Research Methods in Early Childhood Education 2

MQF Level 6


Research Methods in Early Childhood Education 2

October 2024
Module Type
ECTS Credits

Module Description

This advanced module builds on the introductory concepts covered in Research Methods in Early Childhood Education 1, focusing on deeper engagement with complex research methodologies and ethical considerations in Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Advanced Research Techniques: Participants will explore advanced topics in research design, including problematic scenarios, quality issues, target population identification, sampling strategies, and the use of software for data analysis.
  • Research Proposal Development: Each participant will identify a research interest within ECE and develop a comprehensive research proposal. This proposal will demonstrate proficiency in literature review, research planning, method selection, anticipating limitations, and forecasting outcomes.
  • Ethical Considerations: Special attention will be given to the ethical aspects of conducting research, particularly in the context of Malta’s unique challenges as a small island state. Discussions will cover issues such as confidentiality, anonymity, voluntary consent, and potential harms.

By the end of the module, participants will be prepared to carry out their dissertation research, equipped with advanced knowledge of research methodologies and a strong ethical framework to guide their work.

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 40% of total module mark achieved. b. Assessment 2 carries 60% of total module mark achieved.

The overall grade achieved for this module is calculated as the sum of: · 40% of the mark achieved for Assessment 1; and · 60% of the mark achieved for Assessment 2.

a) Assessment 1 will be conducted in the form of a presentation with relation to the proposal.

b) Assessment 2  will be conducted in the form of the submission of the research proposal.

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 complexities of research including research ethics and research approaches.
  • Demonstrate an ability to design a research proposal.
  • Identify the skills needed when reviewing the literature to be used in their research proposal.
  • Analyse the research design, the methodology and the methods to formulate the research questions and/or hypotheses.
  • Analyse the critical importance of data sampling, data collection and data access for inductive and deductive research.
  • Ensure that ethical considerations and limitations are taken into consideration when designing a research proposal.


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

  • Be familiar with different types of research which may be conducted in ECE and in their research proposal.
  • Learn about the different research methodologies which may be employed in their research proposal.
  • Strengthen their knowledge about the different research tools (e.g. semi-structured interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, analysis of data sets, etc) which may be used in their research proposal.
  • Be familiar with the process of ethical clearance from their own institution.
  • Be familiar with how to access the research setting and the role of the gatekeepers.
  • Understand the different sampling strategies used in educational research.
  • Understand key terms such as reliability, validity and generalisability.
  • Know the difference between collecting data for inductive and deductive research.
  • Be familiar with designing a research tool for qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed-methods approaches.
  • Learn about ways how to analyse data, also by using software such as MAXQDA, NVIVO, SPSS, etc.


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

  • Formulate research questions and design appropriate research.
  • Be able to collect and analyse data using a variety of methods.
  • 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.
  • Evaluate and carry out methodology appropriate to the ECE field (e.g. collect, analyse and interpret data and information, generate and test hypotheses, synthesise and organise information)
  • Choose research methods that are crafted to address particular issues in ECE.

Module-Specific Learner Skills:

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

  • Understand the research process and design a timeline to reflect this.
  • Justify their positionality in light of the their research proposal.
  • Apply ethical considerations in their research proposal.
  • Use proper referencing skills.
  • Propose a research question(s) and/or hypothesis for the research proposal.

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),
  • Learn how to use different digital tools to analyse data (e.g. NVIVO, SPSS, MAXQDA, etc)
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