Assessment Details

There are two parts to the assessment of the module both of which are worth 50% of the marks.

  • Research Design Proposal
  • Reflective Blog


All work will be considered by two markers and a provisional mark and feedback will be returned to you within 3 working weeks.  All marks will be provisional until they have been approved by the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education exam board later in the year (c. Autumn 2009). 


1.      Research Design Proposal

Deadline Friday 13th March 2009

Word limit 2000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices). To be submitted by email (to as word processed documents (12 point font, double spaced) by 17.00 on the submission date.


You should write a proposal in which you describe and present the research project that you intend to pilot (using online research methods) as part of this course. 

The proposal should:

  •  Identify your research question(s) and briefly explain why it is important;
  • Justify why you consider the use of online research methodology is appropriate to address this research question;
  • Explain which specific online methods you will employ and justify the selection of these techniques;
  • Discuss the ethical and methodological issues that the use of online methods raises for your work and how you intend to address these; and
  • Briefly summarise the ways in which you intend to analyse the data you collect and report on the findings.


Throughout, the proposal should explain how your research project, and particularly those aspects related to the use of online research methods, relate to, and are informed by relevant publications.  The suggested reading, e-tivities and online seminars/meetings over the first few weeks of the course are all designed to help you explore these issues in relation to the use of online research methods generally.  The research design proposal is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how these issues specifically relate to the research project that you intend to undertake.  You will also find further resources and bibliographies on the course reading list and the project website at

2.      Reflective Blog

You should make at least weekly posts to your own relective blog throughout the course. In terms of the assessment we will consider all posts made up to and including Friday 3rd April 2009.

The reflective blog is a way in which you will assess and evidence your personal progress and development as an online researcher.  Your posts should demonstrate how you have engaged in critical and analytical reflection on use of online research methods over the course of the module.  We will be expecting you to post at least weekly reflecting on the weekly e-tiviites and the discussions you have had within the synchronous meetings.  We also expect you to read and post to other course members blogs.

Your blog should provide a personal statement in which you critically examine how your knowledge, understanding and skills as an online researcher have developed as a result of undertaking this module.

Roth (1989) [Preparing the Reflective Practitioner: Transforming the Apprentice through the Dialectic, Journal of Teacher Education 40, pp. 31-35] summarises the reflective processes in the following way, which you may find helpful as you compose your posts:

  • Questioning what, why, and how one does things and asking what, why, and how others do things;
  • Seeking alternatives;
  • Keeping an open mind;
  • Comparing and contrasting;
  • Seeking the framework, theoretical basis, and/or underlying rationale;
  • Viewing from various perspectives;
  • Asking 'what if...?';
  • Asking for others' ideas and viewpoints;
  • Using prescriptive models only when adapted to the situation;
  • Considering consequences;
  • Hypothesizing;
  • Synthesizing and testing;
  • Seeking, identifying, and resolving problems.


The combination of these two assessments should enable you to demonstrate how you have met the module’s learning outcomes as shown in the table below:


Learning Outcomes






1. Evaluate when online research methods are appropriate for social science research



2. Discuss the key ethical and methodological issues surrounding the use of online research methods



3. Critically evaluate the use of online research methods to address their own and their peers’ research questions



4. Design and implement an online questionnaire or online interview to address their own research questions.



5. Evaluate their online research design in the light of feedback from the pilot;



6. Identify the key issues in successful implementation of online research methods from the perspective of researcher and respondent;



7. Reflect on their experience as an online researcher and identify further opportunities for development.




3. Marking Criteria

Each assessment will be marked using these Marking Criteria which indicate the standard of work that is required to achieve each grade (Distinction, Merit, Pass, Refer). 


To take part in this module you are required to abide by the University of Leicester’s General Regulations for Taught Postgraduate Degrees. Of particular note is section 16 which deals with Academic Dishonesty.


For help and advice on Plagiarism and issues of academic honesty visit the Student Learning Centre.


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Exploring Online Research Methods

This site is part of the ESRC funded Exploring Online Research Methods project.

For further information and resources please visit the Exploring Online Research Methods website.

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