Fall 2019 - EDUC 864 G032

Research Designs in Education (5)

Class Number: 8674

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Instructor:

    Michelle Pidgeon
    Ph 778.782.8609 | Fx 778.782.7485 | Skype pidgy604
    Office: SRY 5216
    Office Hours: By appointment



Designing and interpreting research about education. Introduction to survey techniques, correlational designs, classic experimental and evaluation designs for investigating causal relations, case study methods, interpretive approaches to research. Students with credit for EDUC 814 may not take this course for further credit. Equivalent Courses: EDUC814


Meeting Times:

Fridays, 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Saturdays, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Meeting Dates:

September 20/21
October 4/5, 25/26
November 8/9, 22/23

Meeting Location:

SFU Surrey Campus, Room 3270.

Course Rationale:

Research surrounds us on a daily basis, yet, we rarely take the time to question how the research is being presented, what informed the design, was it a “good” study, and how relevant are the findings? More importantly, how can we effectively use research in our own practice?

The purpose of this course is to further develop our understandings of the fundamental elements, concepts, and tools of various research approaches (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods). We will reflect on how our understandings of the world connect to our own experiences and to larger societal issues present in educational settings, and engage the intersections between research, theory, and practice as future researchers. In this course we will critically explore research design from having a “big idea” to forming a research question, articulating the appropriate research method, all the way to elements of the research design and the project itself. Therefore, the goals of this course will be three-fold: knowledge acquisition, self-reflection, and application to practice. We will explore questions such as:  How are we informed by research; how do we understand research; and more importantly,
how can we use research, as research practitioners and leaders, to inform our practice? In this course we will explore how we support and engage those with whom we work (e.g., colleagues, administration, students, parents, provincial organizations and Ministry of Education) within the broader educational, professional, and societal experiences by connecting theory, research, and praxis.

Course Description:

This course is designed to help students design and interpret research about education. It serves as an introduction to research methods, including qualitative and quantitative research designs. Basic descriptive and correlation statistics are covered and the research process is emphasized.



  1. Develop your understanding of tenants, strengths, and limitations of various research paradigms.
  2. Gain an appreciation for and insight into the concepts of research skills and approaches across the educational and professional sectors.
  3. Understand the principles of ethical research.
  1. To develop an awareness of your personal understandings and professional practice of research.
  2. To share and contrast your understandings of research (as per course readings and discussions) with colleagues through in-class and online discussions, reflections, and other course related activities.
  3. To reflect on areas of strengths and weaknesses of research design.
Application to practice:
  1. To apply research design in your practice as an educational leader in a collaborative context with your peers within the cohort.
  2. To construct a useful set of research frameworks designed to assist you in confronting complex issues through research.
  3. To develop research project that considers methodological approaches (strengths/limitations) and ethical considerations specific to the research project.


  • In-class and online participation 20%
  • Team In-Class Presentation 20%
  • Research Activities Portfolio 20%
  • Individual Research Proposal & Presentation 40%


*Subject to Change: Course assignments, due dates, and grading structure will be finalized our first weekend together.

Graduate General Regulations 1.5.1 Normal Grading System:

A+ 4.33 points
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67

(Normally, graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00)



O’Leary, Z. (2017). The essential guide to doing your research project (2nd ed.). London: SAGE Publications.
ISBN: 978-1-4462-5897-2

Salkind, N. J. (2015). Excel statistics. A quick guide. 3rd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
NOTE: If you have an earlier of this text that is good too!
ISBN: 978-4833-7404-8


American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th Edition).
(strongly recommend this text to help with your academic writing)
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0561-5

Boudah, D. (2011). Conducting educational research: Guide to completing a major project. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
ISBN: 978-1-4129-7902-3

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson Education.
Note: this book is available as an e-textbook (at reduced cost):
ISBN-10 0-13-261509-6 or ISBN-13 978-0-13-261509-9;
or Print ISBN-13 978-0-13-136739-5
ISBN: 978-0-13-261509-9

Salkind, N. J. (2016). Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. 6th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
NOTE: earlier editions of this text are good too!
ISBN: 978-1506333830

** Additional readings will be made available online through the course site on CANVAS (https://canvas.sfu.ca).

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html