Effective Research Methods for Any Project

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
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Left leaning examples, but research techniques ok I only got through the first two lectures. The examples she used to prove her points were in themselves fraught with inconsistencies and she neglected to point out how her own biases and assumptions about the studies and data were flawed WHILE using the examples to highlight how to spot biases and assumptions. I found it very brow-beating. I am a doctoral student and wanted to get another angle on research techniques, but I don't think I can take listening to the lecturer to glean nuggets that might be helpful.
Date published: 2020-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Breakfast in Town Way to go, TGC, for producing this course. While highly beneficial for students pursuing advanced degrees and professionals who need to read or conduct/write up their research, it has limited value to the average TGC customer. So for TGC to make this course, thanks. Really liked this course. It’s an outstanding introduction to research basics. Follow through with the 24 lectures and you’ll come away with a solid foundation on effective research methods. But you can’t expect to charge out of the gates right away. Research is something you have to do actively because there is a learning curve to getting it right. It's a hands-on experience. This course gives you the background info, the necessary jargon, and tips for success. Following up on some of the references would pay dividends. Professor Rosen does a wonderful job communicating, and she’s very comfortable and confident in front of a camera. There is some difficult material introduced, but she includes a lot of memorable sidebars and examples that serve to get the point across. Better teachers don’t just unload information Wikipedia style. Regarding some reviews I read, well, they are indeed very telling. They speak for themselves. There’s a reason they’re outliers.
Date published: 2019-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love This Course - worth buying. I had done research in college and definitely at work, but I always had the feeling I wasn't working as well as I could. This course, "Effective Research Methods for Any Project" made me aware that I can now use their methods for Many other activities. I'm retired now, so the grandkids are always pushing to know about various ancestors. I know now I can go through a lot more records (and knowing where to find those out-of-way places where they are kept that I never knew before.) Thank you, The Great Courses!!
Date published: 2019-06-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from It's an extended ad for the Democrat Party In almost every lecture, the author misrepresents current events stories in order to convince her listeners not to vote for the political party she obvious opposes. Research methods is an important topic, but you should look elsewhere for materials that are fair and balanced.
Date published: 2019-06-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not worth it Worthless absolutely a waste of time. Had to return it
Date published: 2019-06-21
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Effective Research Methods for Any Project
Course Trailer
Why Research Methods Matter
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
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.

ALMA MATER

The Ohio State University

INSTITUTION

Webster University

About Amanda M. Rosen

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.

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