Breyer State University
COURSE OVERVIEW: Welcome to GRM 5104, Research Methods. This course is part of the Accelerated Master’s program in Grief Counseling at Breyer State University. It is a 6 hour semester course that must be completed within 6 weeks. This course will cover topics in research methods in the field of psychology. There are two main objectives for this course:
provide you with information designed to make you more educated/aware when reading about research in the literature. Understanding the foundations of research methods will allow you to understand both the positive and problematic aspects of current research. You will be able to read articles in both professional journals and conventional media with a new critical eye.
provide you with a solid foundation for understanding the diverse methods of research in our field. At the end of the course, you should feel confident about designing and carrying out a number of different types of research projects.
Please note that this course is part of an accelerated program; you may therefore find it quite fast-paced. It is designed to give you a solid working understanding of research methods; the doctoral-level counterparts of this course, GRD 1105 and PSY 975, address the same topics at a more advanced level.
TIME FRAME: GRM 5104 is a 6-hour semester course that must be completed within a 6 week period. You must complete all course requirements successfully within that time period. Week one will begin when you register for the course or, alternatively, the day you notify me via e-mail that you have received the textbook and are ready to begin. Extensions are granted in certain circumstances. You must obtain written approval from the instructor and/or department for extensions.
COURSE TEXTBOOK: The textbook for this course is:
Research Methods in Clinical Psychology: an Introduction for Students and Practitioners, 2nd edition (2005), by Chris Barker, Nancy Pistrang and Robert Elliott, published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The textbook is also available on www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, www.borders.com and www.alibris.com. Please note that you are welcome to (and even encouraged to) obtain and cite additional sources in your written work as long as they are reputable (scholarly articles or books- NOT material from magazines, etc.).
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS: This course will have three assignments and a final exam/project. The assignments will cover the material as outlined below. This is a suggested timeline. The written papers/examinations should be approached after you feel you have mastered the material so that you are capable of elaborating on it and applying it as needed instead of merely repeating it. I will review your assignments carefully and provide written feedback. You should try to integrate suggestions and corrections into subsequent work you submit. Remember, do not hesitate to contact me with questions about the course, the material or my feedback.
Module 1: The research process; theoretical perspectives on research; the groundwork of research (formulating research questions, literature review, proposals); foundations of quantitative methods of research.
Read: Chapters 1-4 in the textbook
Complete Assignment 1
Module 2: Foundations of qualitative methods; self-report methods; research through observation; foundations of design.
Read: Chapters 5-8 in the textbook
Complete Assignment 2
Module 3: Small- N designs, sampling, ethics, evaluation research, analysis, interpretation, dissemination.
Read: Chapters 9-13 in the textbook
Complete Assignment 3
Module 4: Final Project (demonstrate your capacity to design and conduct research applied to grief/loss topics).
COURSE GRADING: The assignments will each count 25% of your final grade. The final project exam will account for the remaining 25%. Please note that assignments will be graded on content. However, at this level, grammatical and spelling errors are UNACCEPTABLE and will count against you. Please be sure you present papers that are appropriate for doctoral level work.
90-100% will correspond to and A
80-89 = B
Below 70 will be a failing grade.
Several factors will be taken into account when I review your work:
1. Content is comprehensive, accurate and all requested information is properly addressed
2. Major points are stated clearly, and are supported by specific references from the literature, details, examples, and/or analysis.
3.Research is adequate for the topic
4.Any concept that is not strictly your own MUST be appropriately referenced using APA style. The correct format for indirect referencing is (Author’s last name, year) at the END of a sentence and (Author, year, p. #) for direct quotes.
5.You are able to show that you are not merely memorizing information but rather are processing it and are capable of applying it to real-life scenarios with clients whenever possible.
The introduction provides sufficient background on the topic and previews major points.
The structure of the paper is clear and easy to follow.
The paper follows a logical structure and concepts are illustrated with examples wherever possible.
The conclusion reviews the major points.
Sentences are complete, clear, and concise.
The tone is appropriate to the content and assignment and qualifies as higher level academic writing.
Understand the “groundwork” of research and the “research cycle”, along with important concepts with direct application to psychological research such as hypothesis testing, operationalization, constructionism and realism.
Understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative research and learn the usefulness and limitation of each in various contexts.
Understand the concepts of validity and reliability and learn to apply them to practical examples
Understand how to critically review literature and recognize the features of solid vs. flawed research.
Learn about self-report measures and the usefulness/limitations of these tools
Understand structured and semi-structured interviewing in research
Understand how to review and construct basic research designs such as correlational, randomized, non-randomized, AB, ABAB, multiple baseline, etc.
Understand important research concepts like sampling, sample size, effect size, and alpha & beta errors.
Understand the basics of evaluation, quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
Learn how do design, conduct and review various types of research and discern the appropriate approach in a range of contexts.
Gain a working knowledge of how to apply these concepts to research in the field of bereavement/loss/grief.