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EPSY 5601: Principles and Methods in Educational Research (Summer)

Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut

Summer 2017 – June 26-July 7
8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Gentry Room 119E
Instructor: Del Siegle, Ph.D.

860.486.0616 (office)
860.634.2361 (cell)
Office: Gentry 340C

TA- Pam Peters

Course Overview:
EPSY 5601 is an introductory course designed to help graduate students understand and evaluate the educational research literature.
Through participation in the course, class members will learn the basic concepts and procedures used for conducting educational research. The course is intended to help graduate students become better consumers of research; i.e., it is not designed to prepare students for conducting research. However, the instructor believes that hands-on activities are an effective method of learning material. The instructor provides extensive notes on his website. These are highlights of material covered in the textbook. They may also include supplementary material not covered in the book that the instructor feels is important.   Students are expected to complete the reading assignments prior to each class session.

Goals and Objectives:
As a result of active participation in this course through assigned readings, research exercises, class attendance, and class discussions, it is expected that the student will:

  • Understand the scientific method as it applies to educational research
  • Describe the essential characteristics of research problems
  • Distinguish between independent and dependent variables, continuous and categorical variables, directional and non-directional hypotheses
  • Describe sampling and instrumentation techniques used in collecting data
  • Explain the measurement concepts of validity, reliability, and standard error of measurement
  • Describe and recognize the major types of research: single-subject, experimental, correlational, causal-comparative, survey, historical, content analysis, and qualitative
  • Explain descriptive statistical concepts and techniques: central tendency, variability, norm scores, scales of measurement, and correlation
  • Understand inferential statistical concepts and techniques used with quantitative data: chi-squares, t tests, analysis of variance, regression analyses
  • Recognize the research designs used in experimental research and the internal and external threats associated with them
  • Understand the characteristics of qualitative research and the procedures for gathering qualitative data
  • Apply knowledge of the above concepts and methods to evaluate research reports

Class Meetings and Requirements:
The approach for meeting the course objectives will be a combination of attending class, reading assignments, visiting the designated web sites, class discussions, written assignments, and two examinations. Since the class is limited to 9 meetings, students are required to attend all meetings. Classes will begin promptly and the instructor does not appreciate late arrivals. All students are expected to have access to Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Laptop computers will be useful (but not required) on the days when we discuss statistics.

Optional Text:
Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. (2015). How to design and evaluate research in education (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Inc.
(A TEXT IS NOT REQUIRED. I WILL PROVIDE HANDOUTS FOR ALL OF THE CONTENT. Earlier editions are fine if you want to buy a text.)

Grades for this course are based on a midterm and final exam and individual and group projects.

The first exam merits 30% of your grade and the second exam merits 30% of your grade. Your score on the exam is determined by dividing your total points on the exam by the highest points received on the exam. If you earned a raw score of 40 and the highest points on the exam were 40 (even though the exam may have had 42 possible points), you would receive 100% on the exam (your score divided by the highest score). Using this system, someone will always receive full points on the exam.

Projects account for the final 40% of your grade. Each unit will consist of a project for you to complete. Some of the projects are individual, while others involve cooperation with members of your research team. Each individual will be responsible for submitting a project for each unit. This affords you an opportunity to modify your group’s work if you are not satisfied with it. Projects that are submitted by the due date, may be resubmitted for additional credit (1/2 credit for each answer correctly resubmitted). The resubmission must occur on the day following the return of the project. Late projects are accepted, but may not be resubmitted for additional credit.

A+ —    99-100%
A   —    98-93%

A-  —    92-90%
B+ —    89-87%
B   —    86-83%
B-  —    82-80%
C+ —    79-77%
C   —    76-73%
C-  —    72-70%
D  —    69-60%
F   —    Below 60%

Course Outline:

June 26
Read Ch. 1, 2, 4, 14

Topic:  Overview of Types of Research, Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards, Single Subject Research

June 27
Read Ch. 15
Topic: Correlations, Introduction to Concept of Statistical Significance, Intelligence Article (link only works from UConn IP address), Measurement Scales

June 28
Read Ch. 7-8, 23
Assignment Due: Single Subject Research
Topic: Types of Instrument Reliability and Validity, Likert Scales
, Action Research, Content Analysis

June 29
Read Ch. 6, 17-22 
Assignment Due: Correlation
Topic: Qualitative Research, Historical Research, Intro to Survey Research and Samples and Populations, Content Analysis

June 30
Assignment Due: Reliability (Cronbach) and Reliability (Split Half and KR)
(may be submitted early for feedback prior to first test)

July 3
Read Ch. 3, 10
Assignment Due: Sampling
Topic: Review Test Results,  Finish Survey Research, Independent and Dependent Variables, Normal Curve, Standardized Scores

July 4 (no class–Official UConn Holiday)

July 5
Read Ch. 11-12
Assignment Due: Variables
Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses, Null and Alternative Hypotheses, t test,

July 6
Read Ch. 9, 13, 16
Assignment Due: Standardized Scores,
Topic:  ANOVAs, Regression, Chi-Square, Internal and External Validity, Causal-comparative Research Designs, Experimental Research, Review for Test

July 7
Assignment Due: t test; Types of Stats

Absence of Students due to Religious Beliefs
Connecticut law states that no person shall be expelled from or refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he is unable, because the tenets of his religion forbid secular activity on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on such particular day or days or at such time of day. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of such reason, to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused from any examination or any study or work assignments on such particular day or days or at such particular time of day. The University Senate requires that students anticipating such a conflict should inform their instructor in writing within the first three weeks of the semester, and prior to the anticipated absence, and should take the initiative to work out with the instructor a schedule for making up missed work.  For conflicts with final examinations, students should, as usual, contact the Office of Student Services and Advocacy (formerly the Dean of Students Office).

Academic Integrity
A fundamental tenet of all educational communities is academic honesty; academic work depends upon respect for and acknowledgement of the research, ideas and intellectual property of others. When we express our ideas in class assignments, projects or exams, we need to trust that someone else will not take credit for them. Similarly, others need to trust that our words, data and ideas are our own. We find the intellectual property of others in textbooks, periodicals, newspapers, journals, solution manuals, dissertation abstracts, emails, the internet and other sources electronic or otherwise. Regardless of where we find information, protecting and acknowledging the rightful originators of intellectual property is vital to academic integrity.

Academic misconduct is dishonest or unethical academic behavior that includes, but is not limited, to misrepresenting mastery in an academic area (e.g., cheating), intentionally or knowingly failing to properly credit information, research or ideas to their rightful originators or representing such information, research or ideas as your own (e.g., plagiarism). Knowing what constitutes academic misconduct is so important to an educational community that all students are encouraged to go to their advisors, instructors, counselors, or assistant deans of students whenever they need clarification. When an instructor believes there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a clear case of academic misconduct within a particular course taught by that instructor, the instructor shall notify the student in writing, and also orally if possible, that unless the student requests a hearing to contest the instructor’s belief, the instructor shall impose the appropriate academic consequences warranted by the circumstances. This should occur within 30 days of discovery of the alleged academic misconduct. The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course. For less serious offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested, with the requirement that the student repeat the work satisfactorily for no credit.

Students with Disabilities
Students with special needs should contact the instructor early in the semester so accommodations can be made. Additional help is available through the university. Through the merge of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and the University Program for College Students with Learning Disabilities (UPLD), one office now serves all students with disabilities. All students may contact the office by visiting the Wilbur Cross Building, Room 204, calling (860) 486-2020 or emailing

Engagement and Distractions
Your success in this class depends on your level of engagement. I need you to actively participate. First, that includes feeling comfortable asking questions when you do not understand what I am presenting. If you don’t understand, ASK. Don’t be afraid that you might appear looking dumb (not asking only causes you to fall behind). Second, complete your work on time. We move quickly in this truncated summer version and you need to stay on top of the work. For these two weeks there is no time to coast. Third, when you are in class, the class needs your full attention…not your incoming email…not texts. I will give you 100% and do everything to help you be successful. I expect no less of you. Learning is a symbiotic relationship. I need to believe you can learn this material. You need to believe I can teach it to you. That requires we work together.