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ETEC 500: Research Methodologies in Education (core course)


Education research is a critical component of teaching and promoting learning in informed ways. This course is an introductory research methods course that focuses on developing skills for locating, understanding, interpreting, critiquing and designing education research. The course provides an overview of research designs and processes, introduces the concepts and skills involved in understanding and analyzing research in education and provides an overview of various research methodologies. You will be guided in developing skills needed for reviewing and conducting research. These include learning how to identify research topics, locating and reviewing previous research studies, designing a research project, collecting and analyzing data and writing a research proposal. Examples of survey, non-experimental, experimental, quasi-experimental, qualitative, and mixed-method research designs are examined. By the end of the course, students will learn how to develop a research proposal and summarize it succinctly. The course promotes interactive and collaborative learning, so you will be required to work on some assignments as a group.

We recommend that students complete the four required core courses as early in your program as possible. Students will find it beneficial to take this course (ETEC 500) earlier rather than later in their program, and many previous students have stated that taking this course first in their program is extremely beneficial.

Learning Objectives

Core learning objectives for the course can be summarized as follows:

  1. Understand the relationship between research questions, designs and methodologies;
  2. Develop library search skills and knowledge about resources for locating research articles and reports in areas of interest;
  3. Understand key issues in designing, developing data collection tools and their relationship with research questions;
  4. Understand and interpret statistical data and findings;
  5. Learn a variety of research methodologies and designs such as qualitative (e.g., ethnographic, phenomenological), quantitative (e.g., correlational, experimental), and mixed methods;
  6. Read, review, synthesize research reports in an area of research interest;
  7. Apply this knowledge to developing a research proposal.



This course will require you to do the assigned readings, use course modules as a resource for summary of concepts covered in each module, complete activities and assignments, respond to other students’ questions and comments and take two quizzes. The course is closely tied to the textbook content and reading assigned chapters from the textbook is essential to understanding the topics covered in each module. The instructor will post regular communication about your questions, assignments and engagement with the course. Therefore, you are expected to check communication with the instructor to keep informed about guidance, tips and clarification from the instructor.


An important component of the course will be the Discussion Forums. Discussion Forums will be used as tools for creating opportunities for sharing, exchange and collaboration. In addition to sharing your responses, you will be asked to respond to your peers’ responses to the assignments. Your postings should be brief and of high academic content and designed to encourage further discussion by your colleagues. Your postings should be thought-provoking, insightful and helpful to your colleagues in furthering their mastery of course content and thinking through challenging research issues. .


  • Required Text: Mertler, C. A. (2015). Introduction to Educational Research. Sage Publications.


  • Denzin, N. K. (2009). The elephant in the living room: or extending the conversation about the politics of evidence. Qualitative Research, 9(2), 139–160.
  • Ercikan, K., & Roth, W-M. (2006). What good is polarizing research into qualitative and quantitative? Educational Researcher, 35, 14-23.


Module 1: Understanding the Educational Research Process and Types of Educational Research

  • Ad Hoc Committee, American Educational Research Association. (1992). Ethical standards for AERA. Educational Researcher, 21(7), 23-26.
  • APA (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • American Psychological Association. (1985). Ethical principles in the conduct of research with human participants. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Conrad, C. F, & Serlin, R. C. (2011). The SAGE Handbook for Research in Education (2nd Edition): Pursuing ideas as the Keystone of Exemplary Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Module 2: Selecting, Refining, and Proposing a Topic for Research

  • Campbell, J. P., Daft, R. L., Hulin, C. L. (1982). What to study: Generating and developing research questions. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
  • Hostetler, K. (2005). What Is "Good" Education Research? Educational Researcher, 34, 16-21.
  • Lapsley, D. K. (2011). Developing and framing meaningful problems. In C. F. Conrad and R. C. Serlin (Eds), The SAGE Handbook for Research in Education (2nd Edition): Pursuing ideas as the Keystone of Exemplary Inquiry (pp. 63-77). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Willinsky, J. (2001). The Strategic Education Research Program and the Public Value of Research. Educational Researcher, 30, 5-14.

Module 3: Locating, Interpreting and Summarizing Published Research

  • Goodwin, L. D., & Goodwin, W. L. (1985). Statistical techniques in AERJ articles (1979-1983). The preparation of graduate students to read the educational research literature. Educational Researcher, 14(2), 5-11.
  • Kennedy, M. M. (2007). Defining a Literature. Educational Researcher, 36, 139-147.
  • Pyrczak, F. (1999). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation. Los Angeles: Pyrczak.

Module 4: Procedures and Tools for Collecting Data

  • Ercikan, K., & Roth, W-M. (2011). Constructing data. In C. Conrad and R. Serlin (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (2nd edition) (pp. 451-477). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Hinkle, D. E., & Oliver, J. D. (1983). How large should the sample be? A question with no simple answer? Educational and Psychological Measurement, 43,1051-1060.
  • Moss , P. A. (1994). Can there be validity without reliability? Educational Researcher, 23(2), 5- 12.
  • Shaffer, D. W., & Serlin, R. C. (2004). What Good are Statistics that Don’t Generalize? Educational Researcher, 33, 14-25.

Module 5: Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research

  • Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S.K. (1992). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Eisenhart, M. (2001). Educational Ethnography Past, Present, and Future: Ideas to Think With. Educational Researcher, 8, 16-27.
  • Eisner, W. (1991). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice. New York: Macmillan.
  • Gable, G. (1994). Integrating Case Study and Survey Research Methods: An Example in Information Systems, European Journal of Information Systems, 3(2), 112-126.
  • Harwell, M. R (2011). Research design in qualitative/quantitative/mixed methods. In C. Conrad and R. Serlin (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (2nd edition) (pp. 147-165). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Module 6: Quantitative Research

  • Beach, K. D., Becker, B. J., & Kennedy, M. M. (2011). Constructing conclusions. In C. Conrad and R. Serlin (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (2nd edition) (pp. 281-299). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Dillman, D. A. (2000). Mail and Internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
  • Huck, S. W. (2004). Reading statistics and research (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Johnson, B. (2000). Toward a New Classification of Non experimental Quantitative Research. Educational Researcher, 30, 3-13.
  • Patten, M. L. (2001). Questionnaire research: A practical guide (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Pyrczak.
  • Phillips. D. C. (1981). Toward an evaluation of the experiment in educational contexts. Educational Researcher, 10 (6), 13-30.
  • Salant, P., & Dillman, D. A. (1994). How to conduct your own survey. New York: Wiley.
  • Schonlau, M., Fricker, R. D., & Elliot, M. N. (2002). Conducting research surveys via e-mail and the Web. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

Module 7: Analyzing Research Data and Presenting Findings

  • Cahan, S. (2000). Research news and Comment: Statistical Significance is not a "Kosher Certificate" for Observed Effects: A Critical Analysis of the Two-Step Approach to the Evaluation of Empirical Results. Educational Researcher, 29, 31-34.
  • Carver, R. P. (1993). The case against statistical significance testing, revisited. Journal of Experimental Education, 61(4), 287-292.
  • Ercikan, K. (2009). Limitations in Sample to Population Generalizing. In K. Ercikan & M-W. Roth (Eds.), Generalizing in Educational Research (pp. 211-235), New York: Routledge.
  • Levin, J. R., & Robinson, D. H. (2000). News and Comment: Rejoinder: Statistical Hypothesis Testing, Effect-Size Estimation, and the Conclusion Coherence of Primary Research Studies. Educational Researcher, 29, 34-36.
  • Seltzer, M., & Rose, M. (2011). The development of thoughtfulness in working with quantitative methods. In C. Conrad and R. Serlin (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (2nd edition) (pp. 245 - 263). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


  • Behling, J. H. (1984). Guidelines for preparing the research proposal, rev. ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • Krathwohl, D. R. (1988). How to prepare a research proposal. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.