ED 601, Introduction to Social Science Research

ED 601: Introduction to Applied Social Science Research

Place: Bunnell 239      Time: Mondays 5:15-8:15
Spring 2016 * Jan 14 – May 6
3 credits

Audio conference information: Toll-Free Number: 800-570-3591 PIN: 1926829
Please silence your cell phones (if your cell phone rings, you buy pizza for the whole class)

Instructor: Sean Asiqłuq Topkok, PhD, Assistant Professor
Office: Gruening 708C
Office Telephone: 474-5537
Office Hours: T & R 1:00-3:00 pm, by email, or by appointment
mail: cstopkok@alaska.edu

Catalog Course Description:

(Catalog description) Review of the most common educational research paradigms, data gathering techniques and analytical tools used in the study of human behavior and educational institutions. Attention will be given to collaborative research models, with a focus on the translation of research results into practical application. (3 credits)

Course Objectives:

This is a core course for all M.Ed. students who are embarking on their master’s projects or theses or doctoral dissertation. The primary objective for the course is to equip you with tools and skills for doing your projects or theses and beyond. You will become familiar with an array of social science research frameworks used in education research for two purposes: 1) to be able to evaluate other research that you will review for your masters; and 2) to design your own research.

Course Outcomes:

This course provides an introduction and overview of qualitative and quantitative methods used in social science research in the field of education. You will become acquainted with theoretical and methodological processes related to a variety of education research approaches. Students will gain insight and experience in locating research of interest, examining published research critically, using available research resources, and formulating their own research questions. Student in this course will:

  • Consider the relationship between theory and method, which includes accessing research, reviewing educational research literature, and considering ethical
  • Critically understand the value of qualitative and quantitative descriptive social sciences research in education and the criteria used for analyzing
  • Distinguish the key components of a research study including a problem statement, research questions, literature review, theoretical framework, methodology and methods, presentation of results, and
  • Consider various methods of data collection and analysis in quantitative and qualitative
  • Explore and develop ethical practices in research
  • Complete CITI training and understand UAF IRB procedures
  • Utilize various search tools for completing literature reviews (i.e. Academic Search Premier, ERIC)
  • Develop a literature review on a topic of interest and a research proposal that may be further developed into a Master’s level Project or Thesis (or for D. level).

Required Texts:

Creswell, J. W. (2015). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

O’Leary, Z. (2014). The essential guide to doing your research project. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Supplementary Readings:

At the instructorʼs discretion there may be changes (additions/deletions) to this list. All of these readings will be available via hyperlink or e-reserve. Readings can be accessed on Blackboard.

Course Requirements:

  1. Class participation and attendance (20%): You are expected to attend class regularly and demonstrate that you have completed the readings through answering the reading questions and actively contributing to class Attendance will be taken during each class session and will factor into your participation grade. Lack of participation and attendance in class will result in a reduction of participation credit (at the discretion of the instructor and as determined by the particular situation).
  1. Complete CITI Training: (10%) Complete the Students in Research Curriculum, but it will not fulfill the IRB Complete the Special Education quiz.
  1. Research Article Reviews: (15%): In this assignment you are to familiarize yourself with a variety of research journals while practicing critical reading and analyzing/reviewing empirical You will also utilize APA formatting in all of your work. This will also allow you to start pursuing research articles that may be of interest to you and perhaps incorporate into your final literature review.
    • You will review five research articles in an area that interests Find, read and critically review five research articles focused on your area of inquiry.
    • These should be primary peer-reviewed articles in printed journals or database sources [ERIC, Academic Search Premier, ]. All must come from scholarly journals.
  1. Methodology Presentation/Lesson (15%): For this assignment, you will become the expert on a particular methodology (selected at the beginning of the semester). In addition to using information from Creswell (2015) and O’Leary (2014), you must also identify 4-5 other reliable sources to explain and describe your research methodology. If relevant, you should cite the scholar referred to as the expert in your particular methodology (i.e. Glaser & Strauss (1967) for grounded theory). You will also examine peer-reviewed articles to provide examples of how data can be collected and analyzed using your methodology. Most importantly, ensure that your presentation (lesson) is meaningful and engaging to your In other words, consider using visuals, hands-on activities, posing questions for discussion, or other creative means for encouraging engagement in your lessons. Presentation dates vary; please refer to class schedule for your topic date.
  1. Research Dictionary (10%): For this assignment you will create a research dictionary to synthesize key ideas and concepts that you will become familiar with during the course of the semester. Please submit a series of explanations, explaining the research concepts/ideas listed below (approximately 5 pages). You must cite your references in APA
  • Characteristics of Quantitative Research
  • Characteristics of Qualitative Research
  • Research Ethics and Institutional Requirements
  • Considerations for Research Involving Children and Vulnerable Populations
  • Research Paradigms
  • Research Methodologies
  • Research Methods
  • Theory in Research (sometimes referred to as a theoretical framework)
  • Correlation is not necessarily Causation
  • Sample Size and Population
  • Student t-Tests
  • Ethnography
  • Phenomenology
  • Case Study Research
  • Participant Observations
  • Interview Techniques
  • Focus Groups Pro’s and Con’s
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Mixed-Methods
  • Action Research
  1. Literature Review & Research Proposal Paper (20%) and Presentation (10%): This is the final paper and presentation for this Write a literature review and research proposal using at least ten sources on a specific research topic of interest related to your evolving research question.

Key aspects of your final research proposal:

  • Must utilize at least ten peer-reviewed research articles
  • Follows APA 6th edition formatting
  • Introduces a research topic and/or problem, specifies a research purpose, questions, and/ or hypotheses
  • Reviews and synthesizes relevant literature on the topic
  • Proposes a research methodology for addressing the research question(s). Includes a description of your participants (who the study will involve), the study site or location, the methodology that will inform your study approach (i.e. phenomenology, experimental design), methods of data collection, and how you plan to analyze your data
  • Writing must be concise and on point
  • Presentation must be engaging and articulate

Note: You will have to do a thorough literature review for your master’s or doctoral thesis or project proposal. This assignment is meant to help you start putting your proposal together and obtain feedback. If you do not have a clear focus for your research yet, use this as an opportunity to explore a topic. This is NOT an annotated bibliography. Full rubric will be provided for literature review.

Grading Policy%
CITI/Special Education Training10
Research Article Review15
In-class Methodology Presentation/Lesson15
Research Dictionary10
Final Research Proposal20
Final Research Proposal Presentation10

Student grades will be based upon the following criteria: 100%-90% A, 89%-80% B, 79% – 70% C

For additional grading policy information, see the UAF Catalog.

ED 601 – Tentative Course Schedule Spring 2016

Readings & class activities subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Guest speakers will be determined by their schedules.

DateClass ActivitiesReadings
Week 1:

Jan. 25


Get Excited about Research!



Course overview, expectations, and assignments


Characteristics of Quantitative & Qualitative Research

Creswell, Chapter 1
Week 2:

Feb. 1


Brainstorm Research Topics

Research Ethics & Informed Consent


What is the nature of research?

Creswell, pp. 1-12


Denzin & Lincoln pp.12-15 O’Leary, Chapter 1

Week 3:

Feb. 8


Select You Research Topic

Using the Library Conducting a literature review


Characteristics of Quantitative, Qualitative Research, and Mixed- Methods Research

Creswell, Chapter 1, pp.11-27, Chapter 3


O’Leary, Chapter 6 & 8

Week 4:

Feb. 15


Determine Your Research “Problem”

Research Problems, Purpose, Questions


Ethics in Research (cont.)

Creswell, Chapter 2 & 4


O’Leary, Chapter 3 & 4 UNDRIP


DateClass ActivitiesReadings
Week 5:

Feb. 22


Collect, Review, and Organize Literature

Research with Populations with Special NeedsCITI Training DUE
Week 6:

Feb. 29


Collect, Review, and Organize Literature

Collecting Quantitative Data


Analyzing and Interpreting Quantitative Data

Creswell, Chapter 5 & 6


O’Leary, Chapter 13

Week 7:

Mar. 7


Collect, Review, and Organize Literature

Experimental Designs Correlation DesignsCreswell, Chapter 10 & 11


Research Article Review DUE

Week 8:

Mar. 14

Week 9:

Mar. 21


Collect, Review, and Organize Literature

Survey DesignsCreswell, Chapter 12


O’Leary, Chapter 11, pp. 201-215


DateClass ActivitiesReadings
Week 10:

Mar. 28


Re-examine Research Topic, “Problem”, Question, and Purpose

Collecting Qualitative Data


Analyzing and Interpreting Qualitative Data

Creswell, Chapter 7 & 8


O’Leary, Chapter 11, pp. 216-240,

Chapter 4 Hogan & Topkok

Week 11:

Apr. 4


Purpose Your Methodology

Grounded Theory Designs Ethnographic Designs AutoethnographyCreswell, Chapter 13 & 14
Week 12:

April 11


Determine Your Participants and Study Site



Narrative Research Design

Creswell, Chapter 15


MacLean, Revitalization of the Qargi

Week 13:

April 18


Specify Your Methods of Data Collection

Research with Indigenous PeoplesKawagley, Alaska Native Education Topkok, Chapter 3, 4, & 6

Drabek, Chapter 2

Week 14:

April 25


Specify Your Methods of Data Analysis

Mixed-Methods Designs Action Research DesignsCreswell, Chapter 16 & 17


Research Dictionary DUE


DateClass ActivitiesReadings
Week 15:

May 2


Last Day of Instruction


Present Your Research Proposal

Final Research Proposal PresentationsFinal Research Proposal Paper DUE