Masters multi-disciplinary dissertation: education, childhood and youth

This module completes your masters degree by conducting a 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 the:


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
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

This 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 the module 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 is to support you in successfully producing a dissertation. It will provide you with 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.

This module caters both for 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 commencing data collection. In option 2, you’ll include a proposal that would form a sound basis for approval by your proposed research setting.

One unique aspect of this module 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 audio-visual 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 and one-to-one supervision. For the last unit of the dissertation, when you will be developing the written dissertation, you will have a dedicated forum space for 1:1 support from your tutor, who will give you feedback on three drafts of chapters. These drafts are not marked and do not form part of the module's assessment but are great opportunities to support the construction of your dissertation.

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.

Working with other students

It’s not a compulsory requirement for you to interact or collaborate with others in your tutor group to pass this module, but we do encourage you to share ideas and experiences with your peers through asynchronous forums. There may be some activities that recommend working with other students as this is an important way in which you can broaden your knowledge and understanding of children, young people and education across different contexts. However, alternative ways of working can be facilitated.


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

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 2024.

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 Masters degree in Education (F70) or MA in Childhood and Youth (F55)
  • have passed the first 60-credit module of one of these qualifications, or received Credit Transfer towards Stage 1 of your qualification.
  • be either 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 pathway/programme in terms of key ideas and dimensions is an expectation. This includes academic, professionally relevant and research skills content (including critical reading, critical writing, research ethics, awareness of different research traditions).

In order to study this module you do not need to be employed in a practice setting. However, it is important that you have some experience of engaging or working with learners, children or young people as you will need to be able to apply your learning to a relevant context or learning environment.

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


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Oct 2025 £2645.00

Registration closes 12/09/24 (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 2024.

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.

Additional support materials can be found on the masters subject site. You will also have access to a tool, called OurJourney, which supports your personal development planning reflections.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

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.

Where possible, we can make reasonable adjustments to facilitate your participation where a learning difficulty or disability may impact studying.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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