Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

EDUC 500: *Research Design Research Design

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  Course Description

The study of educational research from a comprehensive perspective.  Included are: techniques and concepts of social and behavioral research; writing in the American Psychological Association (APA) format; ethical standards governing educational research; experiences in the use of internal and external critique methods; readings in curriculum, assessment, philosophical and psychological research products; experiences accessing and using archival and web-based data sources; evaluation of descriptive, true-experimental and quasi-experimental research designs; identification and use of appropriate parametric and nonparametric statistical analyses; computation and interpreting of effect size tests of practical significance; conducting primary and secondary source literature reviews; demonstration of research designing; and use of portfolio research.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing

Proctored Exams: None



  • McMillan, J. H.. (2016). Fundamentals of Educational Research (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
    • [ISBN-978-0-13-401349-7]
  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    • [ISBN-978-1-4338-0559-2]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

This course is designed to teach you to be a good consumer of research by understanding the process of conducting research and how to find relevant research-based information for use in your work. It is important for teachers to become familiar with “what works” for students at all learning levels and styles.

This course is meant to be very practical and hands-on. You will learn how to find peer-reviewed research articles, how to read articles based on different types of research designs, how to interpret the findings, and how to judge whether or not the study presented in the articles follows accepted standards of research. Additionally, you will conduct a literature review on a subject of your choice, learn how to write the review as if you were conducting a research study, and devise a proposed research study you would find interesting based upon the results of the literature review.

Most of the readings for this class will be completed by the end of the 6th week, as you will need the information in order to write your literature review and proposed research study. I will help you with each step.

Start thinking of a subject area you would like to research. We will work together to “target” your review toward a portion of that area feasible to use for this project. To help facilitate group/peer learning and help me evaluate formative student learning, you will be expected to answer a specific question each week in the discussion section related to the chapters read and respond to the posting of at least one other student. The expectations for these postings are listed later in the syllabus.

  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 Objectives

  • differentiate among methods, theories, principles, techniques and concepts of social and behavioral research.
  • identify the ethical standards of governing educational and psychological research.
  • critically evaluate curriculum, assessment, philosophical and psychological research products.
  • identify for use the appropriate parametric and nonparametric statistics.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Apply methods, theories, principles, techniques and concepts of social and behavioral research.
  • Write research proposals and findings in the APA format.
  • Explain the practice of ethical standards of governing educational and psychological research.
  • Access and use established databases and internet sources.
  • Evaluate descriptive, true experimental and quasi-experimental research designs.
  • Compute and interpret effect size tests of practical significance.
  • Conduct secondary and primary source literature reviews.
  • Design studies for empirical research, including problem stating, hypothesizing or posing research questions, sampling, data gathering and analysis, reporting of results, and discussion of results.
  • Begin the MAT program portfolio, including setting program goals.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 558-620 90-100%
B 496-557 80-89%
C 434-495 70-79%
F 0-433 0-69%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 160 26%
Article Reviews 200 32%
Research Proposal 260 42%
Total 620 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 20 Saturday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 1 40 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 2 80 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 3 80 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 4 20 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 5: Rough Draft 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 20 Saturday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Dropbox Assignment 6: Final Literature Review and Proposed Research Study 150 Wednesday
Discussion 8 20 Saturday
Discussion 9 40
Total Points: 620

  Assignment Overview


Discussion postings should be complete by Saturday of each assigned week. You will be required to post your own information and to expand on and reply to the postings of at least one other student.

Article Reviews

Article Reviews will be a preliminary part of your literature review. Reviews must be on articles from juried professional journals and not opinion papers. Articles can use either qualitative or quantitative designs. An example of a review will be provided for you to use. You will choose articles that can then be incorporated as part of your literature review/ research proposal.

The review must be written using the APA guidelines appropriate for an article review. It should be written in third person for scientific writing. Don’t include personal opinions. Only report what you find in the research literature. Include the following information:

  1. What the study was about and the subjects used
  2. How the study was conducted
  3. How the data was collected
  4. How the data was analyzed
  5. Interpretation given by authors of the outcome
  6. Limitations

Each article review must be from one to two pages long (double-spaced), using a 12-point font. (You won’t need a bigger font to get the number of pages you need.) Include a citation of the article. Submit a digital copy of the articles with the reviews due on the 3rd week only so I can make sure that the articles you chose are acceptable. After that time, the copy of the article is not needed.

Literature Review and Research Proposal

A literature review is required on a specific topic of your interest/selection related to education and teaching. Please pick a topic that you are interested in researching to use in your present or future work setting. The literature review and summary of findings should be at least 10 pages long and include a minimum of six research-based articles.

Based upon the information in your findings, you will then write a proposal for a research project you would find interesting. You do not have to actually implement the project. I just want you to be able to show what you have learned. The proposal should be at least two to three pages in length.

The literature review and research proposal must use APA writing guidelines and include a title page and references page. Most of the papers in my previous class are approximately 18 to 20 pages in total length. The grade will be based on how well you cover your topic and make your case for the research proposal, how well you observe writing conventions and mechanics, and how well you adhere to the APA formatting rules.

Content = 70%
Writing = 15%
APA formatting = 15%

  Course Outline

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


McMillan, Chapters 1 and 3.

DeRosier, M.E., Swick, D.C., Davis, N.O., McMillen, J.S., and Matthews, R. (2011). The efficacy of a social skills group intervention for improving social behaviors in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41 (8), 1033-1043. DOI: 10.1077/s10803-010-1128-2.

Seo, S, Brownell, M.T., Bishop, A.G., & Dingle, M. (2008). Beginning special education teachers’ classroom reading instruction: Practices that engage elementary students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 75 (1), 97-122.
Discussion 1
Introduce yourself and be sure to include your current job position and level of knowledge about research.
McMillan, Chapters 4 and 5
Discussion 2
Discuss the differences you found in your readings between quantitative and qualitative research methods.  Which would you think would be easier to use and why?
Dropbox Assignment 1
Submit the answers to the questions found in the Content section on the quantitative and qualitative articles you found in the database and read last week. The answers should be listed in a simple question and answer format, not written as an article review.
McMillan, Chapter 6.
Discussion 3
Describe the types of assessment instruments with which you are familiar.  How have you used these in the past? Give at least 3 types of instruments that could be used for quantative research and 3 types that could be used for qualitative research.
Dropbox Assignment 2
Submit two article reviews with APA formatted references. An example is given in the Content section as referenced above in Week 1.
McMillan, Chapters 7 - 10
Discussion 4
Discuss experimental and non-experimental research designs and how experimental designs can be used to prove causality.  Why is it difficult to use experimental designs in educational settings?  Give 2 reasons.
Dropbox Assignment 3
Submit two more article reviews, following the same format.
McMillan, Chapters 11-12
Discussion 5
Discuss which type of research design you are considering for your proposal and why this would fit your research question.  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different designs based upon the subject you propose to research and the setting?
Dropbox Assignment 4
Submit a rough draft of your research problem, research question(s) and hypothesis statement(s) for feedback. These must be written in the format used in the sample paper in the Content section.
McMillan, Chapters 13-14
Discussion 6
What types of subjects would be interesting for you to use for an action research project in your class/ place of work?  How would you set up your research design for this project?
Dropbox Assignment 5: Rough Draft

Submit a draft of your Literature Review/ Proposed Research Study. The rough draftmust include at least:

  1. Title page
  2. Chapter 1 (partially written)
  3. Chapter 2: at least the four article reviews already written and submitted for feedback/grading
  4. Chapter 3: the research problem, research question, and (if needed) the hypothesis statement from Week 5. Additionally, you will need to have at least the outline of your proposed study written, using the four sections indicated in the sample paper in the Content section of the course.
  5. Reference page, with at least the four articles you have already reviewed

All parts must use correct APA formatting. If all of the parts are not included in the rough draft when submitted, no grade will be given and the paper will be returned to you. After that, the resubmission will have at least a 20% penalty given.

The final paper must include complete information in all required sections of the paper. Failure to include all required parts (including less than the required six article reviews in Chapter 2) will result in an automatic deduction of 50 of the possible 150 points on the paper, as it will be considered incomplete.

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.

McMillan, Chapter 2

Review the resources listed in the Content area for more information about professional ethical requirements for research studies and past abuses of ethical principles.

Discussion 7
Discuss historical issues related to ethics in research and the types of safeguards currently in place to prevent abuse of research participants.  Do you think that these safeguards are effective to prevent abuse of participants?
Dropbox Assignment 6: Final Literature Review and Proposed Research Study
Submit your final literature review and proposed research study.  Be sure to respond to the feedback given by the instructor on the rough draft.
Discussion 8
Discuss what you learned from this course and how you will use the information in the future.
Discussion 9
Post a synopsis of your research findings and the basic structure of your proposed study via an attachment to the discussion board.  There is no set format for this assignment.  It is just to share what you have learned with your fellow students.  It is submitted in the Discussions section instead of the Dropbox so other students can access the information. 

  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.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

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

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

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.

Late assignments will be accepted with instructor approval up to three (3) days past the due date for the dropbox assignment, but a 20% penalty will be imposed without prior approval from the instructor.  It is important that submissions are made timely, as feedback from the instructor is critical before submission of your next assignment. 

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 Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. 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.