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University of Connecticut Neag School of Education EPSY 5601: Principles and Methods in Educational Research

EPSY 5601: Principles and Methods in Educational Research

(Section 002)

Neag School of Education

University of Connecticut

Fall 2010
Thursday: 4 - 6:30 p.m.
Gentry 140
Instructor: Del Siegle, Ph.D.

Course Overview:
EPSY 5601 is an introductory course designed to help educators understand and evaluate the educational research literature.
Through participation in the course, class members will 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 not designed to prepare them for conducting research.  However, the instructor believes that hands-on activities are an effective method of learning material. The instructor provides extensive notes on his website. These are highlights of material covered in the textbook. They may also include supplementary material not covered in the book that the instructor feels is important. Students are expected to complete the reading assignments 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
  • Apply knowledge of the above concepts and methods to evaluate research reports

This course is aligned with the University of Connecticut Educator Preparation Program’s Conceptual Framework. Specifically, content and objectives address:

  1. Learning by providing an understanding of key measurement issues, types of research designs, and introductory statistical reasoning and statistical techniques.
  2. Leading by enabling students to become informed and critical consumers and users of qualitative and quantitative research in order to inform and improve practice.
  3. Lighting the way by incorporating the knowledge they gain from this course in becoming a reflective practitioner who advances research-based instruction in their teaching and learning community.

Class Meetings and Requirements:
The approach for meeting the course objectives will be a combination of attending class, reading assignments, visiting the designated web sites, class discussions, written assignments, and two examinations. Since the class is limited to 14 meetings, students are expected to attend all meetings. Classes will begin promptly and the instructor does not appreciate late arrivals. 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.

Required Texts:
    Fraenkel, J.R., & Wallen, N.E. (2009). How to design and evaluate research in education (7th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.

Grades for this course are based on participation/attendance, a midterm and final exam, and individual and group projects.

The first exam merits 25% of your grade and the second exam merits 25% of your grade. Your score on the 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 points 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.

Projects account for 45% of your grade. 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 initial grading of the project. Late projects may not be resubmitted.

Class participation is 5% of your grade. You will receive 1/2 point for each class you attend, excluding test days (up to 5 points...which means you can miss two classes and still receive full credit for attendance). Assignment and test scores can be checked in Blackboard (


A+ -- 100-99%
A   --    98-93%
A-  --    92-90%
B+ --    89-87%
B   --    86-83%
B-  --    82-80%
C+ --    79-77%
C   --    76-73%
C-  --    72-70%
D+ --    69-67%
D   --    66-63%
D-  --    62-60%
F    --     Below 60%


Course Outline:

September 2
No Class (Instructor Sick)

September 9
Read Ch. 1-2, 4, 14

Topic:  Overview of Types of Research, Research Ethics and Institutional Review Boards, Single Subject Research, Graphing Single-Subject Data

September 16
Read Ch. 15
Topic: (finish Single-Subject) Correlations, Introduction to Concept of Statistical Significance, Intelligence Article

September 23
Read Ch.
Assignment Due: Single Subject Research
Topic: Finish Correlation, Measurement Scales, Qualitative Research Basics, Introduce Historical Research and Content Analysis

September 30
Read Ch. 7-8
Assignment Due:

Topic: Action Research, Types of Instrument Reliability and Validity, Likert Scales
(Stat Sig Data)

October 7
Read Ch. 10
Assignment Due:
Topic: Normal Curve, Standardized Scores (finish instrument reliability and validity)

October 14
Read Ch. 3
Assignment Due: Reliability (Cronbach) and Reliability (Split Half and KR)
Topic: Review for First Test, Independent and Dependent Variables

October 21

FIRST TEST (Gentry 325)
Assignment Due:
Standardized Scores

October 28
Read Ch. 6, 17
Assignment Due: Variables
Topic: Review test results, Survey Research: Samples and Populations, Types of Sampling, Survey Research

November 4
Read Ch. 11-12

Topic:   t tests, Null and Alternative Hypotheses, Beta t-test program

November 11 - No Class

November 18
Read Ch. 9, 13, 16
Assignment Due: Sampling
Continue t tests, Experimental Research Internal and External Validity, Causal-comparative Research Designs,

November 25- No Class (Fall Break)

December 2
Assignment Due: t test
Topic:  Directional and Nondirectional Hypotheses, ANOVAs, Regression, Chi-Square
(review for second test)

December 9
Assignment Due: Types of Stats


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. For additional information see

Students with Disabilities
Students with special needs should contact the instructor early in the semester so accommodations can be made. Additional help is available through the university. Through the merge of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and the University Program for College Students with Learning Disabilities (UPLD), one office now serves all students with disabilities. All students may contact the office by visiting the Wilbur Cross Building, Room 204, calling (860) 486-2020 or emailing


About This Site

EPSY 5601 is an introductory course designed to help graduate students understand and evaluate education research.

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Del Siegle, Ph.D.
University of Connecticut
249 Glenbrook Road Unit 2064
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2064
Phone: 860.486.0616
Fax: 860.486.0180