Education | Strategies for Educational Inquiry
Y520 | 5499 | Linda Shepard
Text Book: Fraenkel, J. and Wallen, N. (2000). How to Design and
Evaluate Research in Education
Several readings will be provided throughout the course or placed on
reserve in the Education Library.
Y520 is an introduction for beginning graduate students to the purpose
and means of the various practices of educational research. This
course will acquaint you with the language of social science research,
with different understandings of the purpose and use of research, with
various ways of framing research questions and designing studies, and
with generally accepted procedures for generating, analyzing and
To pursue greater understanding of research methodologies you should
consider enrolling in one or more of the courses offered through the
Inquiry Methodology program area as well as specialty research courses
in your respective departments. I will be happy to provide an
overview of these courses and discuss the appropriate choice of a
course with you.
I expect you to attend class regularly; study and analyze assigned
readings; participate in class discussions; and complete the
assignments and examinations. Some of the work in class will be done
in small groups organized around a topic for study. You will need to
have an email account: If you do not have an active account, visit
UITS in the IMU, room 059. Do this ASAP as the process may take
There will be two exams, worth a total of 30% of the final grade; one
literature review worth 30%; two article critiques worth a total of
30%; and class participation and assigned homework worth 10% of the
Details of the exams will be discussed in class and the dates of these
exams are listed in the class schedule.
The literature review:
Select a research topic/question. There are hundreds used as examples
throughout the text.
Use psycINFO and ERIC computer databases to identify primary research
sources about this topic.
Select at least five primary sources, based on relevance to your
topic/question and summarize their findings.
Find two secondary sources that discuss the topic. These can be
textbook chapters, research reviews in review journals or handbooks.
From these seven sources, discuss the topic; summarize the literature.
If there seems to be a clear conclusion in the literature, report
that. If not, use this as a basis for proposing a research question
Report this all in a short paper, three to five pages. Provide a list
of sources identifying primary and secondary sources. Also provide
one page describing your search process.
The exercise at the end of chapter 5 will help, as well as the outline
on page 97 of the Fraenkel text.
Peer-review - have at least one classmate read and comment on your
paper. Use these comments to improve your paper. Turn in the
reviewer's comments with your paper.
More discussion about this assignment will be provided in class. The
following questions may be helpful.
What are the researchers trying to find out? (Research questions or
hypothesis) What does this study contribute?
Who are the subjects? How many? How were they selected? Can these
data be generalized?
How were the data collected? Are they quantified? What are the
variables? Are the measures reliable and valid?
Can you classify this study into the text book categories (e.g.,
experimental, correlational, ethnographic)
Could this study be replicated? Are we given enough procedural
information? Can you suggest improvements?
Do the researchers seriously consider alternative hypotheses? Are
they willing to acknowledge problems in the study? Do you believe
Did we find out anything that we didn't already know, from this study?
Was the study worth doing?
Class Participation - Examples of how previous students have
contributed meaningful information to the class:
Provided outline of a chapter in the text
Presented information from previous or current research projects
Lead the discussion on an article assigned to class
Provide an exam study guide to class
Do a small scale study (one semester students developed a survey) and
present to the class
Contribute regularly to the class discussions
I follow the grading policy described in the Bulletin for the Graduate
Program of the School of Education. A grade of "Incomplete" will be
granted only under particularly unusual circumstances. Please consult
with the instructor prior to the end of the semester if you have any
questions about your grade.
This schedule is a guide for the semester. Any changes will be
discussed in class throughout the semester.
Date of ClassTopicReadings
January 8 Introduction/Syllabus
January 10 Basics of Education ResearchChapter 1-3
January 15 No Class
January 17 Variables and Hypotheses
Due: Bring in one research article (primary source)Chapter 4
January 22 Literature Review /SamplingChapter 5-6
January 24 Instrumentation/Reliability and ValidityChapter 7-8
January 29 Article TBAOn Reserve
January 31 Reliability and ValidityChapter 8
February 5 Descriptive StatisticsChapter 10
February 7 Inferential StatisticsChapter 11
February 12 Statistics in PerspectiveChapter 12
February 14 Article TBAOn Reserve
February 19 Exam 1
February 21 Internal ValidityChapter 9
February 26 Bring paper for peer review
February 28 Experimental Research, Single Subject ResearchChapter
March 5 Literature Review Due
March 7 Correlation ResearchChapter 15
March 12, 14 Article TBA
March 19 Spring break
March 21 Causal-Comparative Research,
Article Critique 1Chapter 16
March 26 Article TBA
March 28 Survey ResearchChapter 17
April 2 Article TBA
April 4 Compare and contrastChapters 1-17
April 9 Content AnalysisChapter 18
April 11 Article TBA
April 16 Qualitative ResearchChapter 19-20
April 18 Article TBA
April 23 Historical Research, Preparing Research Proposals and
Reports, Doing Research in Schools
Article Critique 2Chapter 21-23
April 25 Article TBA
April 30 Final Exam