Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 703

Research Proposal Writing

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: MDDE 700 and MDDE 701, or MDDE 702

Availability: All terms

Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


This three-credit course focuses on the integration of the competencies acquired in MDDE 602, MDDE 700, and either MDDE 701 or MDDE 702 with the generation of a thesis research proposal. The four components of this course include framing the research question from the topic of interest, a comprehensive review of the literature that focuses on the individual student's topic of interest, an in-depth analysis of a completed research proposal and of a completed M.Ed. thesis (both by graduated M.Ed. thesis students), and the generation of a research proposal. All activities and assignments are designed to build community among research students.

Students that successfully complete MDDE 703, but opt out of the thesis route, will be granted three elective credits towards the course-based route.

Course Goals

The goals of MDDE 703 are to provide those M.Ed. program students who have decided to pursue the thesis program route with the following:

  • Identify the research question
  • A comprehensive review of the literature related to the student’s chosen thesis topic
  • An analysis of examples of completed master's level theses research proposals in distance education
  • Production of research proposal

Course Outline

MDDE 703 consists of four modules that focus on the following topics:

  • Module 1 – Research interest discussion
  • Module 2 - Research framework
  • Module 3 - Analysis of thesis research proposals
  • Module 4 - Research proposals

Learning Resources


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Sage Publications.

Other Resources

Online Study Guide

Student Assessment

Three (3) assignments are to be completed and submitted. They comprise a substantive part of the course activities and are described in detail in the Assignment Manual. All assignments are graded as pass/fail and the final course grade is also pass/fail. A brief description of each assignment is given below:

Activity Weighting
Assignment #1 - Conventional and on-line literature search. Students will carry out a comprehensive search of the existing literature, both conventional (paper-based) and on-line. Pass/Fail
Assignment #2 - Analysis and evaluation of a sample thesis and proposal. Students will select examples of completed master's level theses and research proposals, and critically analyze and evaluate their selections. Pass/Fail
Assignment #3 - Research proposal production. Students will produce a comprehensive research proposal draft and present a practice presentation in preparation for proposal defense. Pass/Fail

Note: Changes to assignments may be made from time to time by individual instructors.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.