The first module – Research Methods in Education and Social Science Settings: Philosophy, methodology, techniques and tools is a bit of a mouthful. It was a great introduction to the programme however, and provided the first opportunity to carry out research at PhD level, all be it small-scale.
It’s worth explaining here the rules about staying on the PhD track on our programme. You must get 60% in every assessment (all five of them) in the first part of the PhD to stay on track. If you dip below this, then you have one chance to recover… if not, then all of your efforts are in vain, and whilst you can leave with an MPhil, or MRes, you cannot proceed onto part two.
I chose a subject close to my heart, the motivational aspects (or reasons) why students decide to embark on professional doctorates. I worked my little socks off, though also following the advice of my peers and kept the primary research very low-key, interviewing just two people who had, or were near to completing their professional doctorates.
The submission and peer review process is one of the strengths of the course, you submit a draft assignment, which should be as complete as is possible. It is then peer reviewed by two of your peers within the cohort, and you also get feedback from a tutor on the programme. You then have a fortnight to rework and resubmit your assignment.
The feedback was pretty critical, and looking back at my first draft I can see why. The tutor feedback (for a 5.5k word assignment) ran to nearly 3k words. A crazy couple of weeks of rewrites and reworks, including nearly doubling the number of references followed, and it was with trepidation that I submitted the work.
The result – 60%, a ‘bare pass’ to stay on the PhD route.