The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course is an introduction to fundamental discussions and concepts in educational research. Students will engage with key debates in the philosophy of social science and consider the role of theory in educational research.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Understand key issues in the philosophy of social science including recognising how different paradigms conceptualise knowledge, validity and the researchers' position

2. Understand the role of theory in research and become familiar with some of the major contemporary theoretical perspectives in educational research

3. Understand competing traditions of education research and the implications for research design


  1. Introduction to theories of educational research
  2. Key issues in the philosophy of social science
  3. Research Paradigms: Ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions
  4. Knowledge, objectivity and relativism
  5. Research quality, credibility, validity
  6. The role of theory in educational research
  7. Major theoretical perspective #1: Critical theory
  8. Major theoretical perspective #2: Poststructuralism
  9. Major theoretical perspective #3: Phenomenology
  10. Paradigm, methodology, theory, and research project design


Students cannot enrol in this course if they have successfully completed EDUC4940.

Assumed knowledge

Minimum of 160 units of undergraduate study including: 80 units study in Education units incorporating both EDUC2102 and EDUC2103.

Assessment items

Presentation: Seminar Presentation

Written Assignment: Assignment 2

Written Assignment: Review of research literature

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks