass at SEC/Ordinary Level in the subject that is not presented at advanced/intermediate level from the 3 specified above.
  • In the case of students who do not possess all the formal required academic qualifications, then the RPL process could be applied such that if evidence of equivalent learning, related to the area of study of this programme, is found then the applicant could still be accepted in the course. Such RPL process will subject applicants to an interview held with a board of experts within the field, chosen specifically by IDEA Academy, so as to verify their experiences and prior learning.

IDEA Academy’s RPL policy can be accessed through this link

Furthermore, it will be advised to students at entry point that before going on placements, they will need to be in possession of:

  • The POMA (Protection of Minors Application) certificate.
  • A first-aid certificate prior to commening placement practice.
  • A valid police conduct certificate.

Target Audience

This programme has the following target groups:

  • Individuals who are approaching the field of Early Childhood Education.
  • Individuals who have been working in the field as a means of capacity building.
  • Individuals looking to advance to Kindergarten Educator III role.

Module / Unit Instruction

The proposed structure comprises a blended approach promoting the building of a community of practice via peer-to-peer learning.

The structure uses primarily two dimensions of teaching-learning modes: · Face-to-face sessions: 18h · Online Learning Activities: 12h.

Face-to-face sessions include lectures, tutorials, discussions, presentations, and workshop activities promoting peer-to-peer learning.

Online Learning Activities incorporate tutorials and asynchronous discussions. These may consist of active interaction, participation, and contributions in fora discussions, sharing resources and self-reflection exercises.

Learners also contribute to the building of the community of practice by providing feedback to their peers as critical friends, enhancing the learner’s critical engagement throughout the study period.

The tutor provides continual support during both teaching-learning modes by providing information, readings, and tasks relevant to the module in question.

The tutor provides continuous formative feedback as an on-going guidance during the student’s learning experience in preparation for their summative assessment.

How you’ll be assessed

For this module, the assigned lecturer is guided to develop and assign a minimum of two assessment tasks, one of which should happen during the module to allow for formative feedback. Once the assessment tasks are developed by the lecturer, these go through a rigourous internal verification process to make sure that they are subject, level, and load appropriate.

All formative and summative tasks aim to provide the learner with an opportunity to produce evidence of his/her competences aligned to the learning outcomes of the modules and enhance his/her learning in the process.

Furthermore, the tasks may include different forms of assessment which allow and promote students’ knowledge in the area, critical engagement and other transversal skills that are required in the field (e.g., online discussions, in-class discussions, case studies, etc.).

The module consist of two assessments, each carrying a weighting as is below recommended:

a. Assessment 1 carries 20% of total module mark achieved. b. Assessment 2 carries 80% of total module mark achieved.

The overall grade achieved for this module is calculated as the sum of: · 80% of the mark achieved for Assessment 1; and · 20% of the mark achieved for Assessment 2.

a) Assessment 1 will be conducted in the form of an in-class/online discussion about research methods.

b) Assessment 2  will be conducted in the form of a 1,500-word assignment whereby the course participants need to show a thorough understanding of research methods and academic writing.

For successful completion of this study module the student is required to achieve an overall pass mark of 50%.


Module Intake Dates

October 2024

Learning Outcomes


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have acquired the responsibility and autonomy to:

  • Analyse the fundamentals of research including research ethics and research approaches.
  • Identify the skills needed when searching for and reviewing literature.
  • Be able to formulate research questions and design appropriate research.
  • Investigate methods of analysis for quantitative data, qualitative data, and mixed-methods research.
  • Ensure that ethical considerations and limitations are taken into consideration when conducting research.


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have been exposed to the following indicative content:

  • Be familiar with different types of research which may be conducted in ECE.
  • Learn about the different research methodologies which may be employed.
  • Learn about the different research tools (e.g. semi-structured interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, analysis of data sets, etc)
  • Understand the notions of research ethics and research integrity (e.g. business harm, moral harm, confidential harm, etc)
  • Know how to search for and review literature related to the research topic.
  • Understand key terms such as reliability, validity and generalisability.
  • Be familiar with designing a research tool for qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed-methods approaches.


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have acquired the following skills:

  • Appraise ethical issues that may arise while asking for data access and any other steps of carrying out research.
  • Critically apply knowledge and skills to devise solutions to unfamiliar problems in ECE.
  • Choose research methods that are crafted to address particular issue(s) in ECE.

Module-Specific Learner Skills:

At the end of the module/unit the learner will be able to:

  • Have a strong command of academic writing.
  • Justify their positionality in light of the chosen research interest.
  • Use proper referencing skills.
  • Propose a research question(s) and/or hypothesis which is realistic.

Module-Specific Digital Skills and Competences:

At the end of the module/unit, the learner will be able to:

  • Carry out academic research on websites (e.g. Google Scholar) or journals (e.g. EBSCO, Taylor & Francis, SAGE, etc).
  • Navigate the internet for documents and or guidebooks related to research methods in education.
  • Navigate through the online learning platform to download and upload the research proposal, discussion boards, literature, tutorials etc. · Use basic Microsoft office (or equivalent) applications in order to write and submit assignments.
  • Use different digital tools to conduct research (e.g. Google Scholar, Google Books, Research Gate, Mendeley, etc)
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