Summer 2021 - EDUC 864 G001

Research Designs in Education (5)

Class Number: 1120

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 4:30 PM – 9:20 PM



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


A broad introduction to educational research design, this course will enable students use and critique the research of others, as well as design and conduct simple research of their own. Research models explored will be tailored to the interests and needs of the students, but will sample among those with positivist, interpretative and integrative orientations. Students will learn to conduct sound literature reviews, practice developing reliable, valid and ethical research tools and processes, and work together on simple data analysis. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods will be covered. Designed for the Equity Studies program, this offering of EDUC 864 will foreground a critical perspective and showcase research exemplars relevant to the exploration of equity in education settings.

The first four weeks will focus on an overview of the purposes, relationships, models and methods of educational research. In the following weeks, a subset of models of educational research will be explored in some depth, anchored in specific examples of each model. Readings and multi-media materials related to the models and related methods will be assigned. These will be discussed online and then those ideas deepened in the live class section. Students should plan to spend 6-10 hours per week outside the live Zoom sessions reading/watching/listening to assigned materials, participating in online discussion and working on their semester-long project.

Semester-long lesson plan project

Each student will work on a course long project related to the evaluation and design of research related to an area of personal interest. This project will be broken down into five milestones:

  1. Identify a topic of interest and an initial seed article
  2. Conduct an initial article search and provide annotations for articles found
  3. Revise and extend the article search and draft analysis of the literature found
  4. Draft the outline of a study in the same area of interest
  5. Submit a final version of the study design and analysis of literature combined
Weekly live Zoom sessions

The class will meet for 2 to 2.5 hours each week during the scheduled course time. Threaded throughout the term, the class will work on simple means of data collection, analysis and display together. The class will collaboratively design three data collection tools: A questionnaire, an interview guide and an observation protocol. In addition, students will all complete a questionnaire at the beginning of the term. The resulting data will be used to provide practice with simple ways of managing, analyzing and displaying data, including descriptive statistics and analysis of open-ended written responses. Most of this work will be done during the live class.


At the end of this course students will be able to:

Knowledge outcomes

  • Explain the range of purposes and uses of research in educational settings and how they relate to choices among research models and methods.
  • Identify the complex relationships between researchers and research participants, how these shape research design and inform ethical practice.
  • Explain differences among a variety of models of educational research based on their assumptions, purposes, relational stances and typical methods/procedures.
  • Identify the possibilities and limitations of different research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, in the service of particular research goals and purposes.

Proficiency outcomes

  • Critique: Critically evaluate studies that employ different research models and methods on topics relating to equity in instructional settings.
  • Use: Identify, interpret, and apply the existing research literature on an issue/ topic of personal interest.
  • Design: Craft a simple research plan related to that issue/topic of personal interest.
  • Do: Design and implement simple data collection and analysis procedures (e.g. questionnaire design, journal keeping, descriptive statistics, simple emergent and a priori coding of qualitative data).


  • Online discussion of research models and examples 20%
  • In-class practice of simple instrument design and data analysis 10%
  • Semester long project 60%
  • Peer review of a classmate’s draft project work 10%



Students should have access to a desktop, laptop or tablet computer and a fast enough internet connection to download and upload course files, assignments and assessments on Canvas. Some of these files may include video, but nothing larger a half-hour Hollywood-quality TV show.


All required readings will be provided for download on Canvas.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: 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 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).