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Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth

Studying E822 completes the MA qualification by conducting dissertation study in one of two forms. The focus for the dissertation will be negotiated with tutor support early in the module to ensure that it’s relevant to the qualification you’re studying towards. The research can then be carried out either as a small-scale investigation, which will involve data collection in a relevant setting, or as an extended proposal, which will build a research design to form a proposal from an extended analysis of relevant literature. Either form of dissertation has the potential to inform practice and/or further enquiry, including doctoral study.

Vocational relevance

This module is designed to contribute to your current or future roles in relation to educational provision and/or work in support of the development of children and young people, with a strong emphasis on how developing evidence can inform such roles. You’ll be supported in personal development planning, which is designed to help you maximise the value you gain from your module study. You’ll be encouraged to explicitly reflect on personal, academic, research and professional skills, and how you can use and continue to develop such skills within and beyond the module.


E822 is a compulsory module in both of the following qualifications:

It cannot be studied on its own or as part of any other qualifications.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

Studying E822 is an opportunity for you to explore in some depth an issue/challenge or topic which interests you personally and/or professionally, that has relevance to your particular qualification, and is meaningful and pertinent to education and/or the lives of children and young people.

The first aim of E822 is to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to operate effectively as a researcher in educational contexts and services for children and young people. This module will support you in developing the capabilities to understand and contribute to research within your current or future professional contexts.

The second aim of the module is to support you in successfully producing a dissertation: it will provide opportunities to develop and demonstrate your confidence and independent research abilities. You’ll find this module will give you insights into your own implicit or developing research position and help you to understand how this shapes the kind of research you’d undertake (the questions you ask, the design you create, the methods you use).

It’s anticipated that you are or wish to be involved in work in educational contexts and/or with children and/or young people in some capacity. This module will enable you to progress professionally as well as academically, and help you if you’re not currently working in these sectors to enter the workforce. You’ll be supported through personal development planning to make explicit how you’re benefiting from study on the module, including developing personal skills and understandings. In particular, you’ll be able to chart your developing identity as a researcher.

E822 caters for both those who have access to educational or other settings with children and young people to carry out a small-scale investigation (option 1) and those who do not and/or who prefer to carry out an extended literature review and research proposal (option 2) for a study which might be carried out beyond the MA qualification. Both forms of research represent current research approaches in the fields of education and childhood and youth. You’ll also learn how ethically to appraise an enquiry. For option 1, you’ll be supported in obtaining ethical clearance from your chosen research setting before commencement of data collection. In option 2, you’ll include a proposal that would form a sound basis for approval by the University Research Ethics Committee and the proposed research setting.

One of this module’s unique aspects is the way you’ll be working with peers and tutors from different specialisms, allowing discussion across different disciplines and different professional perspectives. The content of the module will be equally relevant to you whether you are from a background in, for example, early years, teaching, educational leadership in a range of settings, youth work, social work, nursing and counselling, and if you are or have worked with children and young people at different stages of development, from early childhood to young adulthood. All materials, online study guides and audiovisual resources will be accessible to you whatever your context. You’ll be supported by a tutor who has expertise and experience relevant to your qualification; and, at times, in groups of those working on an enquiry similar to your own.

You will learn

By the end of the module, and hence your MA qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level
  • reflect critically and constructively on ideas and frameworks presented in the module and their application to your practice and organisational context
  • plan, analyse, develop and produce an extended literature review and research proposal or plan, conduct, analyse and report on a small-scale investigation within a professional setting to enhance the understanding of practice.

You’ll have acquired and/or had the opportunity to develop qualities and transferable skills valuable for increasing your employability, such as those requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  • applied research and ethical issues relating to research and enquiry in their area of study
  • decision making in complex and unpredictable situations
  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development
  • the production of reports/outputs for academic and professional purpose

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll be assigned a tutor who will help you with the study material and grade and comment on your written work, and to whom you can turn for advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email, tutorials, one-to-one supervision and Office365. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms and support is also facilitated asynchronously in tutor group forums and module forums. Tutors across the module will also offer online sessions about aspects of the content of the module to the students across the module, which will be a good way to ‘meet’ other students and tutors.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth (E822) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2020.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    You must:

    • be studying towards either the MA in Education (F70) or MA in Childhood and Youth (F55)
    • have passed the first 60-credit module of one of these qualifications
    • be currently studying, or have completed, the second 60-credit module of your qualification. You can register for E822 whilst you are studying the second 60-credit module.

    Knowledge and understanding of the content of your pathways/programme in terms of key ideas and dimensions will be expected. This will include academic, professionally relevant and research skills content (including critical reading, critical writing, research ethics, awareness of different research traditions).

    Expect to spend approximately 15 hours per week when studying for this module.


    Start End Fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Oct 2022 Not yet available

    Registration closes 16/09/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2027.

    Future availability

    Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth (E822) starts once a year – in October.

    This page describes the module that will start in October 2020.

    We expect it to start for the last time in October 2027.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website. This includes the module study guide and activities, audio/video material and a range of tools to support your study, including real-time conferencing and online forums.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    • A desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows
    • The screen must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (and where applicable: musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    There may be issues with undertaking data collection in a research setting, which would need to be discussed with your tutor early in the module and might affect which form of dissertation enquiry you may undertake.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.