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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course is for students undertaking postgraduate study which requires a good standard of critical reading and writing skills.

The essential aim of the course is to provide participants with a working knowledge of what is required to appraise journal and other material, and be able to present a reasoned argument based on evidence. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate the capability to

  • develop a critical understanding of the principal theories and concepts of the topics studied, together with knowledge of major policy issues involved
  • analyse critically evidence and arguments to support professional judgments

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Online Sustained Study No
  • Mrs Sandra Nicol
  • Dr Jennifer Spratt
  • Ms Sarah Cornelius

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Education (ED) (Studied)
  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course designer will, in consultation with colleagues, select firstly a single article of general interest for which two independent reviews will be prepared by staff as ‘exemplars’ of critical appraisal, and secondly select a further three significant journal articles from each of the following areas (chosen to provide for both education and non-education candidates): Care and support Learning and innovation Leadership Social policy and new directions for the public services • Unit 1 Suitable material relating to the requirements for critical reading and writing will be provided as general guidance. Candidates will be asked to look at the articles listed in the various areas and be asked to think about which area will best match their interests in terms of the course final assessment. • Formative task 1 Candidates will be asked to write a short critical review of the single article for which exemplars are available. Having completed this task, the two independent exemplars will be revealed and candidates asked to reflect on their own work against the exemplars. It will be stressed that two exemplars are provided to show that there is no single “right way”, a critical response often depending on the background and immediate interests of the reviewer. • Unit 2 Candidates will be asked to choose one article from one of the areas in which they are particularly interested and, in the light of their reflections in task 1, prepare a critical review. • Formative task 2 In pairs (or a group of three if necessary), candidates will exchange their reviews and comment in a moderated discussion forum on the other person’s review. • Unit 3 and summative assessment Candidates will prepare a comparative review of the three articles of the group from which they selected one for Unit 2.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: The assignment will consist of a 3000 word comparative review of three journal articles, chosen to reflect different research methodologies and data collection techniques. Resit: One opportunity for resit.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


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