The aim of this article is to report on the strategies which were used to teach research design to Masters students, as part of my professional development as higher education practitioner. The focus is on exploring the use of cooperative learning as a vehicle to facilitate the acquiring of knowledge and skills in terms of research methodology. This is an action research project guided by the research question: To what extent can cooperative learning be used to assist students to acquire and develop research knowledge and skills? Included in the article are the various activities which I undertook in order to provide students with the opportunity to practically apply theoretical knowledge and thus to improve the understanding of what research entails and how the various elements fit together. Findings indicate that students enjoyed the approach to teaching and learning and found the activities used ‘enriching’. Furthermore, there was a clear progression in which students moved from being ‘reactionary and see[ing] themselves more like empty vessels to be filled with knowledge’ to participating as stated by a student ‘group work activities expect more of the learner than just sitting and listening to a lecturer’. This method of teaching enables students to decide on the ‘way we learners have to construct our own knowledge’.