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Educational research is often seen as research that investigates aspects or dimensions of education. It does so in order to gain better/new/different understandings of what is going on, often with the ambition to contribute to the improvement of educational practice. This all sounds straightforward, but actually raises a number of practical, intellectual and political questions which this module seeks to foreground and explore. One question is what would actually ‘count’ as education and how one might be able to identify it – which is a prerequisite before one can even begin to conduct research ‘on’ it. Another question is what it would mean to improve education and how research might be of help in this task rather than get in the way. And then there is the question of research itself, particularly what kinds of ‘access’ research actually provides, what the possibilities and limitations of such access are, and how different approaches can be understood and justified. This module is intended to help beginning research students in education and other fields to explore these questions in order to better understand what it might mean to engage in the conduct of educational research and why, when and under what conditions it might be worthwhile to do so.