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

Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut
Fall 2016 – Gentry 425
Tuesday: 4-6:30 p.m.

Instructor: Del Siegle, Ph.D.
Office: Gentry 119C

Course Overview:
EPSY 5601 is an introductory course traditionally designed to help graduate students understand and evaluate the educational research literature. Through participation in the course, class members learn the basic concepts and procedures used for conducting educational research. The course is intended to help educators become better consumers of research; i.e., it is traditionally not designed to prepare them for conducting research.  However, this section of the course has been modified to prepare undergraduate education students to conduct research leading to an honor’s thesis. The instructor believes that hands-on activities are an effective method of learning material. The instructor provides web notes for each class. Students are expected to review the web links 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: experimental, single-subject, 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
  • Describe the Action Research process and the role of the “teacher as researcher”

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).

Grades for this course are based on two exams and individual and group projects. Please do not email your assignments. Bring them to class.

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%


August 29
Topic: Overview of the Honors Program; Correlation; Intelligence Article; Measurement Scales; Skybox

September 6
Finish Correlation, Begin Survey Development; Likert Scales; Types of Survey Questions

September 13
Assignment Due: Correlation
Topic:  Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards (IRB); Single Subject Research; Graphing Single-Subject Data

September 20
Topic: Independent and Dependent Variables; Content Analysis; Historical Research;
Concept of Statistical Significance; Qualitative Research

September 27 – No Class Meeting (collect data outside of class)

October 4
Assignment Due: Single Subject

Topic: Instrument Validity and Reliability; Action Research

October 11
Assignment Due: Variables
Experimental Research Designs

October 18
Assignment Due: Reliability (Cronbach) and Reliability (Split Half and KR)
Topic: Normal Curve; Review for Test.

October 25
Topic: First Exam

November 1
Assignment: Standardized Scores
opic: Samples & Populations; Survey Research
Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses

November 8
Topic: t tests

November 16
Assignment: Sampling
ANOVAs, Regression, Chi-Square,
  Survey Development

November 22 – Fall Break

November 29
Assignment: Stat Types, t test
Topic: Possible Honors Thesis Topics and Review of Literature for Spring Semester

December 6
Second Exam

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
Please contact the instructor during office hours to discuss academic accommodations that may be needed during the semester due to a documented disability. If you have a disability for which you wish to request academic accommodations and have not contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), please do so as soon as possible. The CSD engages in an interactive process with each student and reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case basis. The CSD collaborates with students and their faculty to coordinate approved accommodations and services. The CSD is located in Wilbur Cross, Room 204 and can be reached at (860) 486-2020 or at csd@uconn.edu. Detailed information regarding the process to request accommodations is available on the CSD website at www.csd.uconn.edu.