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Research Proposal Marksheet

A Pass grade must be achieved on all of the specific assessment criteria outlined.
Module Title: Research Methods

ECTS credits: 10 ECTS

Programme of Study:
MA Higher Education
Participant name:

MSc Applied eLearning

Tracey Dalton

Tutor Name: Claire McAvinia

First Assessor ! Second Assessor
Structure and Presentation Criteria**
The proposal is:

Clearly written, well-presented and organised, with close attention to academic conventions
concerning referencing, quotations, bibliography, footnotes, etc

Logical in structure, well laid out and attentive to academic writing conventions
This is a very clearly written proposal, well-presented and clearly Pass
structured. Academic referencing is managed reasonably well although
there are errors which should be corrected in the course of Year 2:

When two publications in the same year from one author are used,
the year should be labelled e.g. Udell 2005a, Udell 2005b
The convention is to use et al in the case of three or more
authors, but only after the first reference mentions all by name. In
this proposal, et al appears to have been used for any source with
more than one author. In the case of two authors, they should
always be named. Different journals have different guidelines
about this and it will need to be checked.
Two or three of the references in the list at the end of the proposal
have not been used in the main text.
Green et al seems to have been cited as Pinder-Grover et al (2012),
while the year for Mayer is unclear (2001 or 2009).

Literature Review and Scholarship Criteria **

The proposal:

Demonstrates a verifiable and comprehensible awareness of important previous work and

relevant/pertinent literature, work/personal experience to inform the rationale for the

Provides evidence of critical analysis and/or synthesis of appropriate literature

Demonstrates and builds upon skilled and judicious selection of relevant materials from
appropriate sources, with evidence that key sources have been both explored and acknowledged
This proposal shows evidence of good engagement with the literature, as Pass
well as some useful reflection on professional practice to inform the
proposal. The format of the literature search is included, which is good to
see. The origins of the term screencast are investigated, as well as the
challenges for students entering art and design subjects in higher
education. A gap in research has been identified: the use of screencasts for
interior design, and the student experience (rather than the output).
Further areas of literature which will need to be reviewed have also been
Context and Rationale Criteria

Identification of an appropriately focused study/project and adequate delineation of the

context in which the study/project will be developed and implemented

Identification of the current forces and context shaping the learning environment
Identification and discussion of the possible relevance and significance of the proposed

Evidence of an ability to present an intelligent and cogent argument



This proposal has presented a clearly planned and carefully selected Pass
project in the context of interior design teaching at third level, the nature
of the participant groups, and their current learning environment.
However, there is one issue relating to the applied nature of the MSc
which will need early clarification in discussion with the Supervisor. The
MSc project in the second year is designed to allow students to show the
skills they have developed, and is applied in nature. No doubt Traceys
learning from the MSc has already supported the development of the
screencasts discussed in this proposal. However, the proposal states that
the screencasts are (in effect) complete already and will not be revised. If
they are to form the artefact(s) to be submitted for the MSc then some
work should be undertaken here to complement the other facets of the
project in Year 2. Alternatively, a new resource could be produced based
on the findings from the project. Maybe this could be a small set of new a
screencasts informed by students feedback, or designed for others
teaching who wish to use screencasting in art or design subjects.

Research Feasibility, Design and Analysis Criteria

The participant has proposed a rigorous, systematic study including the selection of research
methodology and methods appropriate to the context of the work

Outline of a clear research aim and question

Inclusion of a logical and coherent plan for the development of the study/project and provision
of evidence of understanding of the key issues and arguments in relation to the realisation of the

Identification and description of the target group for the implementation and evaluation
stages of the study/project

Justification of the research approach which will ensure validity and reliability
All ethical issues have been identified and considered
Identification of all significant limitations and assumptions


This proposal presents a clear and systematic study which presents a clear Pass
ontological and epistemological position, a well-chosen methodology and
a good level of detail in relation to the methods planned.

The research questions are listed, although these are described as main
questions and ideally, just one main question would be stated with some
sub-objectives listed. This is in order to keep the focus of the work on the
main issue. To my reading, the second question, Can a blended learning
approach help to overcome new challenges in first year? now emerges as
the chief research question in this project. The first question is a little broad
and also assumes benefits, whereas this second question distils the issues
more clearly.

The target group for this work has been identified, and the work has been
scaled down from some of the initial draft plans to this more focused
design with one group. This is a good decision, and one that will enable
deeper data collection to support the case study approach.

In relation to the research methods, a mix of question types might be
desirable for the questionnaire, rather than using Likert questions alone.
This can be discussed with the Supervisor early in the project. The exemplar
question How useful do you find video tutorials in your learning? is
somewhat leading. The content of questions is not an essential for the
proposal at this stage, but mixing statements in Likert questions is
something to consider for later on. Questionnaires using Likert type
questions should present a mix of statements (some contradictory) to gain
a good sense of students responses.

Ethical issues have been managed reasonably well overall in this proposal,
and the process is quite advanced with a submission already having been
made to the DIT Research Ethics Committee. The Ethical Considerations
section is a little brief, as there are always ethical issues in every project
other sections of the proposal refer to these in more depth. Decisions made
around ethical issues should be continually documented for the eventual
journal paper.

Limitations and timescale have been managed in a pragmatic and clear
way in this proposal.

Feed forward
This proposal presents a very clear and well-planned project but some suggested amendments
and areas to bear in mind for Year 2 are mentioned here:

Identify one main research question from the list presented, and the others can function
as sub-questions/objectives of this research. Other themes and questions should not
divert focus from the main question.

The artefacts to be produced/submitted in terms of the MSc itself should be discussed

and clarified with the Supervisor early in Year 2. This is an important component of the
MSc and although it is clear that many good artefacts form the basis of this project, the
applied element of the MSc needs to be borne in mind.

Question design for the questionnaires (and indeed for other methods) should be
investigated so that leading questions are avoided, and a good balance of statements
and question types used to elicit students opinions in full.

Referencing and citation guidelines for the chosen journal will need to be adhered to

Overall decision/impression

Final Indicator

This is a very good and clear proposal, bringing the reader into the


teaching context in which the screencasts are being used, and giving a
sense of the novel and original elements of this work. The research design
is clear, and informed decisions have been taken about this plan. The
applied element of the MSc (in relation to the artefact(s)) needs a little
further consideration, but otherwise this case study will have the potential
to contribute to knowledge in this area and to inform the practice of other
lecturers in art and design subjects.

Signature of Assessor:

Date: 25th July 2014

**Indicates core criteria that apply across all modules that contribute to the MSc in Applied