General Course Information for BGS385: Methods of Research

Course: BGS385 - Methods of Research
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description:

Study of qualitative and quantitative research designs and methods including observation, interviews, surveys, primary and secondary data analysis, and experimentation. Development of the critical ability to understand the ethical solutions to problems faced by contemporary researchers.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method.
  • Choose the appropriate method of data collection and interpretation for a chosen discipline-specific theory.
  • Formulate a well-constructed research question.
  • Assess critically such diverse methods of information gathering as surveys, interviews, content analysis, and experiments.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to do report writing and oral presentations.
  • Describe the political and ethical issues involved in research.
  • Develop an approved plan for the BGS capstone project.
Course Requirements:

Student mastery of the course learning outcomes will be assessed by the following means: 1. Reaction Papers. Students will be assigned two articles related to different research methods and will write a short paper (two to three pages, double spaced) using guidelines provided by the instructor. 2. Assignments. Students will have two brief assignments to practice two important qualitative methods: participant observation and interviewing. Research Project Design. Students will select a viable research topic and design a research project to investigate. In addition to utilizing material from the class to better understand the research process, students will have an opportunity to begin preparation for their senior research project. Participation. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned reading material. Grades will be based on active, thoughtful participation in classroom discussions and completion of in-class assignments. Participation will account for 10% of the final grade. Mid-Term Exam. The mid-term exam will cover the material in the first two weeks of class.Final Exam.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures