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Online classes

Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

MSCJ 500: Research Design

Course Description

The study of applied research designs. Data collection methods emphasized are observation and psychometry. Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods are studied, with strong emphasis on results interpretation. Must be taken as a foundational course for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Leedy, P. D. & Ormrod, J. E. (2016). Practical Research: Planning and Design (11th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Publishers.
    • [ISBN-978-0-13-374132-2]

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

Welcome to Research Design (MSCJ 500) online!  Mastering the language and tools of research is fundamental for success in a graduate degree program and in your careers.  Every day we are bombarded with facts and figures and people citing “scientific research” as evidence to support different claims.  As masters of the social sciences, people will look to you for advice on critical issues, or you will be the decider, and have to weigh the evidence and choose appropriate courses of action.Replace this text with your 'Course Overview' text.

This course will help you become critical consumers of research and better decision makers by having this knowledge.  It will take you through the steps of the research process and give you the opportunity to take control of that process to examine and develop your own conclusions, so both you and others can be confident in the results.



Course Objectives

  • To understand applied research designs.
  • To use an applied research design.
  • To employ and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods.
  • To interpret and evaluate qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • To understand evaluation and prediction research.
  • To enhance critical thinking when interpreting and evaluating research studies.
  • To apply basic statistical methods to real world data to evaluate relationships between crime related variables.
  • To understand data collection methods.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the differences between qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods.
  • Distinguish between evaluation and prediction research as they are used in the Criminal Justice system.
  • Describe and evaluate the importance of ethical issues associated with Criminal Justice research.
  • Describe and explain probability sampling.
  • Explain the difference between validity, reliability, and precision in categorization and measurements.
  • Select an appropriate research design to support a current Criminal Justice research question.
  • Explain, evaluate and apply research methodology and design.
  • Complete a research design project to include the development of a research question, hypothesis, variable identification, data source, and analysis method.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
F 0-699 0-69%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion Questions 240 24%
Writing Assignments 150 15%
Midterm Exam 200 20%
Final Exam 200 20%
Research Proposal 210 21%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introductions 0 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 1a: What is Research? 15
Discussion 1b: Find and state your Research Problem 15
Writing Assignment 1: Writing the Proposal 30 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2a: Role of the Literature Review 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 2b: Conducting the Literature Search 15
Writing Assignment 2: Writing a Literature Review 30 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3a: The Role of Data in your Research 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 3b: Validity and Reliability in Research 15
Writing Assignment 3: Judging the Feasibility 30 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4a: Characteristics of a Proposal 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 4b: Weaknesses of a Proposal 15
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5a: Quantitative Research Designs 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 5b: Experimental, Quasi-Experimental, and Ex Post Facto Designs 15
Writing Assignment 4: Analyzing & Interpreting Data in a Quantitative Study 30 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6a: Qualitative Research Designs 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 6b: Historical Research 15
Writing Assignment 5: Planning a Qualitative Study 30 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7a: Mixed Methods Designs 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 7b: When to Use a Mixed Methodology 15
Final Exam 200 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8a: Front Matter & End Matter 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 8b: Tracking your Resources 15
Final Research Proposal 210 Saturday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Readings

Readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments for the week. Information from the readings should be included in your posts when appropriate.

Discussions

Discussion postings are worth 15 points each and should be completed by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday of the assigned week. In order to earn maximum points, you must post and then respond to at least two postings by other students, per question. Assessment of your post is based on how well it is written (spelling, grammar and organization count), how well you are able to support your conclusions with information from the assigned readings and how complete your post is. While your post is due by Wednesday night, your responses are not due until Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. Your responses must add value to the content of the posting and be focused on research as opposed to merely agreeing with what was said.

Writing Assignments

Writing Assignments are each worth 30 points and are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday of the assigned week.


Research Proposal

Submit a proposal for a research project of interest to you and relevant to  criminal justice. Your research proposal is meant to demonstrate your ability to apply the lessons of this course to your advanced studies in criminal justice. This should be an accumulation of all the work done over the entire course. The research proposal is due by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Week 8.


Exams

There will be two exams in this course, the Midterm Exam and the Final Exam. Each exam is to be taken through the Quizzes area of the course by the assigned due date. Both exams will be open book/open note. Each will have a 120-minute time limit with a five-minute grace period.  Answers submitted after that time will not be scored.  Each exam will be activated on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain open until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. of the assigned week. Each exam must be completed and submitted by the due date.

For the Midterm Exam, there are 50 multiple choice questions, each worth four points. The Midterm Exam will consist of questions from chapters one through five and will take place during Week 4. For the Final Exam, there are 50 multiple choice questions, each worth four points. The Final Exam will consist of questions from chapters six through eleven and will take place during Week 7.



Course Outline

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

Week 1: The Fundamentals & Focus of Research
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapters 1 & 2
Introductions

Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic of our class Discussions area, our "virtual classroom." Please include what part of the country (or world) you are from, your profession, interests, and any other information that can help us get to know you.

Discussion 1a: What is Research?

The term “research” is one of the most abused words in the world of academia. We constantly claim to be researching something, but very seldom we are. Using your text as a reference, explain what research is, what the characteristics of research are, and why you think research is so misunderstood.

Discussion 1b: Find and state your Research Problem

Using your knowledge of what research is and the guidelines listed in Chapter 2, find an important criminal justice question that interests you and that can be answered using research as defined in this class. Describe the problem, and state your subsequent research problem. You will be using this research problem throughout the course, so make sure that it is well defined and answerable. And finally, what influenced you to choose this topic?

Writing Assignment 1: Writing the Proposal

Complete the following assignment in no more than two pages.  Using the research problem that you have identified in your discussion question and the Practical Application on page 46 in your text, create the first section of your proposal by answering the first seven associated questions. Format your assignment exactly as stated in your text. Take your time with this assignment. This will act as an outline/ draft for your final paper. Please submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 2: Review of the Related Literature
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapter 3
Discussion 2a: Role of the Literature Review

Research Proposals generally have a section or chapter that describes the theoretical perspectives and previous research findings related to the associated research problem. What role does the literature review play in the planning process of your proposal? Describe at least five specific elements of your research that will benefit from what you learned through your literature review.

Discussion 2b: Conducting the Literature Search

Conducting the literature search for your literature review can be a very frustrating process. Describe the five general resources for locating related literature referred to in your text and describe how you will utilize them in your literature search. Make sure you include the keywords you utilized. Did they return what you expected? And how would you change / improve them?

Writing Assignment 2: Writing a Literature Review

Complete a Literature Review of at least four (4) peer reviewed sources related to your research question. Use the Review of the Literature example on pages 70-73 of your text and make sure that you answer the following questions in narrative format:

  1. What is the research question?

  2. What is the theoretical framework?

  3. Briefly describe the methodology.

  4. Briefly describe the results.

  5. Briefly describe how this research pertains to your research.

Please submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 3: Planning your Research Project
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapter 4
Discussion 3a: The Role of Data in your Research

What is data? Describe what data is in research and the difference between primary and secondary data. Provide specific examples of data that are related to the independent and dependent variable that you included in your research question. Will these data be available through primary or secondary sources? Will they help you to answer your question?

Discussion 3b: Validity and Reliability in Research

Validity and reliability are integral parts of measurement in research. Describe the purpose of both validity and reliability, and explain why a measurement instrument must have both. Link these concepts to your research question and provide specific examples of how you will ensure that the elements of validity and reliability are met?

Writing Assignment 3: Judging the Feasibility

Very often researchers become so excited about their topic they fail to look closely at their topic and determine whether it is feasible to conduct the study. For example, trying to understand the link between childhood poverty and criminal behavior may be beyond the scope of your ability.

Utilizing the checklist on pages 108-110 of your text, determine whether your proposed research project is realistic and practical. Format each of the 14 questions in the same format as presented in the text. Include a short concluding paragraph documenting whether your project is feasible or not.

Please submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 4: Writing the Research Proposal
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapter 5
Discussion 4a: Characteristics of a Proposal

Before you can actually begin to write the narrative of your proposal, you need to understand what constitutes a proposal. Using your text as a reference, explain the characteristics of a proposal. What characteristics do you think are the most important in a proposal and what things do you think the proposal should avoid?   Specifically, how will you address the important characteristics in the proposal that you are writing?

Discussion 4b: Weaknesses of a Proposal

More often than not a research proposal is rejected based on a myriad of reasons. Using your test as a reference, explain the five main weaknesses that a research proposal may experience and provide example of each. As you go through the list, do you feel that your proposal may suffer from any of the weaknesses?

Midterm Exam

The Midterm is to be taken through the Quizzes area of the course. The 50 multiple-choice questions, each worth four points, will consist of questions from Chapters 1 through 5. The exam will be open book/open note and will have a 120-minute time limit with a five-minute grace period. Answers submitted after that time will not be scored. The Midterm will be activated on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain open until Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

Please complete this exam by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 5: Quantitative Research
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapters 6, 7 & 8
Discussion 5a: Quantitative Research Designs

In the realm of quantitative research there are four common research designs: Observations Studies, Correlation Research, Developmental Designs, and Survey Research. Provide a brief description of each as well as the pros and cons of each. Based on your chosen research topic, which of the five research designs would work the best? Why?

Discussion 5b: Experimental, Quasi-Experimental, and Ex Post Facto Designs

Provide a brief description of Experimental, Quasi-Experimental, and Ex Post Facto Designs and explain the pros and cons of each. Based on your chosen research topic, which of the research designs would work the best? Why?

Writing Assignment 4: Analyzing & Interpreting Data in a Quantitative Study

If your research involves quantitative data then you will probably integrate some sort of statistical analysis. You will be able to gain a clearer understanding of your various statistics and statistical procedures by putting them in research reports.

Utilizing the checklist on pages 245-246 of your text, clarify which quantitative statistical analysis will be most appropriate for your study. Answer each of the questions completely and make sure you explain your plan in full detail for question eight.

Please submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 6: Qualitative Research
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapters 9, 10 & 11
Discussion 6a: Qualitative Research Designs

In the realm of qualitative research there are five common research designs: Case Study, Ethnography, Phenomenological Study, Grounded Theory Study, and Content Analysis. Provide a brief description of each as well as the pros and cons of each. Based on your chosen research topic, which of the five research designs would work the best? Why?

Discussion 6b: Historical Research

A large part of research is the locating and utilization of historical data. Once this data is found, the researcher must determine the validity of his or her data based on external and internal evidence. What are external and internal evidence and how do they pertain to your research?

Writing Assignment 5: Planning a Qualitative Study

Very often researchers become so excited about their topic they fail to look at all of the research options available. One may set out to do a quantitative study and refuse to look at any other approach.

Utilizing the checklist on pages 271-272 of your text, determine whether your proposed research project could be studied from a qualitative approach. Answer all 13 questions in the same format as presented in the text. Include a short concluding paragraph documenting whether your project will utilize a qualitative or quantitative methodology.

Please submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. on 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.
Week 7: Mixed-Method Designs
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapter 12
Discussion 7a: Mixed Methods Designs

In the realm of mixed methods research there are five common research designs: Convergent Design, Embedded Design, Exploratory Design, Explanatory Design, and Multiphase Iterative Designs. Provide a brief description of each as well as the pros and cons of each. Based on your chosen research topic, which of the five research designs would work the best? Why?

Discussion 7b: When to Use a Mixed Methodology

Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of qualitative and quantitative research, you may be thinking that a mixed methodology is for you. There are several good reasons to conduct a mixed-methods study. What are some of the reasons to choose a mixed methodology for your research? Based on your chosen research topic, which of the four common mixed methodology research designs would work the best? Why?

Final Exam

The Final Exam is to be taken through the Quizzes area of the course. The 50 multiple-choice questions, each worth four points, will consist of questions from Chapters 6 through 11. The exam will be open book/open note and will have a 120-minute time limit with a five-minute grace period.  Answers submitted after that time will not be scored. The Final Exam will be activated on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain open until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. 

Please complete this exam by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Week 8: Planning & Preparing a Final Research Report
Reading
Leedy & Ormrod: Chapter 13 & Appendixes A and B
Discussion 8a: Front Matter & End Matter

What is the purpose of front matter and end matter? Is it necessary for your proposal? And are there any components of front matter and end matter that APA does not utilize?

Discussion 8b: Tracking your Resources

Tracking your resources is not a required component of research. However, it can make the compilation of your research much easier long term. Using Appendix A as a resource, create an Excel spreadsheet (or something comparable) with five of your resources and post it. Does tracking your resources make it easier to organize your data? Why or why not?

Final Research Proposal

Submit a proposal for a research project of interest to you and relevant to the criminal justice field which addresses the requirements listed below. Your research proposal is meant to demonstrate your ability to apply the lessons of this class to your advanced studies in criminal justice. Below is a summary of the assignment (210 points total):

Front Matter                                                                                (15 points)

Chapter 1 (The Problem, p.45 in text)—4 page minimum                 (60 points)

Chapter 2 (Literature Review, p.67 in text)—10 page minimum        (60 points)

Chapter 3 (Methodology, Quan-Qual-or Mixed)—4 page minimum    (60 points)

End Matter                                                                                  (15 points)

Your Research Proposal is due in the Dropbox by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. Early submissions are accepted and appreciated.



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

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.

Non-Discrimination

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.

There will be a 10% deduction for each 24 hours that an assignment is late ~ up to 48 hours (for example 10% of available points will be subtracted for a paper turned in 1 to 24 hours late, 20% for papers turned in from 25 to 48 hours late). After 48 hours there will be no credit given on assignments. No assignments will be accepted after the close of class on Saturday of Week 8.

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.


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