Spring 2022 - EDUC 864 G001

Research Designs in Education (5)

Class Number: 1734

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 4:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    SRYC 3280, Surrey



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 research design in educational contexts, this course will enable students use and critique the research of others, as well as design and conduct simple research of their own. 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. Most research examples provided have been chosen to support the interests and needs of students within the Educational Technology and Learning Design program. The implications of positivist, interpretative and integrative orientations for research design will be discussed. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods will be reviewed.


  • Research purposes and questions
  • The role of literature review in the research process
  • Research relationships, including:
    • Ethics
    • Self research
    • Community research
  • Research approaches, methods and strategies within four broad categories:
    • Interventions (e.g. design-based reserach, experiments, usability studies)
    • Close-up studies (e.g. case-study, ethnography)
    • Large-scale studies (e.g. survey studies, large corpuses of computer trace data)
    • Program evaluation

Each student will work on a project to evaluate and/or design research related to an area of personal interest. This project will be broken down into four parts:

  • Milestone 1: Identify a topic of interest and an initial seed article
  • Milestone 2: Conduct and report on a literature search related to the topic to find 10-12 sources related to it
  • Milestone 3: Produce annotations for three of the sources found and use the feedback to produce an annotated bibliography
  • Final paper: Craft either a literature analysis or a study design informed by the literature reviewed; include the annotated bibliography of the 10-12 sources as an appendix

Live class sessions are devoted to exploring course topics and practice with research methods. Assigned readings will be discussed, core ideas expanding beyond or connecting between the readings will be provided and some sessions will involve guest speakers. For some weeks, students will submit short reading responses before class to inform discussion. Threaded throughout the term, the class will work on simple means of data collection, analysis and display together during class time. Students will collaboratively design three data collection tools: A questionnaire, an interview guide and an observation protocol. They will collect data from each other and use that data to practice simple ways of managing, analyzing and displaying data, including descriptive statistics and analysis of open-ended written responses. This work will be done almost entirely during the live class.


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

  1. Explain the range of purposes and uses of research in educational settings and how they relate to choices among research approaches and methods.
  2. Identify the complex relationships between researchers, research participants and the phenomena studied, how these shape research design and inform ethical practice.
  3. Explain differences among a variety of approaches to educational research based on their assumptions, purposes, relational stances and typical methods/procedures.
  4. Identify the possibilities and limitations of different research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, in the service of particular research goals and purposes.
  5. Critique research: Critically evaluate studies that employ different research models and methods on topics relating to educational technology and learning design.
  6. Use research: Identify, interpret, and analyze the existing research literature on an issue/topic of personal interest.
  7. Design research: Craft a simple research plan related to that issue/topic of personal interest.
  8. Do research: 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).


  • Reading responses 10%
  • In-class practice of simple instrument design and data analysis 10%
  • Peer review of a classmate’s project paper 20%
  • Semester long project 60%



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: 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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.