Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

HUMS 300: Exploring Research

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  Course Description

Finding, understanding, critical analysis, and communication of empirically based research for practice application.

Prerequisite: MATH 150 or MATH 170

Proctored Exams: None


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Faulkner, S. S. and Faulkner, C. A. (2014). Research Methods for Social Workers: A Practice-Based Approach (2nd ed). Oxford University Press.  Physical Book


  •  APA. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

The main objectives of this course are to provide you with the opportunity to learn how to recognize the need for empirically based research within your professional life, find appropriate research relevant to your practice, evaluate it, and apply it professionally. The emphasis is on becoming a skilled consumer of research rather than producing it.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify scholarly, peer reviewed research
  2. Demonstrate understanding of ethical research
  3. Demonstrate skillful use of high quality, credible and relevant sources.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 234-260 90-100%
B 208-233 80-89%
C 182-207 70-79%
D 156-181 60-69%
F 0-155 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 45 17%
Topic (1) 5 2%
Quizzes (2) 60 23%
Annotated Bibliography (1) 50 19%
Final Literature Review (1) 50 19%
Final Exam (1) 50 19%
Total 260 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 0 Wednesday
Discussion 1 5 Wednesday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 5 Wednesday/Sunday
Plagiarism Quiz 0 Friday
Dropbox Assignment/Topic Paper 5 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 5 Wednesday/Sunday
Quiz 1 (Chapters 1-5) 30 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 5 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment/Annotated Bibliography 50 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 5 Wednesday/Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 5 Wednesday/Sunday
Quiz 2 (Chapters 6-11) 30 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 5 Wednesday/Sunday
APA Quiz 0 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment/Final Literature Review 50

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Thursday/Saturday
Final Exam 50 Saturday
Total Points: 260

  Assignment Overview


All posts and papers must be your own work. Any words taken from another source must be cited. Uncited work is considered plagiarism and will receive a grade of “0.” Along with the plagiarism tutorial available in our classroom, here are two sites that may be of interest for understanding and avoiding plagiarism: http://www.indiana.edu/~istd and http://www.plagiarism.com. Do not use old papers. All work for this class must be unique to this class and not recycled research projects or papers from other classes or previous sections of this class. Plagiarized and recycled papers will receive a score of zero with NO option for redoing.


Discussion postings should be complete by their respective deadlines, and will be graded according to the criteria presented in the grading rubric found in this syllabus. Please note that proper spelling and grammar is required for all assignments – including the discussions. Discussions are to be ongoing throughout the week.

These instructions apply for weeks 1 – 7. Separate directions for week 8 are provided below. You will take your turn choosing 3-5 pages of the text and providing a detailed outline of that material and your own personal summary or impression of what you read (referred to as “the round robin method”). Some overlap is inevitable and that is not a huge issue. When you are ready to make your post, determine where the discussion is, where we are in the book, and then cover the next 3–5 pages. The minimum number of pages to outline is 3 full pages; if you only outline part of the first page and/or part of the third page you won’t receive full points for the outline – this includes when there is an Example box on your chosen pages. Include information from Example boxes in your outline. If an Example box does not lend itself to being incorporated into an outline and you don’t discuss it, then you need to make up that space; so, if you cover pages 1-3, and page 2 is an Example box that you don’t cover, then you need to cover page 4 in it’s place in order to have 3 full pages covered. You must identify the chapter and pages in your subject line for the post. There is no instructor question – each person takes the next available material from the text that has not been covered yet, and makes their post following these directions. This discussion method requires that you have the textbook.

While one piece of the weekly discussion is your outline, the other piece is your participation. You need to respond to other people’s posts. You do not need to respond to every post, but only those posts that you find interesting or where you have something significant to add to the discourse. Meaningful posts go beyond: “I agree with Bill.”; “I like the way you (fill in the blank).”; or “Good post.” You need at least 3 significant participation posts each week. Participation also implies that you are reading everyone else’s postings. It is important that you read my posts and reply when appropriate or prompted. Even if my posting is a reply to another individual’s post, keep in mind that it may contain clarifying information or a follow up question written with the entire class in mind. The outlines are due mid-week. Additionally, participation posts should be throughout the week, not only at the end. While the cutoff date for participation is Sunday, you must be posting throughout the week to earn full participation. For example, if you only post your participation messages on Saturday and/or Sunday, you will not earn all participation points for that week. Discussions cannot be made up if missed.

The Discussion for Week 8 is worth more points and you can begin working on it after Week 2; you may even decide to complete it early, but it will not be evaluated until the final week of class. However, the instructor will be fully involved with this ongoing discussion starting on the first day of class in the event you have any questions or concerns. For this discussion you will:
1. Find an article about research in the news.
2. Find the original research article. (NOT a news release from the sponsoring institution about the research and NOT a report that only focuses on demographic information/statistics, such as a Census Report). You cannot use an article that somebody else has used already.
3. Post links to and/or attach the original articles to the discussion post.
4. Compare and contrast the news article with the actual research. In addition, answer the question: Did the news accurately portray what the actual research said?
5. Look at and comment on at least three other posts.


There will be 2 quizzes for 30 points each. The quizzes will cover the material for the previous three weeks. The quizzes are not proctored. To maintain test security students are not allowed to see the answers to individual questions after the test has been completed.

Final Exam

The Final Exam (50 points) will be comprehensive with more emphasis being placed on chapter 12. The Final Exam is not proctored. To maintain test security students are not allowed to see the answers to individual questions after the test has been completed.

Literature Review Project

The Literature Review project is broken into three, distinct projects that overlap in grading.

The three projects are: the Topic Paper, Annotated Bibliography, and Final Literature Review.
• Topic Paper: You choose the topic of your literature review, but your topic must be approved by me. To have a topic approved, write a one paragraph description indicating why you chose this topic, and submit it through the “Topic” folder in the Dropbox. It needs to be something within the very broad area of human services. It should also be narrowed down to a specific topic, so you can find research articles on it. I suggest choosing a topic that you are interested in, and it would be even better if it is something which would be of use to you in your professional work. For this paper, submit a few sentences that state your topic and why you chose it.

You also have the opportunity to discuss your topic and review a list of possible topics in the Discussions area. This is a non-graded, informal discussion. This discussion is NOT a substitute for submitting your topic through the Dropbox.

NOTE: You must complete the plagiarism quiz with a passing grade of 80 percent or more in order to turn in the Topic Paper. No points are awarded but multiple attempts are allowed.

• Annotated Bibliography: When done correctly this assignment helps you to prepare for writing the final paper and it is designed for you to critically think about the sources you will use for that paper. All of the sources you use in this assignment MUST be used in the final paper.
After you choose the topic for your literature review, and after it has been approved, you will need to use the online databases available from the Columbia College library to find a minimum of 5 research articles pertinent to that topic. The full-text articles must be available online; do not request hard copies of articles to be mailed to you to complete the class papers. You are to use only peer-reviewed journal articles available from the online databases (which are extensive), and not editorials, news items, commentary, or opinion pieces. You must use research based articles which will generally include one or more of the following elements: an abstract, a literature review, methods, sample, findings, and a short discussion. You can also use other literature reviews which are relevant to your topic. Both kinds of articles will be found in the professional literature. Periodicals such as Time, newspapers of any kind, and web sites will NOT count toward the required number of sources although you can use them as supporting references. It is important to remember these guidelines.
For this assignment, a grid for you to complete will be provided for you in our online classroom, in the Content area. You will complete the grid filling out all the required information for each of your articles in your own words. Don’t just cut and paste information from the article or other sources. It is important for you to understand the article. It is acceptable if some of the statistics are arcane or beyond your statistical expertise. However, you must know what the authors were trying to accomplish, the method they used, the results, and to make an informed judgment as to the viability of their project. You will also need to submit your 5 articles through the Dropbox when you submit your Annotated Bibliography.

• Final Literature Review: You will write a literature review on your approved topic using, at minimum, the five sources you submitted in your annotated bibliography. Your final review, in addition to the grading criteria found in the Grading Criteria section of this syllabus, must adhere to the following guidelines:

o Must use version 6 of the APA style manual guidelines. Must be written in APA style.
o No more than 10% of your paper will be quoted material from your sources.
o Only one block quote.
o Must contain both direct quotes and paraphrases.
o Should not deal with one article, then another, and then another, in succession.
Instead, the article must be written thematically. Develop themes on the topic, derived from your analysis of your sources, use those themes as divisions (dividing your paper into subheadings), and provide a final discussion where you sum things up.
o NO recycled work or using work from other classes, or a previous section of this course. This will result in a zero.
o Do not copy, or otherwise use, information from another source without saying where you got it. That is a fundamental principle of academic writing. In other words, use parenthetical citations to tell the reader where the information comes from. Violation of this requirement is plagiarism and will result in a zero for the assignment.
o This assignment will be 7-11 pages inclusive to include:

1 Page = Title Page
1 Page = Abstract
4-8 Pages = Body of the paper. Points will be deducted for going over or under.
1 Page = Reference page

NOTE: You must complete the APA quiz with a passing grade of 80 percent or more in order to turn in the Final Literature Review. No points are awarded but multiple attempts are allowed.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

• Visit the APA materials (in Content area). Become familiar these resources, and refer to them for the final paper.
• Chapter 1: What is Research?
• Chapter 2: Ethical Considerations
• Presentation: Welcome
• Instructor Materials
Introduction Discussion
Post a short introduction about yourself here. This is not a graded post, but it is important, as it helps us get to know each other.
Discussion 1
The class will discuss Chapters 1 and 2 using the round robin method described in the Assignment Overview. This week we will be defining what research is, and then learning about the ethics of research. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.

During Week 2, you will learn how to use the campus databases to search for scholarly literature using information provided in the content section. Content matter from Chapter 3 is about the literature review process, and will be useful as you begin finding appropriate articles for the annotated bibliography for use in your final paper. Chapter 4 covers many foundational concepts for research such as variables, measures (including operationalizing them), reliability, and validity.

• Chapter 3: Literature Review
• Chapter 4: Variables and Measures
• Presentation: Assignments and Resources
• Presentation: Completing Course Papers
• Instructor Materials

Discussion 2
The class will discuss Chapters 3 and 4 using the round robin method. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.
Plagiarism Quiz
Review the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content Area. Take the Plagiarism Quiz (available in the Quizzes area). Remember, that you will NOT be able to submit your Topic Paper until this quiz is completed with an 80% or higher grade. You may take this quiz as many times as needed.
Dropbox Assignment/Topic Paper
Choose an appropriate topic for your literature review and start searching the literature for relevant articles for your Annotated Bibliography, which is due at the end of Week 4. Submit your topic to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 pm Sunday.

During Week 3, content from Chapter 5 is about the most fundamental building block of any research project: sampling. Content from Chapter 6 is about qualitative research which is one of the two basic ways of performing research.

• Chapter 5: Sampling
• Chapter 6: Qualitative Research Designs

Discussion 3
The class will discuss Chapters 5 and 6 using the round robin method. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.
Quiz 1 (Chapters 1-5)
The quiz will cover chapters 1 – 5; it is taken online and there is a 15 minute time limit. The quiz will become available in the Quizzes Area on Monday. You must complete it by 11:59 pm Sunday.

During Week 4, Chapter 7 is about the other major type of research which is quantitative – we covered qualitative research methods last week. It will be helpful to compare and contrast the two methods. Chapter 8 is about survey research, which can be qualitative or quantitative, and includes material on appropriate topics for survey research as well as how to develop a survey.

• Chapter 7: Quantitative Research Designs
• Chapter 8: Survey Research

Discussion 4
The class will discuss Chapters 7 and 8 using the round robin method. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.
Dropbox Assignment/Annotated Bibliography
Please submit your Annotated Bibliography and your 5 articles in the Dropbox area by 11:59 pm Sunday. See the Assignment Overview section of this syllabus and the Content Area of the course for detailed instructions (and the grid you will need).

During Week 5, we study two very different methods of performing research which range from evaluating entire programs, which may have hundreds, or even thousands, of clients, to assessing a single client, or client systems. They both ask the question: Is this working? Chapter 9 is about evaluative research which is how social programs are assessed. Are they doing what we intend them to do? Chapter 10 is about evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention with a single client using the single-subject design.

• Chapter 9: Evaluative Research Designs
• Chapter 10: Single-Subject Designs

Discussion 5
The class will discuss Chapters 9 and 10 using the round robin method. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.

During Week 6, we cover Chapter 11 which is about descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics are used to provide summaries and describe basic features of the data in a study.

▪ Chapter 11: Introduction to Descriptive Statistics

Discussion 6
The class will discuss Chapter 11 using the round robin. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.
Quiz 2 (Chapters 6-11)
The quiz will cover chapters 6 – 11; it is taken online and there is a 15 minute time limit. The quiz will become available in the Quizzes Area on Monday. You must complete it by 11:59 pm Sunday.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

During Week 7, we cover Chapter 12, which provides a general overview of inferential statistics. Inferential statistics are often used to test a hypothesis which cannot be accomplished with the descriptive statistics we studied last week.
Make sure you are preparing for the final exam and the final paper, which are both due next week.

▪ Chapter 12: Introduction to Inferential Statistics

Discussion 7
The class will discuss Chapter 12 using the round robin. The outline post is due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Sunday.
APA Quiz
Students can start taking the quiz in Week One and must pass with a score of 80% or better before turning in the Final Literature Review during Week 7.
Dropbox Assignment/Final Literature Review

Please submit your Final Literature Review to the correct folder in the Dropbox area by 11:59 pm Sunday. Please see the Assignment Overview section of this syllabus and the Content area of the course for detailed instructions.

The APA Quiz is available in the Quizzes area. Remember, that you will NOT be able to submit your Final Literature Review until this quiz is completed with an 80% or higher grade. You may take this quiz as many times as needed. Not having the time to complete this quiz is NOT a valid excuse for a late submission of your Literature Review.

During Week 8, you will need to find a story in the news about research, and then find the original research that the news article was based on.
Discussion 8
During this week the class will post a link and/or the actual original articles (the news article and then the journal article that the news articles was based on) to the discussion area. In your post you will provide a synopsis of the research and what you found when you compared the news article with the original research report. The article post is due by 11:59 pm on Thursday. Class participation postings are due throughout the week, with the cutoff for participation being 11:59 pm on Saturday.
Final Exam
The Final exam is not proctored. It is open book. It will be cumulative with added weight given to materials from chapter 12 (1/4 of the Exam is based on chapter 12, and those questions are worth 2 points each, rather than 1 point). The quiz will become available in the Quizzes Area starting on Monday. You must complete the exam by 11:59 pm Saturday.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Posting assignments early can help avoid a last minute problem. It is strongly suggested that students complete assignments a day or two early, rather than waiting until the last minute to complete work. By completing assignments a little early, you won’t have to worry about a last minute problem costing you points in the course.  Also, please have a backup plan in case you have computer problems (a backup plan could be using a friend’s computer, using a computer on campus, using a computer at a local library, or using a computer at a copy center).

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student (Columbia College Catalog). Emergencies that result in a student’s request for an extension will have to be verified. It is necessary to verify such emergencies so that the policy will not get abused. Without verification, an extension cannot be granted on an assignment. In the event that a late assignment is accepted, 25 percent will be deducted for each day it is late up until the second day. A grade of zero is assigned after the second day.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.