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Effective Research Methods for Any Project

Learn practical and proven research techniques you can use in both your professional and personal life.
Effective Research Methods for Any Project is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 19.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Effective Research Methods for Any Project I love the way Amanda explain things and her enthusiasm. Great job Amanda.
Date published: 2022-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent critical thinking logic research I had courses like this in school-correlation causation logic research-propaganda misleading facts deception deceit half truths scientific american had a whole issue using these terms-
Date published: 2022-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am very pleased with the lecture material. Clearly presented and the study guide is very helpful as well. I took an undergraduate course and I needed a better understand t- test and z-tests. I now have a good understanding due to the clarity of the lecture. Thanks!
Date published: 2021-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful This course helped me understand the basis and how to construct my research project using every-day language so define the terms I need to understand to move forward with my studies.
Date published: 2021-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough and interesting I liked this a lot. I'm a professional librarian but you learn most of this on the job, not in grad school. Having this background information is really valuable to take to my conversations and consultations with researchers.
Date published: 2021-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect For Anybody Thinking About A Project Really well done. I'm getting ready to launch a series of research projects, and this was, quite literally, exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you Dr. Rosen :) This course helped me reassess my hypotheses; even the way I structured them grammatically. I now have a much better understanding and plan for each of my next three studies. I didn't even know what an IRB was until I took this course. I mean, how bad would that have been? *Fhew* I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2020-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Achieve Your Best Outstanding advice for anyone in any field of endeavor how to prepare, write, and deliver their research work
Date published: 2020-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Mayo Clinic Diet Interesting and expert instructors make the depth of science and practical advice enjoyable and inspiring. Light years better than reading a book.
Date published: 2020-07-03
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Any good research rests upon, above all else, method. This brilliantly conceived course gives you a deep, detailed, and practical guide to proper research methods. As groundwork, you'll grasp the features of good research and what defines it. You'll then study research methodology, from the classic experiment to surveys, case studies, field research, and more. Finally, you'll learn to analyze your data and communicate your findings.


Amanda M. Rosen

To have confidence that your information is accurate, you need to understand how it was obtained, or how to obtain it properly yourself.


Webster University

Amanda M. Rosen is an Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations and a fellow in the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Webster University, where she regularly teaches research methods at both undergraduate and graduate levels. She holds a BA in Political and Economic Studies of Europe from Duke University as well as an MA and a PhD in Political Science from The Ohio State University. Dr. Rosen’s research specialization is the scholarship of teaching and learning, with particular focus on games and simulations, experiential learning, human rights education, and transparent teaching. She also works on climate change policy making, issues of human security, and international human rights of marriage and the family. Dr. Rosen’s work can be found in the Journal of Political Science Education; PS: Political Science & Politics; International Studies Perspectives; and Politics & Policy. She is also a cofounder of the Active Learning in Political Science blog. Dr. Rosen has been recognized with numerous teaching awards, including the International Studies Association’s Deborah Gerner Innovative Teaching Award, the William T. Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence, and the CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation. She has led numerous workshops on teaching and pedagogy at conferences and universities and serves as the vice president and program chair for the International Studies Association’s International Education section.

By This Professor

Effective Research Methods for Any Project
Effective Research Methods for Any Project


Why Research Methods Matter

01: Why Research Methods Matter

Begin by considering the fundamental purposes of research. Grasp the nature of research as systematic study to understand or explain the world. Learn important distinctions in research, starting with the notions of basic research vs. applied research. Then define exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research, and their implications, and examine the six steps of the scientific method.

32 min
Characteristics of Good Research

02: Characteristics of Good Research

Take a thorough look at what distinguishes sound research from unsound research. Study important criteria for good research, useful both for evaluating the research of others and for structuring our own, noting how good research is systematic, objective, empirical, cumulative, and transparent. Also learn in detail how to spot poor research, and about potential pitfalls for researchers.

30 min
Doing Research Ethically

03: Doing Research Ethically

Assess the range of ethical considerations—codes, norms, and principles—that apply to doing research. Look first at the history of ethical violations, and regulations that now exist to govern research. Then review three key principles of ethical research. Delve into the matters of personal ethics in research, ethical review boards, and the process of obtaining consent for research.

28 min
From Topic of Interest to Research Question

04: From Topic of Interest to Research Question

Most research starts with an underlying topic. Examine different ways to select a topic for your research, and practice an exercise for topic selection. Note how it is vital to develop a compelling research question to focus your project, and how good research questions are “unanswered,” appropriate in scope, and empirical. Finally, study five tips for creating good research questions.

32 min
What’s Already Known? The Literature Review

05: What’s Already Known? The Literature Review

Here, discover why a literature review—a study of the scholarly literature related to your topic—is an essential first step in the research process. Take account of the many benefits that a literature review provides, and the dangers of skipping this step. Grasp how to find the scholarly sources you need, how to identify the core findings in the literature, and how to write your findings up.

30 min
Generating Hypotheses and Theories

06: Generating Hypotheses and Theories

Learn how theories drive research, when they’re needed, and how to develop a theory, looking first at the literature. Then see how hypotheses function as testable statements that suggest an answer to your research question, and how theory and hypothesis closely intersect. Study four rules for writing a good hypothesis, and work with templates for writing hypotheses that follow these rules.

34 min
Selecting a Research Design

07: Selecting a Research Design

This lecture explores a range of approaches to research design, and how to choose one that is best for your project. First, examine both quantitative and qualitative research methods, from experiments and surveys to case studies and field research. Then study key considerations for research design, and see how different kinds of research questions lend themselves to specific methodologies.

30 min
Measuring Concepts and Phenomena

08: Measuring Concepts and Phenomena

Grasp how sound research rests on the ability to measure the variables within your research study. Learn how to conceptually define your variables of interest, and how to “operationalize” and measure your variables prior to data collection. Look at four main levels of measurement, the need for precise data, and the importance of reliability and validity in your measurements.

32 min
Choosing Populations, Samples, and Cases

09: Choosing Populations, Samples, and Cases

For your research design, investigate the population of cases or data points that apply to your project, and the sample or subset of this population that you will actually study. Delve into key issues in sampling, and learn to define the size of the sample you need. Finally, see how to determine which cases make it into your sample, and review two broad approaches to sampling.

30 min
The Classic Experiment

10: The Classic Experiment

Look deeply into the procedure of the classic or “true” experiment, the hallmark of good scientific research. Study the four requirements or features of a true experiment, and consider the two types of validity that apply to experiments: internal validity and external validity. Then, review the three most common designs for a true experiment, and how they function in practice.

31 min
The Value of Quasi Experiments

11: The Value of Quasi Experiments

Refine your understanding of the classic experiment by studying alternative research designs that are closely related. Observe the example of an impactful research study that did not fulfill the full requirements of a true experiment. Dig into the broad category of quasi-experimental designs which, though they fall short of the classic experiment, can still produce very valuable research.

30 min
Designing and Conducting a Survey

12: Designing and Conducting a Survey

In the first of two lectures on surveys, observe how surveys are used to find out about peoples’ opinions and behaviors. Look at the various kinds of surveys, which sorts of projects are most suitable for surveys, and evaluate the costs and benefits of different types of surveys. Then learn how to write a survey, highlighting five important principles for creating effective survey questions.

30 min
Understanding Election Polls

13: Understanding Election Polls

Focus now on election polling. First, delineate the critical difference between scientific and unscientific polling, and why scientific polling is much more reliable. Study five rules for good polling, which help us evaluate which polls we can trust. Apply these rules to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and gain insight into why the polling did not match the election results.

32 min
Research by Case Study

14: Research by Case Study

Case studies examine either one or a small number of cases, with the goal of in-depth understanding of their complexities. Take account of the wide range of uses of case studies in research, and when a case study is a good choice. Learn how case studies make use of multiple types and sources of data, and consider five categories of cases that lend themselves to the case study approach.

29 min
Interpretivism and Field Research

15: Interpretivism and Field Research

Learn how the “interpretivist” approach to research differs substantially from the “positivist” approach we’ve studied so far, highlighting subjective interpretation as opposed to positivism’s search for objective, rational truths. See how the interpretivist approach is applied to field research, and delve into the use of interviews and observation as methods of gathering qualitative data.

29 min
Applied, Evaluative, and Action Research

16: Applied, Evaluative, and Action Research

Explore “applied” research, which aims at applying knowledge to problem-solving. First study evaluation research, typically used to evaluate actions or programs in business and government. Then learn about action research, which seeks collaborative solutions to real-world problems, and how to do it. Look also at market and product research, used to determine what consumers want.

28 min
Gathering and Preparing Data

17: Gathering and Preparing Data

Take stock of the kinds of data we’ve looked at, such as data from experiments, interviews, surveys, observation, and the written record. Learn how to put your data into a practical format—most often, using a spreadsheet. Then study coding, the process of transforming raw data into usable categories. Then, look at data analysis programs you can use to help process and analyze your data.

30 min
Using Statistics to Interpret Data

18: Using Statistics to Interpret Data

Descriptive statistics are simple calculations that help us describe and understand our data. Learn how to use the three calculations of central tendency, which shows us the middle or center of our data, variation, showing how much variation there is in the data, and frequency, which shows how frequently each value appears. Note how the use of “z scores” gives further insights into your data.

31 min
Statistical Inferences from Data

19: Statistical Inferences from Data

Inferential statistics allows us to make inferences and draw conclusions from our data. Begin by studying some key principles for interpreting the implications of your findings. Then review three tests that researchers use to analyze their data and get answers: “Z tests,” “T tests,” and the ANOVA test, which are commonly used to compare statistical differences between groups.

29 min
Assessing Correlation and Causation

20: Assessing Correlation and Causation

For your data analysis, study correlation, the relationship or association between two or more variables, and causation, the idea that a change in one variable causes a change in another. Learn how to identify whether a correlation exists between your variables, and to distinguish the form and strength of that relationship. Note that establishing correlation does not establish causation.

31 min
From Bivariate to Multivariate Analysis

21: From Bivariate to Multivariate Analysis

In this final lesson on quantitative analysis, study three important analytic tools: cross-tabulation tables, which allow us to visually examine the relationship between two variables; chi-squared values, which indicate how likely it is that any pattern or relationship we observe is due to chance; and linear regression, useful in establishing whether one factor or variable causes another.

31 min
Foundations of Qualitative Analysis

22: Foundations of Qualitative Analysis

Begin your study of qualitative methods by noting the differences between quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis, which usually involves identifying patterns and meaning in texts. Explore different scenarios where you may want to use a qualitative approach. Then study one overall, basic approach to qualitative analysis, and see how this approach works in practice.

31 min
Qualitative Analysis Variations

23: Qualitative Analysis Variations

Observe how qualitative analysis is less linear than quantitative approaches, and can involve a re-ordering of the steps in the research process. Review several additional qualitative methods, from “grounded theory,” which looks at the implications of core concepts embedded in data, to methods used to interpret texts, conversations, personal narratives, policy, and decision-making.

29 min
The Art of Presenting Your Findings

24: The Art of Presenting Your Findings

As a final step in the research process, review the range of different approaches to sharing and communicating your findings, from formal to less formal. Take a detailed look at the structure and contents of a formal research report presenting your results, as well as the matters of peer review and the assessment of your work. Conclude with thoughts on the nature and goals of research.

32 min