UTD EPPS 6342 - EPPS 6342 SYLLABUS (17 pages)

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EPPS 6342 SYLLABUS



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EPPS 6342 SYLLABUS

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Pages:
17
School:
The University of Texas at Dallas
Course:
Epps 6342 - Research Design II
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RESEARCH DESIGN II Instructor D A Hicks Fall 2007 Tuesday 4 00 6 45 PM dahicks utdallas edu Office GR 3 804 Vox 972 883 2733 Email INTRODUCTION AND COURSE OBJECTIVES I n the interplay between design and statistics design rules Shadish et al 2002 xvi The principal task of all science is to explain The framework for explanation is the cause and effect sequence The science part of social science indicates our dependence on replicable methods as the means of isolating causal sequences from other influences We cannot use science to prove something The most we can ever do is gradually strengthen our confidence in the validity of a causal sequence by eliminating possible alternative explanations We accomplish this by repeated testing Testing involves introducing controls for alternative explanations suggested by theory or intuition And it is this process that social science shares with any and all other sciences Science is an empirical activity the coin of the realm is data We derive understanding from data generally expressed as numbers by developing them in disciplined ways The resulting computations data analysis involve attempts to characterize and summarize sets of data so that we might identify and trace possible causal relationships between measured attributes variables of a sample of units of analysis Inevitably the quality of the science we do depends on both the quality of the concepts and measurements underlying our data and the integrity of the techniques we use to develop them The best known way of controlling holding constant extraneous factors and thereby eliminating alternative explanations involves the use of statistical techniques The field of econometrics illustrates the emphasis and effort that have gone into the development of such techniques As powerful and useful as these techniques can be however they focus only on one stage and a latter one at that of the larger research process Much can be done at prior stages to develop our data in ways that can lessen dramatically our reliance on ex post facto statistical techniques to control unwanted influences The field of research design which we will explore together this semester illustrates the emphasis and effort that have gone into the development of such techniques Research design then emphasizes techniques for organizing a research process to achieve variance control prior to and during data collection and development rather than doing so only after the fact through the use of data analytic statistical techniques This long statement should now be reasonably clear to you The focus of research design is on identifying junctures in the research process at which steps can be taken to help clarify cause effect relationships traced out in complex research settings Research design is all about how to develop and organize data in the 2 first place in ways that can enhance our ability to interpret it later In that sense research design is conceptually prior to statistical analysis The more thoughtful we can be about the quality of the data we develop for subsequent analysis the fewer compromises we have to accept later when selecting and using analysis tools techniques This course has been designed for the graduate student who has had at least one course in research methods and completed both Research Design POEC 5312 and a graduate level course in data analysis S he should be familiar with multiple regression techniques such as Ordinary Least Squares OLS This course is intended to be of value both to those who will go on to conduct their own research in their chosen fields and to those who intend to use evaluate the findings of research conducted by others COURSE READING RESOURCES Course readings will be drawn from a variety of sources In addition to the books listed below a variety of articles and related instructional materials have been posted on the WebCT website You may access WebCT from the UT D Galaxy site http www utdallas edu galaxy In addition each week copies of the PowerPoint presentation files and to be used for the next class will be posted there You will then be asked to provide a User Name and a Password to enter the site Do plan on checking your e mail frequently preferably daily as this will be my primary way of communicating with you between weekly class sessions BF Bingham Richard D and Claire L Felbinger 2002 Evaluation in Practice A Methodological Approach New York Chatham House M Mohr Lawrence B 1995 Impact Analysis for Program Evaluation 2nd Edition Sage University Press Thousand Oaks CA Sage SC2 Shadish William Thomas D Cook and Donald T Campbell Experimental and QuasiExperimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference 2002 Boston Houghton Mifflin T Trochim William 2001 The Research Methods Knowledge Base 2nd Edition Cincinnati Atomic Dog http www atomicdog com Recommended only Tutorials see http www socialresearchmethods net tutorial tutorial htm COURSE ADMINISTRATION AND GRADING If you think you can or you think you can t you re right Attributed to Henry Ford While each session will follow a lecture discussion format I do not want the lecture portion to crowd out discussion While I have a substantial volume of material that I am prepared to cover with you I want to make certain we have time to discuss issues that are of greatest importance to you While details concerning course evaluation criteria will await information on class size and composition each student will be required to develop a comparative design analysis that will become part of your POEC portfolio If you experience a problem or have questions during the course contact me immediately In lieu of posted office hours I am ready to arrange to meet with you at almost any mutually agreeable time Generally I will be available after class for unscheduled meetings although I do not schedule 2 3 appointments during the hour before class In fairness to each of you it is advisable that you first make an appointment with me to be certain that you can have the time with me when you need it Some questions can be handled in a phone conversation Where that is your preference please call my office anytime If I am not there a voice mail system permits you to leave a message for me 24 hours a day 7 days a week I also respond to e mail queries daily I check for messages continuously all through the week including weekends holidays and daily when I am out of town Good luck and enjoy the course TOPICS AND READINGS I Introduction and Overview It is in


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