Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking in Social Research Methods Education

Exploring 'critical thinking' from a student perspective through collaboration with UCC Skills Centre

In designing this workshop, we worked with the UCC Skills Centre, whose staff provide exceptional resources to UCC students to enable them to ‘unlock their potential’, as they put it. The Skills Centre runs a workshop for students on critical thinking. Kathy Bradley, who is its Director, generously sponsored two the centre’s tutors, Ian Kearney and James Groarke, to contribute to this project, both of whom have considerable experience of working with students.

During this workshop, we explored the design of exemplar assessments that could be used in social research methods education to bring the subject to life for students. We intend to collaborate with students through the Skills Centre to test the curriculum and the assessments for/as/of learning with the intention of including the material permanently in the curriculum and making this content available as an open access resource through the National Forum. Staff who participate in the project by contributing to the content and design of assessments, drawing on their digital skills, can apply for a Gold Digital Badge.

Assessments for/as/of learning

The design of assessments is based on a set of principles outlined by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, namely:

In addition to being valid, reliable and effective:

  1. Assessment and feedback should empower students to become self-regulated learners.
  2. Assessment and feedback should be clear and understandable by staff and students.
  3. Decisions on assessment and feedback should be guided by a programme-level approach.
  4. Assessment and feedback approaches should foster partnership between staff and students.
  5. Students should experience a diverse range of assessment methods, including, where relevant, authentic and work-based assessments.
  6. Assessment and feedback should be manageable for staff and students.
  7. Assessment and feedback should be enhanced through staff engaging in related professional development, including engagement in scholarship in this area.
  8. Assessment and feedback should be supported by enabling policies.


See the National Forum’s resources on assessments for/as/of learning for further details.

Funded by

Speeds HEA
Speeds HEA
Speeds HEA