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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Education

Postgraduate Course: Comparative Analysis in Education (EDUA11336)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to provide student with a comprehensive overview of the theories and methodologies used in comparative education research. It includes on overview on (1) the models and frameworks used to define comparative education, (2) the tools available for sampling and measuring within comparative education (3) the research methodologies applied to conduct comparative research.
The course will enable students to critically evaluate the soundness of research in the field of comparative education.
Course description The course will consist of ten lectures and will balance between lecturing and specific practical exercises in class.

Phase 1

The first few sessions will mainly focus on aims, theories and models of comparative education, including the core definitions of ┐comparative┐ education and the mainstream comparative models. Differences between international and comparative education as comparative education does not automatically refer to international education. It refers to comparisons between groups, but also to comparisons over time.
We will work on examples of comparative education, such as journal articles that contain a comparative element. A range of articles will be chosen in order to reflect the differences as discussed in the models and classifications.

Phase 2

Having introduced the core definitions and models, we will focus on the importance of the sample and of selection the groups to be compared in the comparative research. Several tools to inform the sample selection will be discussed, such as the role of welfare typologies in order to select countries, the concept of statistical neighbours to explore similar or different counties, provinces or Local Authorities, the role of school and university rankings, tools available to classify workplaces and industries, ┐
Time will also be used to focus on the importance of standardised measurements and concepts. We will discuss the need for formulating concepts that will be understood in the different selected groups. Also, we will discuss standardised measurements and coding schemes used in comparative research. Examples include the ISCED classification, the Goldthorpe class schema, the ISCO-88 classification, standardised achievement tests.
Comparative education does not only refer to comparing between groups, but also to comparing the same groups over time. During this session, we will explore various existing longitudinal studies in the field of education, and will focus on various types including case studies, life course perspective studies, birth cohort studies and biographical studies.

Phase 3

As a last phase within this course, students will work towards undertaking research, starting with focussing on research aims, objectives and questions. Students will work in small groups and will chose a research topic, formulate research questions, and defend the choice of their sample. Examples of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods studies in comparative education. Based on journal articles, three different types of studies will be introduced, analysed and discussed. Core work by Ragin ┐the comparative method: moving beyond quantitative and qualitative research┐ will be used as a core guidance within this session. We will also work on research design and methods. We will be also discuss a range of comparative analytical techniques, including t-tests and ANOVA┐s for quantitative research, and the qualitative comparative method for qualitative research. Existing research examples will be explore.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 25, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. 4,000 word essay ┐ 100%
Students will have to assess a piece of research in the field of comparative and international research. The course organiser will make a selection of publications that recently appeared in the leading journals in the field (e.g. Globalisation, Societies and Education; Compare; Comparative Education, but also psychological and sociological education journals). Students will be asked to engage in a critical evaluation of the research methods used, as well as to demonstrate their critical reflection on the models and frameworks used across the sessions of the course. These elements are also reflected in the learning outcomes listed above.
Feedback Feedback based on Postgraduate marking scheme
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically analyse the key challenges and issues of conducting comparative education research,
  2. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically analyse the major streams, models and classifications used in comparative education research,
  3. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically analyse the tools available for sampling and measuring in comparative education research,
  4. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically analyse research questions and designs used in comparative research methods,
  5. At the end of the course, students should be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of research published in the field of comparative education.
Reading List
Indicative resources ┐ examples of key texts and other resources

Beech J. (2006). The theme of educational transfer in comparative education: A View over time. Research in Comparative and International Education, 1(1), 2-13.

Bray, M., Adamson, B. & Mason, M. (eds) (2007). Comparative education research: approaches and methods. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre.

Bray, Mark & Thomas, R. Murray (1995): Levels of Comparison in Educational Studies: Different Insights from Different Literatures and the Value of Multilevel Analyses, Harvard Educational Review, Vol.65, No.3, pp.472-90.

Broadfoot, P. (2000). Comparative education for the 21st Century: retrospect and prospect. Comparative Education, 36(3), 357-371.

Dale, R. & Robertson, S. (2009). Globalisation and Europeanisation in education. London: Symposium Books.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Epstein, E.H. (1994). Comparative and international education: overview and historical development. In: T. HusÚn & T. N. Postlethwaite,(eds) International encyclopedia of education. Oxford: Pergamon Press, p.918-923.

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics. London: SAGE.

Fraser, S.E. & Brickman, W.W. (1968). A history of international and comparative education: nineteenth-century documents. Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman and Company.

Halls, W.D. (ed.) (1990). Comparative education: contemporary issues and trends. Paris: UNESCO and London: Jessica Kingsley.

Hantrais, L. (2008). International comparative research: theory, methods and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik, J. & Warner, U. (2014). Harmonising demographic and socio-economic variables for cross-national comparative survey research. Dordrecht: Springer.

Lor, P. (2011). Methodology in comparative studies. In: Lor, P (Ed.) International and Comparative Librarianship. Online available at:

Noah, H.J. & Eckstein, M. (1998). Doing Comparative Education: Three Decades of Collaboration. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, University of Hong Kong.

Raffe, D. (2007). Learning from ┐home international┐ comparisons: 14-19 policy across the United Kingdom, In: D. Raffe and K. Spours (eds) Policy making and policy learning in 14-19 education. London: Bedford Way Papers, University of London Institute of Education, pp.133-156.

Ragin, C. (1987). The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. University of California Press 1987.

Theisen, G. & Adams, D. (1990). Comparative education research. In R.M. Thomas (Ed), International comparative education: practices, issues and prospects. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.

Wadsworth, M. & Bynner, J. (2011). A companion to life course studies: the social and historical context of the British Cohort Studies. London: Routledge.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Course specific graduate attributes
┐ Enquiry and Lifelong Learning ┐ how we approach knowledge and learning
┐ Aspiration and Personal Development ┐ how we approach our own development and goals
┐ Outlook and Engagement ┐ how we engage with the world around us

┐ Research and Enquiry
┐ be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them
┐ be able to exercise critical judgment in creating new understanding
┐ be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
┐ be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge
┐ search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
┐ have an informed respect for the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of their discipline(s) and the capacity to question these understand economic, legal, social, cultural and environmental issues in the use of information
┐ recognise the importance of reflecting on their learning experiences and be aware of their own learning style

┐ Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
┐ be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking
┐ be creative and imaginative thinkers
┐ be able to identify processes and strategies for learning
┐ be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
┐ be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
┐ be able to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and
┐ strengthen their own views
┐ be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest
┐ be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts
┐ have a personal vision and goals and be able to work towards these in a sustainable way

┐ Personal Effectiveness
┐ appreciate and use talents constructively
┐ have the confidence to make decisions based on their understandings and their personal and intellectual autonomy
┐ be able to flexibly transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another
┐ understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues
┐ be able to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, experience and skills
┐ work with, manage, and lead others in ways that value their diversity and equality and that encourage their contribution to the organisation and the wider community
Keywordscomparative research,education research
Course organiserDr Ellen Boeren
Tel: (0131 6)51 6233
Course secretaryMr Giorgi Amirkhanashvili
Tel: (0131 6)51 4241
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