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

Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut
Spring 2020 – Tasker 12
Tuesday: 2 – 4:30 p.m.

Instructor: Del Siegle, Ph.D.
Office: Tasker 40

Course Description:

Course Description from Course Catalog: Methods of research in education designed for Master’s level students.

Additional faculty description: EPSY 5601 is an introductory course designed to help graduate students understand and evaluate the educational research literature. This section is designed for undergraduate Honors students to help prepare them to conduct thesis research. Through participation in the course, class members will learn the basic concepts and procedures used for conducting educational research. The course will help graduate students become better consumers of research; i.e., it is not normally designed to prepare students for conducting research; however, this Honors section is designed to help Honors students conduct an Honors thesis. The instructor believes that hands-on activities are an effective method of learning material. The instructor provides extensive notes on his website and may also include supplementary material that he feels is important.

Course Objectives:

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

  1. Discuss historical violations of research ethics and issues related to research ethics.
  2. Describe and recognize the major types of quantitative and qualitative research.
    1. Discuss the theoretical underpinnings of quantitative and qualitative research designs.
    2. Describe and recognize: single-subject, experimental, correlational, causal-comparative, survey, historical, content analysis, ethnographic, narrative, phenomenological, grounded theory, and case study research designs.
  3. Recognize the connection between research questions, research design, and analysis.
    1. Recognize the research designs used in experimental research and the internal and external threats associated with them.
    2. Distinguish between independent and dependent variables, continuous and categorical variables, directional and non-directional hypotheses.
    3. Describe sampling and instrumentation techniques used in collecting data.
  4. Explain measurement concepts in quantitative and qualitative research.
    1. Explain the quantitative concepts of validity, reliability, and standard error of measurement.
    2. Recognize trustworthiness issues in qualitative research.
  5. Understand descriptive and inferential statistical concepts and techniques used with quantitative data, and analysis concepts and techniques used with qualitative data.
    1. Explain descriptive statistical concepts and techniques: central tendency, variability, norm scores, scales of measurement, and correlation.
    2. Understand basic inferential statistical concepts and techniques used with quantitative data: chi-squares, t tests, analysis of variance, regression analyses.
    3. Understand the characteristics of qualitative research and the procedures for gathering and analyzing qualitative data.
  6. Locate, classify, synthesize, and evaluate published research (this is covered in your course with Dr. Little).

No textbook is required for this course. The instructor will provide weekly handouts, and the electronic version of this syllabus contains links to pertinent information.

Class Meetings and Requirements:
The approach for meeting the course objectives will be a combination of attending class, visiting the designated web sites, class discussions, written assignments, and two examinations. Students are expected to attend all meetings. 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. We will also use SPSS (a statistical package for the social sciences) that is available through UConn’s Software Catalog AnyWare.

Grades for this course are based on two exams and individual and group projects. You will upload your assignments into HuskyCT.

Your score on an 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 score on the exam were 40, 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. The exams are not timed and are open note. (Each exam is worth 30% of your final grade)

The class is organized around units. Each unit consists 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 within a week of the return of the project. Late projects may not be resubmitted. (Each of the eight assignments is worth 5% of your final grade for a total of 40%)

Assignment and test scores can be viewed in Blackboard (http://huskyct.uconn.edu)

A   —    100-93%
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%


January 21Overview of the Honors Program; Parts of an Honors Thesis; Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards (IRB); CITI Training

January 28 Survey Development; Likert Scales; Types of Survey Questions; Submitting an IRB

February 4Content Analysis; Historical Research (Assignment 1 due: CITI Training Certificate)

February 11Single Subject Research; Graphing Single-Subject Data

February 18Qualitative Research

February 25Correlation; Measurement Scales (Assignment 2 due: Single-Subject Project)

March 3Samples & Populations; Survey Research

March 10Normal Curve; Chi-Square (Assignment 3 due: Correlation Project)

March 17 – No Class (Spring Break)

March 24First Exam (Assignment 4 due: Sampling Worksheet)

March 31Instrument Validity and Reliability (Assignment 5 due: Normal Curve Worksheet)

April 7 –  Independent and Dependent Variables; Experimental Research Designs

April 14t tests (Assignment 6 due: Reliability Calculations)

April 21 – Interpreting ANOVA, Regression, HLM, and SEM Tables and Charts (Assignment 7 due: Variables Worksheet)

April 28Catch-up and Review for Second Exam (Assignment 8 due: t Test Project)

May 5 – Second Exam


Student Responsibilities and Resources

As a member of the University of Connecticut student community, you are held to certain standards and academic policies. In addition, there are numerous resources available to help you succeed in your academic work. Review these important standards, policies and resources, which include:

  • The Student Code
    • Academic Integrity
    • Resources on Avoiding Cheating and Plagiarism
  • Copyrighted Materials
  • Netiquette and Communication
  • Adding or Dropping a Course
  • Academic Calendar
  • Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Inappropriate Romantic Relationships
  • Sexual Assault Reporting Policy

Students with Disabilities

The University of Connecticut is committed to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and assuring that the learning environment is accessible.  If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability or pregnancy, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. Students who require accommodations should contact the Center for Students with Disabilities, Wilbur Cross Building Room 204, (860) 486-2020 or http://csd.uconn.edu/.

In an effort to help mitigate the spread of the transmission of COVID-19, all students and instructors in classrooms are expected to wear a cloth face covering and practice social distancing of 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face covering should cover the mouth and nose at all times. In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, if individuals are not complying with these mask and social distancing guidelines, they may be asked to leave class or the class meeting may be cancelled.

Software/Technical Requirements (with Accessibility and Privacy Information)

The software/technical requirements for this course include:

Evaluation of the Course

Students will be provided an opportunity to evaluate instruction in this course using the University’s standard procedures, which are administered by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE).

Additional informal formative surveys may also be administered within the course as an optional evaluation tool.