Methods of Research

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.

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.


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.

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