PE7069 - Systematic Appraisal

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will focus on the role of the practitioner as a research user. Although the focus of this module in on Systematic Appraisal, you will also be introduced to a range of very different Research Methodologies and often very different linked Research Methods - used in each methodology. Of course, it is your academic responsibility, as a level 7 academic student, to read and research each of the methodologies to consolidate your learning. This will enable you to further develop your understanding of the importance of contextualisation and the philosophy around research. It will also enable you to evaluate the validity and reliability of the secondary research that you select as the basis of your own research, whilst also supporting your rationale for why Systematic Appraisal is the appropriate methodology for your research topic.

You will have the opportunity to make effective and systematic use of published research to inform education practice and/or policy. Through the process of the systematic appraisal, you will develop enhanced critical appraisal skills. The systematic appraisal project will address research questions which arise from your specific practice/field of expertise. These questions may address:
• Effectiveness of single/definable interventions in order to state and recommend best practice/provide evidence-based guidelines for practice.
• Evaluation of appropriateness/acceptability/process/outcomes of educational provision in order to improve/develop/inform practice.
• The service user experience of education services.
• Relationships between practitioners and service users.
• Theoretical and ideological issues of relevance to education practice and/or policy.

You will be supported to select published work to be included in the appraisal; this may be either entirely quantitative, entirely qualitative or mixed method. You will then have the opportunity to consider the philosophical perspective of both the research question and the appraisal methodology.
The focus of this module is a small-scale systematic review which you will undertake with the support of an experienced academic research supervisor.

How will I learn on this module?

The programme uses Technology Enhanced Learning as a framework to support and enhance teaching and learning. As a Distance Learning programme, delivery is entirely online via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Each module is supported by numerous interactive sessions over a period of 10 weeks of learning, leading to an assessment submission week (you will study one module at a time). Session delivery captures a variety of formats acknowledging the nature and content of the individual module and subject, alongside your needs as a student. You will also be encouraged to participate in interactive discussion boards where you will be able to share your thoughts with others and engage in debate. Some sessions are text based, others utilise audio and video tools to deliver the learning materials. All sessions have interactive elements that enable you to enhance your understanding and consolidate your learning, thereby facilitating formative feedback. All modules are supported by online reading lists that provide simplified access to various electronic, digital and hard copy sources. You also can participate in scheduled Blackboard Collaborate sessions, in which you will be able to “video-conference” academic tutors and students.

Within the programme, there are wide ranging opportunities for you to engage actively in research rich learning through problem solving, project work and real-world examples all of which are informed by current research and practice, as well as reading journal papers that develop your theoretical insight. All of the Level 7 modules that form the programme cover each of the four elements of research-rich learning, but with increasing emphasis on you, as a student, being an active participant rather than part of an audience. There is a significant application of research-based (enquiry-based) and research-tutored approaches, the former being significantly supported through organisation-oriented summative assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

There are a range of mechanisms to support you academically throughout your Distance Learning study with us. These will include induction and study support interventions, supported electronically, to recognise the different backgrounds of students entering this programme at Level 7.

You will have the support of an academic Programme Leader from the subject discipline, who will lead the programme from an academic perspective and will be available to support you in terms of any academic guidance you require. From an individual module perspective, you will be supported academically by the module tutor leading the individual module you are undertaking at any given point in time, alongside the receipt of peer support from your fellow participants on your module, be it through Blackboard Collaborate and/or online discussion boards.

For your dissertation you will receive a tutor who will be a subject specialist from the education discipline. The tutor will provide you, through online meetings, appropriate academic support for this research-based, digital marketing oriented individual piece of work.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Explore the breadth and complexity of research methods involved in systematic review.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Conceptualise the research topic and establish its relevance to the practice area/field of expertise
2. Define the study protocol in terms of the research question and scope (variables/factors/settings to be studied), inclusion criteria, search strategy, critical appraisal techniques, data extraction and analysis methods.
3. Examine critically the ethical and philosophical issues related to the appraisal and included studies.
4. Implement a systematic appraisal to examine the research question.
5. Demonstrate enhanced critical appraisal skills.
6. Analyse and interpret the extracted data from the included studies giving due regard to issues of reliability, validity, rigour, trustworthiness and reflexivity.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. Enhance your communication and independent learning skills through discussion and in your summative written work
2. Further develop your research skills through identification of appropriate secondary data and literature on which your dissertation will be based.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
You will complete a review proposal which must be approved prior to any practical work. The proposal must include an identified problem and detailed strategy for identifying and accessing the source of secondary data, published and unpublished. The approach to further analysis and conceptualisation should also be identified.

You will receive written and verbal feedback from your tutor.

Summative Assessment:
You produce a final project report which systematically presents the secondary data upon which the project based in an appropriate academic style supported by the current literature base and accurately referenced. (15000 words)
MLOs: (KU 1) (IPSA 1-6) (PVA 1 & 2)

You will receive written feedback against the specific criteria as well as general feedback.





Module abstract


Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Part-Time Distance Learning

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start Upcoming Intakes: July 2024, October 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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