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Taught Modules

The Researching Professional

The purpose of this module - stretching across the length of the taught component of the professional doctorate - is to consider, in a holistic sense, the nature of ‘knowledge’, its generation and management in various contexts, and the relationship of this to the participant’s professional culture, identity and role. The multiple factors – at a macro, meso and micro level - shaping knowledge and organisational cultures will be critically explored. The ways in which knowledge is constructed and used, and the place of forms of evidence and research in informing, shaping and reshaping practices – and professional self-identity within this – will be critically evaluated.

Participants will be enabled to conceptualise the idea of the researching professional and to demonstrate a number of applicable knowledge, traits and competences in this regard including:

1. An in-depth and critical understanding of the complexities of their professional context and the multiple factors shaping it;
2. Critical reflection on their professional identity, self and agency in the organisational settings and the philosophies and theories informing practice;
3. Critical evaluation of the use and critical interpretation of research relevant to their professional context;
4. Critical understanding of various forms of knowledge generation, management and dissemination in different working contexts and the epistemologies underpinning these.

Research Methods and Design

The purpose of this module is to enable the student to reflect on the variety of methods available to complete doctoral level research. Students will discuss relevant and appropriate knowledge and skills required, including literature searching at doctorate level, critical reading, identifying and defining the research question, methodological and analytical processes involved in completing the research process, and research ethics associated with particular methods. Students will be introduced to a variety of research methods dependent on the interests, circumstances and expertise of the group. Students will compare and contrast research paradigms and approaches, consider the implications for their own research question and develop a design, including the formation of a research question.

Participants are enabled to:

1. Engage critically with research methodologies and methods;
2. Appreciate and synthesise a range of research skills relevant to the conduct of a doctoral standard research study;
3. Critically debate the differences between the main research paradigms;
4. Critically review and evaluate the main methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis;
5. Critically discuss relevant issues of research design, implementation and data analysis;
6. Present and communicate ideas clearly, orally and in writing;

Project Development, Planning and Management.

This module seeks to equip students with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to plan, initiate, manage and “write up” their doctoral research project.


Participants will be able to:

1. Develop a clear rationale for a research project, drawing appropriately on relevant literature and conceptual frameworks
2. Explain the paradigm and approach that is most suitable for a proposed study
3. Understand how ethical issues apply to the design and implementation of a research project
4. Explain why particular strategies and decisions will be adopted and implemented
5. Evaluate and articulate strategies for managing information and data
6. Plan their research effectively and flexibly
identify and develop an appropriate academic voice for writing the thesis/portfolio