Page 1 of 1

Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

At present students on the MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning take a generic research methods module offered by the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics. This module lacks content specific to the needs of the MATCEL students, particularly those who undertake a development project (rather than a dissertation) for EL6013, the 30-credit summer module. The proposed new module will address the specific requirements for both dissertations and development projects in technical communication and e-learning.


This module has two strands, a development project strand and a dissertation strand. It prepares students to select either the development or dissertation route, and to plan and write a proposal for the EL6013 summer project/dissertation. It also prepares students to apply for ethical approval for their summer project/dissertation. Development project strand: - Components of e-learning and technical communication development projects. - The systematic design of instruction. - Usability evaluation of development projects. Dissertation strand: - Formulating an appropriate research question in technical communication or e-learning. - Components of technical communication or e-learning dissertations. - Research methodologies in technical communication and e-learning.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to: - Distinguish between the requirements for a development project and a dissertation in technical communication or e-learning. - Apply for ethical approval for the summer module (EL6013), if the research involves human participants. - Produce a detailed research proposal suitable for either an MA dissertation or a development project in technical communication or e-learning. Specific learning outcomes for the development project and dissertation routes: Development project: - Identify components of a development project. - Select an appropriate topic for development. - Conduct a needs assessment. - Analyse tasks, objectives, and media requirements. - Research and evaluate information and communication technologies for e-learning. Dissertation: - Select an appropriate topic for research. - Develop a research question appropriate for MA-level research. - Critically review published works in their relevant field of research. - Choose appropriate research methodologies for their dissertation.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to: - Appreciate the importance of ethical considerations when undertaking a research project involving human participants.

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)


How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

This module will be taught by block delivery (one day) on campus. Students come on campus for an intensive plenary session. This session is supplemented with resources, learning objects and online discussions offering peer and tutor support through the University VLE. The module is informed by best practices in technical communication and e-learning research (Hughes and Hayhoe, 2008). The module responds to graduate attributes by encouraging students to take responsibility for planning a piece of research. It also encourages them to be creative and proactive, through the identification of a suitable topic, and subsequent planning and design phases.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Hughes, Michael and Hayhoe, George (2008) A Research Primer for Technical Communication: Methods, Exemplars, and Analyses. , Lawrence Erlbaum
Hayhoe, George and Conklin, James (2011) Qualitative Research in Technical Communication , Routledge
Johnson-Eilola, Johndan (2004) Central Works in Technical Communication , Oxford University Press
Dick, Walter, Carey, Lou, Carey, James O. (2014) The Systematic Design of Instruction , Pearson Education
Gagné, Robert M, Wager, Walter W., Golas, Katharine, and Keller, John M. (2004) Principles of Instructional Design , Wadsworth

Other Relevant Texts:

Callegaro, Mario, Lozar Manfreda, Katja, and Vehovar, Vasja (2015) Web Survey Methodology , Sage
Wyse, Dominic, Selwyn, Neil, and Smith, Emma (2016) The BERA/Sage Handbook of Educational Research , Sage
Marcus-Quinn, Ann and Hourigan, Triona (2016) The Handbook for ICT in K-12 Education , Springer
Flammia, Madelyn, Cleary, Yvonne and Slattery, Darina (2016) Virtual Teams in Higher Education: Handbook for Students and Teachers , Information Age Publishing

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

MATCELTFA - Technical Communication and E-Learning
MATCELTPA - Technical Communication and E-Learning

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: