EDRS 6301

3 Semester Hours
Spring 2001

Professor: Dr. Cher C. Hendricks

Contact:  Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies
                                                141 Education Annex
                                                State University of West Georgia
                                                Carrollton, GA  30118

E-mail:   cchester@westga.edu

Office:     141 Education Annex
Office Hours:  Monday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
                                                     Tuesday Henry County 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
                                                     Wednesday 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Telephone: 770.836.4400
Fax:  770.836.4646




The study of the general principles of qualitative and quantitative research designs with an emphasis on students being able to apply research methods to problems in education. This course meets at least 51% of the time via WebCT - a two-way interactive on-line course system.


Through this course students will demonstrate progress in  the achievement of two NBPTS propositions that form the conceptual framework for advanced preparation programs in the College of Education.  This course will enable the student to begin the development of a portfolio that could be submitted for National Board Certification.

Proposition 2.  Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.  Graduate students will gain an understanding that educational research facilitates the learning process through the creation of new knowledge from various disciplines.

Proposition 4.  Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
Graduate students will show an understanding of educational research and draw upon research findings in their fields to enhance their profession.


Students will:

1.  utilize research methods when addressing the common problems and special needs that arise in the practice of education (Bernard, 1994; Jaeger, 1988; Mason & Bramble, 1997);

2.  gain a knowledge of educational research that will permit objective decisions concerning curriculum, methods, and administration in light of the diversity in educational settings (Bernard, 1994; Jaeger, 1988; Neito, 1996);

3.  be able to read professional journal articles and be able to evaluate the reliability of the methodology employed and the validity of the conclusions reached by the authors (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Gay, 1996; Wiersma, 1995);

4.  understand the basic differences between quantitative and qualitative research and when each is most appropriate for research problems (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Gay, 1996; Wiersma, 1995).


Required Texts:

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Mills, G. (1999).  Action research. A guide for the teacher researcher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hendricks, C. (2000).  Coursepack for Research in Education (available online).

Knowledge and Research Base:

    Bernard, H. R. (1994).  Research methods in anthropology:  Qualitative and quantitative approaches.  Second edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

    Cohen, H. (1988).  How to read a research paper.  The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42, 596-600.

    Firestone, W. A. (1987).  Meaning in method:  Rhetoric of quantitative and qualitative research.  Educational Researcher, 16, 16-21.

    Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., & Gall, J. P. (1996).  Educational research: An introduction (6th ed.); White Plains, NY: Longman.

    Gay, L. R. (1996).  Educational research:  Competencies for analysis and application (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Jaeger, R. M., (Ed.).  (1988).  Complementary methods for research in education.  Washington, DC:  American Educational Research Association.

     Mason, E. J., & Bramble, W. J. (1997).  Research in education and the behavioral sciences:  Concepts and methods.  Chicago:  Brown & Benchmark.




1) Formative Evaluations/Homework Assignments:  students will be expected to complete homework assignments in which they apply the concepts that have been learned in class.  The assignments will prepare students to write research critiques (see below).  Homework assignments are worth 10% of the final grade.  There are five (5) homework assignments worth 20 points each.

2) Formative Evaluations/Research Critiques:   the purpose of a formative evaluation is to determine where you are in terms of subject knowledge, understanding course concepts, application of knowledge, and using what you have learned to evaluate published research. Formative evaluations help the instructor and student identify strengths and weaknesses and remediate when necessary.  For the formative evaluations, students will be expected to write article critiques, concentrating on the concepts covered in the course.  Three critiques are required:  1) scholarly research critique; 2) program evaluation critique; 3) action research critique.  Each summary is worth 20% of the final grade.  Each critique will be scored 0 to 100.

3) Summative Evaluation:   the purpose of the summative evaluation is to determine whether you are able to apply what you have learned in the course after all coursework and assignments are completed.  The student may choose the type of summative evaluation he/she will complete.  The student may choose to write a final paper or complete a research evaluation project proposal. The summative evaluation is worth 30% of the final grade.  The summative evaluation will be scored 0 to 100.

OPTION 1:  Final paper:  a student who chooses to write a final paper will be given a research scenario to which (s)he must apply what has been covered in the areas of scholarly research, program evaluation, and action research.  The student will be expected to determine the most appropriate methods for investigating the scenario problem and will write a paper no less than five (double-spaced) pages outlining the specific steps that should be followed to address the research problem.  An attempt will be made to give students a scenario that is relevant to their grade level, teaching area, and educational objectives.

OPTION 2:  Research evaluation project proposal: a student who chooses to complete a research proposal will draft either a scholarly research project or an action research project (depending on the student's longterm goals).  The proposal will include a preliminary literature review,  research questions and hypotheses, and a plan for data collection and analysis.


For the above assignments, students will be expected to:

Each assignment will be worth a certain number of points.  At the end of the semester, the percentage of total points earned by a student will determine his or her grade.  For example, if there are 125 points possible, and a student earns 110 points, he/she will earn a grade of 88% (B).

Grading policy:

 A = 90% - 100%    B = 80% - 89%    C = 70% - 79%  F = below 70%



January 9      Unit 1.  Overview of Course Objectives and Introduction to the course.
                    Using WebCT. The Research Process; Types of Research; Research
                    Problems; Ethics in Research.

January 16     Unit 2.  Scholarly Research:  The scientific method, types of research,
                    variables, the literature review, research hypotheses.

January 23    Unit 3.  Scholarly Research: Sampling and external validity; research design
                    and internal validity; characteristics of measurement.
                    Homework assignment #1 due.

February 6     Unit 4.  Scholarly Research: Displaying and analyzing data;
                    Significance: statistical and practical.
February 13   Online Assignment (no class meeting).
                    Homework assignment #2 due (send via e-mail or fax).

February 20   Unit 5.  Scholarly Research:  Writing the scholarly research article critique;
                    Identifying threats to internal and external validity; Concerns regarding
                    sampling methods, methodology, data analysis, and conclusions.

February 27  Unit 6.  Program Evaluation:  Evaluation questions, data collection,
                   focus groups, observations, surveys, achievement gains.
                   Formative evaluation #1 due.

March 6       Unit 7.  Program Evaluation:  Writing the program evaluation critique.

March 13      Unit 8.  Action Research:Classroom-based research.  Differences between
                   action research and scholarly research; Action research process;  Area of
                   focus, literature review; development of the action research plan.
                   Formative evaluation #2 due.

March 27      Unit 9.  Action Research:  Data collection techniques: qualitative data, direct
                   observation, inquiry, artifacts. Research validity and reliability; generalizability,
                   bias, ethics.
                   Homework assignment #3 due.

April 3        Unit 10.  Action Research:  Data analysis and interpretation; identifying themes,
                  connecting findings with personal experience, contextualizing findings in
                  the literature; Use of descriptive statistics.
                      Homework assignment #4 due.

April 10       Unit 11.  Action Research:  Critiquing action research.
                  Homework assignment #5 due

April 17       The summative evaluation.
                   Formative evaluation #3 due.

April 24       Work on summative evaluation.

May 8        Summative evaluation due.

Students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty.  Plagiarism occurs when a student uses or purchases ghost-written papers.  It also occurs when a student utilizes ideas of or information obtained from another person without giving credit to that person.  If plagiarism or another act of academic dishonesty occurs, it will be dealt with in accordance with the academic misconduct policy stated in The Uncatalog, Undergraduate Catalog, and Graduate Catalog.