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MASTER’S PROJECT SEMINAR

MASTER’S PROJECT SEMINAR

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Published by: Yunran on Oct 18, 2009
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MASTER’S PROJECT SEMINAR:INQUIRY, DESIGNS, AND METHODSEDUCATION 409
 Santa Clara UniversitySchool of Education, Counseling Psychology, and Pastoral MinistriesHigher Education ProgramSummer 2007“We seem to have arrived at a watershed in the debate on the value of higher education research. Researchers have actively reconsideredmethodological standards, long dominated by the social science research paradigm. Many scholars and practitioners roundly criticize much research aslimited in value, neither relevant nor legitimate, and void of purpose,commitment, or coherence. . . . Over and over, they suggest that we havesubstituted method for substance, that we have chosen trivial or irrelevantquestions to pursue, and that we need to reorient our field to different questionsand new methods if we are to have any importance at all” [emphasis added].- Leslie, D. W., & Berkham, J.C. (1986). Research onhigher education: Dead end or new directions.Review of Higher Education, 10, 123, 128.Instructor: Lester F. Goodchild, Ph.D.Director of the Higher Education Programand Professor of EducationReading and Learning Center (Franklin Street)408/554-4464lgoodchild@scu.eduClass Meeting: 6:00-9:00 p.m., Tuesdays, beginning June 26, July 3, 24, 31, andAugust 7 and 14 through the quarter and during exam week, a 3unit course—yet to be determinedOffice Hours: By appointment (usually on Fridays)Prerequisite Course and Status: 490 Research Methods; nearing completion of the higher education master of arts program.Course Description: As noted in the School of Education, Counseling Psychology, andPastoral Ministries Bulletin (2006-2007, p. 64). “Individualized project in support of amaster’s degree in higher education. Professional paper and/or fieldwork activities insupport of systemic change; inquiry and research.” Such topics as “organizational theory,learning theories and goals, program incentives administration, management and
 
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leadership, and public policy” should provide a focus to the research project. Instructor and students explore topics in group where faculty mentoring and peer advising andfeedback provide a stimulating and exciting seminar for exchange of ideas related toinquiry, designs of study, and appropriate research methods. Students should expect tounderstand the basics of inquiry and research, different types of research methods, and produce an important research study which demonstrates their research skills. They willdesign their own research project, with the approval of the instructor.There are two typical approaches used in completing a master’s project. Historically, theHigher Education Program has encouraged according to Professor Tom Savage: “acurriculum project or a research project.” The curriculum project is focused on theanalysis of learning, instruction, outcomes assessment, and curricula, as well as their implications for students, faculty, and institutions of higher learning. This project centers“on an important need that has practical application. It should have application to a broader setting than just one setting.” On the other hand, the research project is a moretraditional research based project. It involves developing a research question or problem,and then collecting data through either qualitative or quantitative methods to answer it.The summative work analyzes these data and discusses their implications. The research project approximates a traditional master’s thesis.Therefore, this course was created to enable master’s students to develop, design, andformulate the appropriate method for their master’s project. It is the summative work of the program. It is predicated upon the student’s earlier study of different researchmethods in EDUC 490. Generally, students work on this project two quarters. (Studentsmay take EDUC 399 in a subsequent quarter to complete the requirement, usually for anadditional 3 units. All students taking this subsequent course will meet as a group in a biweekly fashion.)Before beginning the course, students should have a defined project and have substantiveknowledge of the subject proposed to study. This course is not a course where theknowledge base related to the topic or problem can be gained. Rather, this course is asummative inquiry course where exploration of the design of the proposed project is thefocus of study. This course is a combination of seminar time, research opportunities, andindividual conferences with the instructor. Thus, the seminar meets every other week during the quarter. The first part of the class will focus on the readings for the night,while the second part of the class will center on group discussion of individual student projects.Course Objectives:This course will enable students to:1.
 
To understand the current challenges facing higher education research withinacademe and the larger community.2.
 
To ask critical inquiry questions which may lead to significant master’s projecttopics.
 
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3.
 
To understand the interrelationship between different components of the master’s project, namely, topic/problem, literature review, method, data collection,analysis, results, implications, and significance.4.
 
To explore both qualitative and quantitative research methods and be able toselect the appropriate method to answer a research problem.5.
 
To discuss how they grew as researchers and explore the critical points in thedevelopment of their project’s problem statement, literature, and research method.Learning Aids:
Required texts for this course
:Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2003). The craft of research, 2
nd
ed.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Murray Thomas, R. (2003). Blending qualitative and quantitative research methods intheses and dissertations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.APA Publication Manual—5
th
edition (2001)Evaluation Criteria and Techniques:A. On successful completion of this course, learners should be able:1. To understand the components of a master’s project design and their interrelationships;2. To understand the role which theory plays in master’s research;3. To present provocative research questions, possible master’stopics/problems; and4. To write the first three chapters of their master’s project—and assess their development as researchers.B. Evaluation of this learning is achieved in this course will be determined in four ways:1. Class participation in discussions through assigned and related readingsand from professional experience as well as course tasks (such asdeveloping drafts of master’s chapters).2. A mid-term grade based on the assessment of Chapters 1 and 2.

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