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NC 503 – Introduction to Research

Spring 2014 Bernadette Stockwell Office: To Be Determined Office Hours: By appointment Email: Class information: Wednesday 3:30 – 7:00 PM

Research is an engaging activity. As a student researcher, you are expected to engage in the conversation of research. This means that you must seek out, read and understand what others have discovered and reported on before you, but that you are also expected and required to make thoughtful observations and recount on others’ research—offering your interpretation, explanation, extrapolation—and thereby take ownership of the information such that you can then offer your own theories. In addition, you should expect to engage in your own primary research once armed with the knowledge to create your own hypothesis, test those theories and accurately report on them. Finally, you will synthesize all component—literature review, primary research, and more—into one well organized product. This product (aka your Research Report) might incorporate tables, graphs, images that augment the text, but these should not replace your written analysis. Throughout the process, it is important to maintain accurate and adequate documentation. In the end, you will know and understand a wide variety of research techniques and skills, be able to determine which is most appropriate to your topic/ subject, and offer others the necessary information such that your work could be reproduced thereby adding to the validity of your final product.

Understanding research and the processes involved in conducting, designing, reporting, interpreting, and evaluating research is of paramount importance to success in graduate study. Research activities, whether a primary or secondary nature, occupy a significant proportion of students’ time and efforts at the University, within and outside of class. Open engagement in this course will provide students with a fundamental understanding of research, and ensure a solid grounding for future endeavors in graduate study. Many classes will incorporate a ‘lab’ component where students will engage in active online research; therefore, it is expected that students bring a laptop, or other portable device, equipped with wifi capabilities. These devices, when not being used for specific research, must be completely put away.

This course will enable students to develop skills in understanding, undertaking, and interpreting research. The first part of the course aims to expose students to the objectives and significance of research. The second part provides students with an opportunity to explore conducting research practices, the corresponding meaning. Students will be exposed to quality journal publications and popular research practices. By reading and discussing these papers in class, students will gain stronger insight into the world of research, the nature of research, and the purpose of research. The final aim is to develop students’ skills in analyzing research, to equip students with the skills they need to identify quality research, and to be able to meaningfully discuss the findings with others.


By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:  Consider research questions, methods, and findings across a variety of academic disciplines  Effectively articulate critical issues relevant to student’s major/interests verbally, in writing, and with the use of technology  Conduct a basic literature review on a chosen research topic  Analyze and synthesize a broad range of research material, employing critical evaluation skills in the interpretation of research  Understand how scholars think about problems, formulate hypotheses, research those problems, and draw conclusions about them  Demonstrate the ability to use knowledge and logic when discussing an issue or idea  Identify and define different research methodologies  Independently and critically conduct research for, write, and present a small scale exploratory research project  Demonstrate verbal and written skills as independent and critical thinkers, demonstrating the ability to use knowledge and logic when discussing an issue or an idea, while considering the consequences of their ideas, for themselves, for others, and for society  Articulate what quality research is, including components of the research process  Recognize and incorporate ethical considerations in research  Effectively review peer-reviewed journal articles, and effectively interpret research results

The main focus of the course are the lectures that address various elements involved in carrying out a research study, from organizing and conducting a literature review to analyzing and reporting data. The lectures are interactive to maximize learning. You are encouraged to participate through asking questions, making comments and undertaking some short relevant exercises. The workshops and tutorials are designed to enhance learning using more specific practical exercises. During these sessions, you will be involved in both individual and group work.

Students are expected to attend class regularly and actively. Three or more unexcused absences will be cause for failure. You should come to class fully prepared to discuss any readings or assignments for that day, and should participate in all class discussions and activities, asking questions and making observations as appropriate. Should you need to miss a class, you are responsible for all work covered in the class session. Students should inform me in writing of days you must be absent, as early as possible. Students must speak with me prior to scheduled class for an excused absence. Any absences without my knowledge will result in a deduction of 2 points for each session missed.

This course requires the following two textbooks: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition Mastering APA Style: Student's Workbook and Training Guide, Sixth Edition Other readings will be provided by the instructor.


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UML libraries: Purdue Online Writing Lab (APA Guidelines): Google Scholar:

Students with documented special needs are responsible for making their needs known to the instructor by the end of the first week of class, or as documented. Students are responsible for seeking and arranging available assistance from the Office of Student Disability Services, One University Ave., Cumnock Hall C6, 978-9344574, or by contacting Jody Goldstein via email at

• • • • • • Tutorial Participation/Attendance Literature Review Presentation of Data Collection & Analysis Research Report Visual presentation of Research Report Leading class discussion of research article 20% 15% 15% 20% 10% 20%

Grades are given as Pass (P) or No Credit (NC) A grade of NC will be given if a student has made no progress on the research project. To achieve a Pass for the course, you must earn at least 80%.
MBA students must attain a score of 59 on the Pearson Test

Complete all assigned readings prior to class. The schedule is subject to change. January 22 Week 1  Introductions  Review of Syllabus  Discussion on what we mean by research  Ethical considerations and expectations  Reading and Understanding a Research Article  Note Taking Week 2  Literature Reviews  Reading Critically  Using the UML Library  Identifying a research topic Week 3  Organizing your research o Recording research queries

January 29

February 5

February 12

o Annotation log  Concept Mapping  Our research topics  APA formatting Week 4  Research methodologies  The research process  Types of research  Types of sources  Citations/referencing  LITERATURE REVIEW DUE Week 5  Guidelines for conducting a research study  Guidelines on style, mechanics, and language usage  Data Collection and Analysis Week 6  Survey Research and Sampling  Interviewing  Analyzing and Reporting Data  Writing the Research Report Week 7  Effective scholarly oral communication  Effective presentations  Infusing technology into presentations  DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS DUE Week 8  Ethical Considerations Spring Break Week 9  Providing and receiving peer feedback  Incorporating feedback  Refining, rewriting  Self-editing checklist ROUGH DRAFT OF RESEARCH REPORT DUE FOR PEER REVIEW Week 10  Defined by needs of class RESEARCH REPORT DUE Week 11  Presentations Week 12  Presentations

February 19

February 26

March 5

March 12 March 19 March 26

April 2

April 9

April 16, 23