Education | Strategies for Educational Inquiry
Y520 | 5022 | Tom Schwen
Y520 is a survey course designed to introduce graduate students to
the various forms of social science inquiry and educational inquiry
in particular. The course addresses a wide range of inquiry forms,
across the breadth of research endeavors in education. The range of
inquiry forms includes: post positivist, constructivist and critical
Students will be expected:
•to develop an understanding of the basic vocabulary of educational
inquiry including the basic forms (post positivist, constructivist
and critical theory),
•to develop library research skills regarding the identification and
retrieval of research materials
•to articulate the basic principles of conducting educational
research including the basic principles involved in filing human
•to critically read research articles with understanding of the
purpose, method and conclusions.
•to collect and defend pilot data in a qualitative form of
•to develop a critique of a seminal research issue in her/his major
•to perform well on tests organized around the assigned readings.
Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2002). How to design and evaluate
research in education(5e). New York:
Shank, G. D. (2002). Qualitative research: A personal skills
approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice-Hall.
Course Assignments 7: One literature review, a theory worksheet, a
qualitative exercise and 4 article critiques ( 2 quantitative and 2
qualitative) from the eight articles listed below. The critiques
should be completed on the assigned dates listed below in the course
schedule. One practice critique may be submitted on the first two
dates to develop an understanding of my grading style. The assignment
must be labeled practice critique as it is submitted.
The theory worksheet and the qualitative pilot report should be
completed on the dates assigned below in the course schedule.
Theory worksheet 20 points.
Literature review with bibliographic database search 20 points
Quantitative research articles (2) critiques 20 points
Qualitative research articles (2) critiques 20 points
Qualitative pilot 20 points
Total: 100 points
Incompletes are rarely given but may be granted with my consent
following the Academic Guide:
"The grade of Incomplete may be given 1) only when the completed work
for the course is of passing quality, and 2) only upon showing of
such hardship to a student as would render it unjust to hold the
student to the normal time limits. A student's desire to avoid a low
grade is not a legitimate reason to award an incomplete."
Academic Misconduct -- Cheating and Plagiarism: Assignments
presented in this class must be original and solely the work of the
student or teams. Cheating, plagiarism, or other acts of student
misconduct as defined in Indiana University's Code of Conduct will be
punished by an appropriate sanction, including but not limited to
reduction of or zero on assignment grade, failing grade in the
course, and recommendation of dismissal from the university.
Please submit all assignments as an attachment in e-mail using either
Word or Word Perfect. The assignments are due at noon on the dates
listed in the course schedule.
Articles can be found at http://22.214.171.124/inquirycoursepage.asp?
cid=325 use the password inquiry Another access can be achieved by
going to Libraries, Education , Electronic Reserves and then my name.
Readings for critiques (available online). Numbered in order of
1. Badura, A. S., Millard, M., Peluso, E. A., & Ortman, N. (2000).
Effects of peer education training on peer educators: Leadership,
self-esteem, health knowledge, and health behaviors. Journal of
College Student Development, 41(5), 471-478.
3. Brush, T. (1997). The effects on student achievement and
attitudes when using integrated learning systems with cooperative
pairs. Educational Technology Research & Development, 45(1), 51-64.
4. Pascarella, E. (1999). The development of critical thinking:
Does college make a difference? Journal of College Student
Development, 40(5), 562-569.
5. Heinlein, L. M., & Shinn, M. (2000). School mobility and student
achievement in an urban setting. Psychology in the Schools, 37(4),
6. Kuh, G. D. (1993) In their own words: What Students learn outside
the classroom. American Education Research Journal, 30(2), 277-304.
7. Lipman, P. (1997). Restructuring in context: A case study of
teacher participation and the dynamics of ideology, race, and power.
American Educational Research Journal, 34(1), 3-37.
8. Stage, F. K., & Maple, S. A. (1996). Incompatible goals:
Narratives of graduate women in the mathematics pipeline. American
Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 23-51.
Tentative class topics
Class Introduction, research questions & ethics of research
Read Fraenkel & Wallen 1,2,3,4
Hypotheses, sampling, variables
Read F & W Ch 6 & 9
Assign. 1 Critique Badura et. al
Resources workshop in room 2015 Literature review (due July 8)
Read F&W Ch 5
Assign 2 Theory exercise (due July 1)
Read F&W Ch 8
Assign. 3 Critique Brush
Read F&W Ch7
Read F&W Ch 9,13
Assign. 4 Critique Pascarelle
Read F&W Ch 10,11.12
Correlation Research, Survey
Read F&W Ch 15, 17
Assign. 5 Critique Heinlin & Shinn
Casual Comparative Research
Read F&W Ch 16
Qualitative research—Intro, Observing
Read Shank Ch 1,2
Assign, 6 Critique Kuh
Read S Ch 3,4
Read S Ch 5,6
Assign. 7 Critique Lipman
Read S Ch 7,8
Read S Ch 9,10
Assign. 8 Critique Stage & Maple
Qualitative Pilot Due August 7
See Assign. 9 Read S Ch 11,12
Additional Bibliography Resources
Bogdan, Robert C. & Biklen, Sari Knopp (1998). Qualitative research
for education: An introduction to theory and methods. Third
Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon
Borg, W., Gall, J. & Gall, M. Applying educational research: A
practical guide. Third Edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Creswell, J. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design:
Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Denzin, N. & Lincoln, Y., Eds. (2000). Handbook of qualitative
research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Glesne, C. (1999). Becoming qualitative researchers: An
Introduction. Second Edition. NY: Longman.
Jaeger, R. (1990). Statistics: A spectator sport. Second Edition.
Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications.
LeCompte, M. & Preissle, J. (1993). Ethnography and qualitative
design in educational research. Second Edition. San Diego:
Maykut, P. & Morehouse, R. (1994). Beginning qualitative research:
A philosophic and practical guide. London: The Falmer Press.
Merriam, S. (1991). Case study research in education: A qualitative
approach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schwandt, T. (2001). Dictionary of Qualitative Inquiry, 2nd ed.
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
In Reference (non-circulating section) of Education Library: H
61 .S4435 2001
Stake, R. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks,
CA: SAGE Publications.
Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography.
Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Wolcott, H. (1994). Transforming qualitative data: Description,
analysis, and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Wolcott, H. (1990). Writing up qualitative research. Newbury Park,
CA: SAGE Publications.
Yin, R. (1993). Applications of case study research. Thousand Oaks,
CA: SAGE Publications.
Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods. Second
Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Becoming an inquirer: The process of becoming a sophisticated
inquirer is a lengthy process usually involving a major department
mentor, an opportunity for apprenticeships and substantial course
work in the skills of inquiry. The following are courses available in
the School of Education inquiry sequence that may be useful to you.
H510, Foundations of Educational Inquiry
Y502, Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education
Y527, Educational Measurement
Y535, Evaluation Models and Techniques
Y603, Statistical Design of Educational Research
Y604, Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research
Y611, Qualitative Inquiry in Education
Y635, Methodology of Educational Evaluation
Y750, Topical Seminar in Educational Research Design and Analysis
Of course there are also inquiry courses available in each School
Literature review. This assignment will exactly follow the text by
Fraenkel and Wallen Chapter 4. The Literature review report should
have 5 sections: introduction, body, summary, your conclusions and
the bibliography (APA style). Also you should attach your note cards
(Figure 5.7 in the F&W text.) as an appendix. Also, I recommend using
the Problem Sheet on your CD. Your task is to conduct a literature
review in your field, on a problem of interest to you. I expect to
see at least 10 primary sources and two secondary sources. I am at
least as interested in the process you use as the content. In other
words both evidence of using the electronic tools and substance are
important. I emphasize process because the skills of this assignment
could well serve you in many other classes and activities. Remember
keep the problem specific.
Theory worksheet: The role or contribution of theory in educational
research is critical to all educational research. However, there are
many different ways in which theory may influence research. A
researcher could: test a theory, modify a theory, develop a theory or
a part of a theory, be consciously a theoretical, raise an issue of
social justice from a theoretical posture or position etc. A good
critic of research is sensitive to the nuances of how theory is
influencing a particular piece of research. The purpose of this
exercise is to give you a sense for how theory influenced several
generations of researchers pursuing the question, “How and when did
native Americans first come to North and South America? This exercise
uses a video narrative to encapsulate the long time period involved
in this research, so you may conveniently and efficiently analyze the
mutual influences between the research and the underlying theories.
Your task is to listen to the video and answer the worksheet
questions listed below. You may discuss your answers to Part A of the
worksheet in class and you should prepare an individual response to
Part B of the worksheet for the assignment.
In ordering the information from the video, arrange your notes
following the table structure provide below.
Part A Describing the Evolution of Scholarly Theory
The basic premise/question
Supporting data Challenging data
There are no ‘right number’ of theories continue if necessary.
Part B Assuming this is a reasonable portrayal of theory in use; your
assignment is to develop a two to three page essay describing the
role of theory in guiding programs of research. Address the following
questions in your two to five page essay.(single space) Construct a
logical argument in your own style and form. Liberally use examples
from the video. Use the questions listed below to organize your essay.
What are the origins of these theories?
Does theory in these studies follow research or does research follow
theory and to what effect? Are both patterns apparent?
What is the role of a critical question in such theory formation?
What would be an example of a critical question? How did it influence
How do debates about method influence the formation/ rejection of
How do some data become critical and other data fade to
Are theorists passionate about their work? Are they value neutral in
their assessment of their work and competing work?
Was Leakey’s work a mistake or bad science? If so why? If not, why
What is the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to the
explanation of indigenous migration?
Will a theory of indigenous people migration ever be proven? Why or
Article Critique Form
Article: citation (APA style)
1. What is the research problem and hypotheses or questions?
2. What is the value of doing this study? What benefits are noted by
3. What is the role of theory in constructing this study?
4. Who are the subjects or participants? What was the sampling
strategy? How many subjects? What are the limitations of
generalizability associated with the sampling?
5. What are the variables? What are the measures? What form are the
data in? Is there any evidence of rigor or discipline associated with
collecting the data? e.g. reliability, validity, consistency,
6. What kinds of inference are drawn about the results? Are the
inferences casual or descriptive and are they warranted?
7. Using a classification like Fraenkel & Wallen (experimental,
causal-comparative, qualitative ethnographic etc) describe the
strategy of the methodology.
8. How were the data analyzed? (Descriptive statistical, inferential
statistical, ethnographic narrative, case analysis of themes etc.)
9.Could the study be replicated? Is there sufficient detail given to
replicate the study?
10.Do the researchers seriously consider alternative explanations for
their results? Do they describe weaknesses in the study? (All studies
11. Do the conclusions make sense to you? Are the data a good fit
with the conclusions? Are you convinced the conclusions are warranted?
12. How could the study be improved? Do you see critical flaws?
13. Was the study worth doing? Does it offer any new insights?
Qualitative Exercise In preparation for this assignment you are to
wander through the School or about in the nearby grounds until you
observe some social phenomena that you believe could be the basis for
a qualitative research question. An example some students used in the
past (and an example you may not use) was: What are the crossing
behaviors of students at busy intersections? What are the
implications of these behaviors for current safety education
programs? Before the assigned day of class you and your team members
are to have created a question, and developed a plan for collecting
data. You should collect data, assemble data, organize a report and
report to the class in power point or similar outline style.
Now I know this sounds impossible or possibly irrational but if fact
previous students have actually survived such an exercise and enjoyed
it. The secret to success is preparation…..a good plan, developed
before you collect data.. An outline of all presentations is due at
the end of class on the day of presentations.
In teams of 3 you are to agree on: the question, your epistemological
stance, the methodological strategy, the types of data to be
collected (including data you would collect if you had more time)
some description of the data you collect, and some reasonable themes
or patterns you would describe in a formal report and any conclusions
you might draw. Of course it won’t be perfect or perhaps even very
good in such rushed circumstances. The point of the exercise is to
simulate the many complex decisions that are required in qualitative
research. The debrief, after the presentations, is always an
enjoyable learning experience.
Your individual assignment is to write a critique of your groups’
presentation following the criteria you have derived from the
readings in F & W and Shank. The idea is to critique your efforts as
if they were a real study. The idea is to see how well you can
critique an understandably rushed study. The critique is the object
of evaluation not the quality of the study. The critique can take the
form of how would you improve ethical considerations, the question,
the methodology, the analysis and the conclusions; if this were an