PAUS 8131
Professor Gregory Streib
Room CS 210
Wednesday 4:30-7
Course Number 13837

 

APPLIED RESEARCH METHODS AND STATISTICS, PART TWO

 

This is an advanced course dealing with the application of social science research techniques to management and policy issues.  It builds upon the research skills learned in public administration 8121. Students will learn how to conduct research, continue their study of statistics, and develop their own research proposal.  You must complete PAUS 8121 before taking this class.

 

 
TEXTBOOKS:

Neil J. Salkind. Statistics for People Who Think They Hate Statistics, 2nd edition (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA 2004),  ISBN: 076192776X.

Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, 10th edition (Wadsworth, 2004), ISBN: 0534620280.

Both of these books should be available in the university bookstore. Notify your instructor immediately, if you have problems getting either of these books.

 

RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE:

We will be using SPSS, version 11.0 for Windows, and you will be able to use this software in the GSU computer labs. You can also purchase a student version of this software for use at home or at work. This is Windows software, and it is highly recommended for students with the appropriate equipment. Look for the Student Version of the SPSS 11.0 software, which is sold by Prentice Hall  (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1999), ISBN 0-13-028040-2.   Students Using Windows XP should purchase version 11.0 of the SPSS Student Version.

 

OFFICE HOURS:

Your instructor will hold formal office hours from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on Wednesday and  Friday in Urban Life 1264.  Meetings can also be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.  Your instructor will also be answering questions via telephone during office hours. You can reach your instructor by telephone at (404) 651-4448. Voice mail is activated after five rings. Electronic mail can be sent via the Internet to gstreib@gsu.edu. Fax messages can be sent to (404)651-1378.      

 

FINDING CLASS MATERIALS ON THE WEB:

The course home page can be found at the following location: vista.gsu.edu

 

This site contains links to class materials and a variety of communication tools.  There are required class materials in different electronic formats, and there are also some additional reading materials that should be considered optional.  Some files are quite large.  As a general rule, an effort has been made to keep the required files as small as possible.  The largest files are labeled as large.  It is a good idea to check the file labels if you have a slow Internet connection. The Explorer browser (version 6.0) is required for this course.  This browser optimizes all class materials.

 

These course facilities are not to be used for personal vendettas, personal advertising, or for political or consumer marketing of any kind.  Such uses can result in dismissal from this course.

 

 

 

ON-LINE CLASSES

 

This course features a number of on-line classes.  These classes teach you to use on-line meeting software, and students tend to appreciate a night away from the GSU classrooms.  Advance preparations are needed, however.  You do need access to a computer with an Internet connection, of course, and you will also need a microphone.  You will receive information about the online classes via GSU Email, so do not delete any mail about Elluminate or vClasses.  You can learn more by clicking here.

 

 
CLASS ASSIGNMENTS:

Students in this course must complete two computer assignments and several assignments related to the completion of a research proposal.  All of these assignments should be submitted electronically from the class home page.  Click on the assignments icon.  Sorry, but assignments sent by Email will not be accepted.  MS Word is the preferred format.  The class assignments are discussed in greater detail below:

 

bullet Project Memo and Outline: Students in this course are responsible for developing a proposal for a research project that could help to answer a research question related to an organizational policy, program, or problem; a social problem or issue; or a proposed or existing public policy.  Early in the course, students must provide their instructor with a project memo.  This memo should articulate a clearly defined research question, explain the importance of the proposed project, and provide a short outline.  The goal of this memo is to make a case for the project--to establish it as a worthwhile activity.

Students must stick with the project described in the memo. The completed project memo and outline should be 2-4 pages in length.

 

bullet Project Bibliography: Students are expected to perform a thorough review of previous and/or related research as a part of their proposal preparations. A preliminary bibliography must be submitted early in the course. Students must use the sources they have identified to complete their proposals. A completed project bibliography should include at least 10 usable sources. No more than 4 of these sources can be books or web pages. The bulk of your citations should be from peer-reviewed research journals. The bibliography should include annotations on each source, explaining its value to the project.  The bibliography should address the importance of the topic as well as the research methodology.

 

bullet Completed Research Proposal:  Students are expected to provide a thorough description of the study that they propose.  Some information about the topic is appropriate, but the main goal in this proposal is to explain and defend your research method.  Donít get off track.  You must provide a very detailed description of exactly how your proposed research project would work. This paper should contain considerably more detail than your project memo.  References to previous research are expected, but a detailed literature review is not required. Use references to previous research that helps you to make a clear case for the both the value and feasibility of your research project.  The completed research proposal should be about 8-10 pages in length (not counting references, survey instruments, or other additional materials).

 

bullet Statistical Exercises: There are four graded statistical exercises in this course.  They will give you the opportunity to practice the statistical tools that we study in class. These assignments will require the use of SPSS software. Students should be well acquainted with the software from their work in PAUS 8121. 

 

 

POLICY ON LATE ASSIGNMENTS:

 

There is a substantial penalty for late assignments.  The grade on any assignment turned in after the deadline will be reduced one half of a letter grade.  There will be another half letter grade reduction for assignments turned in more than 24 hours late.  Assignments more than 48 hours late will be reduced a second full letter grade.  Assignments will not be accepted when they are more than three days late.

 

TIPS FOR COMPLETING YOUR PROPOSAL:

The proposal you will do in PAUS 8131 is probably quite different from the research papers that you have done in the  past. The goal here is to seek out an answer to a research question that has not been answered before. Most papers require you to collect and organize the ideas of others.  This is how you will begin your 8131 paper, but the bulk of your work should focus on your efforts to effectively answer a question that others have not addressed. 

Your final product should offer considerable detail about your proposed research project.  Readers should understand why your proposed study is needed and how it would be carried out.  You should discuss how data will be collected and how it will be analyzed. Specific techniques should be mentioned and their use should be clearly described.  Effective proposals always draw upon previous studies, and you should make an effort to show what you have learned from the work of others.  If a survey is planned, a draft of the instrument should be included in an appendix of the proposal.

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a project consistent with their educational and career goals. Many previous students have used this paper as a stepping stone to career advancement. The most successful students have gone into the community to seek out a meaningful project, or they have sought advice from an influential supervisor.

  

QUALITY EXPECTATIONS FOR WRITTEN WORK:

All materials in this class are expected to meet a very high standard, including the computer assignments. Ideally, all materials will be prepared using some type of a word-processing program. The follow standards should be observed at all times:

All arguments should be carefully presented and clearly articulated.

Grammar and spelling errors should be minimal.

Any tables or graphics must be free of distortion. 

The style of presentation of quoted materials, bulleted information, footnotes, etc., should conform to commonly accepted editorial standards.

Any facts or ideas used from other sources should be properly cited.

Every paper should include your a title, your name, the date, and page numbers.

 
GET SOME COMPUTER DISKS:

Given the nature of this course, students would be wise to purchase a box of computer disks. It would be a good idea to always bring at least one disk to class. 

 

THE GSU COMPUTER LABS:

The GSU labs are state-of-the-art facilities which allow students to connect to the Internet, access mainframe computers, use SPSS and other software, and print a number of different types of output. Each lab has its own hours, and there are some rules to master. Take the time to get acquainted with these facilities. You should be totally comfortable with the lab well before any assignments are due. For additional information, call 651-2686, or check out the web link. Please notify your instructor immediately if you run into any problems when using the labs.

You should also know that we have a small departmental lab on the 12th floor of the Urban Life Building. You instructor can tell you when this will be open.

 

FINDING CLASS MATERIALS IN THE COMPUTER LABS:

All statistics lectures will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint slides are available on the class home page.  They can also be accessed in the GSU labs. They are saved in the following directory:

                                                                

  F:\PUBLIC\CLASSES\PAUS\STREIB

 

The slides are designed for the Office XP version of PowerPoint. Course handouts will be provided in Adobe Acrobat format. You will be able to access all course materials by using Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 6.0 or later and the Adobe Acrobat reader.  Both of these products are available for free. 

 

GRADING POLICY:

Final course grades will be determined as follows:

Project Memo and Outline

150 Points

Project Bibliography

150 Points

Completed Proposal

250 Points

First Three Statistical Exercises

300 Points

Final Statistical Exercise

150 Points

Total Possible Points

1000 Points

 

Students must earn 900+ points to receive a grade of "A," 800+ points to earn a "B," and 700+ points to earn a grade of "C". Incomplete grades will not be given without advance arrangements.   In this class, a B is the expected grade for good, competent work.  Grades in the A range are reserved for excellent work.  Excellent work goes beyond the minimum in some important way.

You will be able to check your scores on the class home page.  Grades will be presented on a 100 point scale, so that you can better evaluate your performance.  If you wish to total your points on your own, multiply your project memo and outline by 1.5, your bibliography by 1.5, your proposal score by 2.5, and your final statistical assignment by 1.5.  The point total is also available on the home page.  This is the total number of points you have earned, out of 1000.

You can expect to receive grades within 48 hours of the assignment due date.  All assignments submitted in this class receive comments.  You can view your comments by returning to the assignment page on WebCT.

 

PLAGIARISM OR CHEATING:

 

Students plagiarizing or cheating in any form will face disciplinary action that could result in receiving an ďFĒ in this course, or suspension or expulsion from the University.  If a student is ever unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism or cheating regarding work on written or oral presentations, please consult the student handbook and/or consult your instructor.  It is the studentís responsibility to know the meaning of plagiarism and when it occurs.  The following is reprinted from the GSU Student Handbook: 

 

Plagiarism is presenting another personís work as oneís own.  Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgement, including the summarizing of another studentís work as oneís own.  Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else.  The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the faculty member.  Failure to indicate the extent and nature of oneís reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism.  It is also plagiarism to reuse material you prepared for different courses in the same program.  The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility.

 

Students are expected to do their own work in this course.  Most assignments are not group projects.  Unauthorized collaboration is a violation of university and departmental policies.  Possible violations include having other students read your paper and giving you detailed instructions on how to get a better grade, hiring a professional editor, or having a friend or colleague help you to complete your Web page assignment.  A good grade in this class indicates that you are able to do the work in this class without the assistance of others.

 

THE COURSE OUTLINE

 


 

MODULE ONE: Doing Research, Basic Concepts, and Getting A Research Proposal Project Started

 


 

COURSE INTRODUCTION (January 14)

We will review the course syllabus and discuss the course requirements.  Later in the class, we will divide the class into groups to discuss topic ideas for the research design paper.  Each group will have a private bulletin board on the class home page, so that they can continue their discussions after the class has ended. 

 

BASIC CONCEPTS, PART ONE (January 21)

We will examine some basic research design concepts and learn how to develop a research project. We will also expand upon the discussions of measurement that were begun in PAUS 8121.  Read Chapter 5 in The Practice of Social Research.  Your instructor will provide two additional readings, which you will find with the materials on the WebCT home page.  You can practice submitting an assignment after class this evening.  This is a good idea, even if you have used WebCT in the past.  The process is somewhat different in WebCT Vista.

 

CLASS DISCUSSION OF PROPOSAL IDEAS (January 28)

We will return to the groups created in our first class.  Later in the class, each group will be asked to present and defend three research ideas. 

 

BASIC CONCEPTS, PART TWO (Possible On-Line Class, February 4)

We will look at how to operationalize the types of concepts used in social research and study the logic of sampling. Read Chapters 4 and 7 in The Practice of Social Research. The project memo and outline is due at 12 noon on February 8th.

 


 

MODULE TWO: Different Ways to Do Research and Nailing Down a Research Design

 


 

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS AND SURVEY RESEARCH (February 11) 

Read Chapters 8 and 9 in The Practice of Social Research, and review Part V in the Salkind book.

 

FIELD RESEARCH AND EVALUATION RESEARCH (Possible On-Line Class, February 18)

We learn some basic approaches for field research and program evaluation. Read chapters 10 and 12 in The Practice of Social Research. The project bibliography is due at 12 noon on February 22nd.

 

NO REGULAR CLASS SESSION, RESEARCH DESIGN HELP AVAILABLE (February 25)

Use this time to complete work on your research design.  Your instructor will be available tonight in his office to help students with their project questions.  You can also use this time for library research.

 

CLASS DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH DESIGNS (March 3)

Each student must post a short summary of the research design portion of their research proposal on a special class bulletin board by 5:00pm on March 1st.  Everyone is responsible for reviewing these posts prior to class.  Each design will be discussed during our class session.  The completed research proposal is due at 12 noon on March 7th.

 


 

MODULE THREE:  More Ways to Use Inferential Statistics

 


 

                        SPRING BREAK (March 10)

 

HANDS ON SPSS EXERCISE (March 17)

We will work on the first statistical exercise as a group.  Reviewing appendix A in the Salkind book and chapters 14 and 16 in Babbie should be helpful.  Check out the anonymous evaluation survey that will be ready tonight.  Please take the time to fill this out, it will only be available for one week.  The first statistical exercise is due at 12 noon on March 21st.  See the class home page for more information. 

 

MEASURING ASSOCIATION (March 24)

We will study measures of association for crosstabulation tables.  Read chapter 15 in the Salkind book (chapter 14 in the first edition), and your instructor will provide an additional reading The second statistical exercise is due at 12 noon on March 28th.  See the class home page for more information.

 

ONEWAY ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE (Possible On-Line Class, March 31)

We will learn some basic techniques for the analysis of variance. This will provide you with a way to compare means from multiple groups.  Read chapter 11 in the Salkind book (chapter 12 in the first edition

 


 

MODULE FOUR:  Correlation, Regression, and Beyond

 


 

CORRELATION (April 7)

We will learn how to use the Pearson correlation. Read chapter 13 in the Salkind book.

 

LINEAR REGRESSION (April 14)

We will learn the basic concepts of regression analysis. Read chapter 14 in the Salkind book (chapter 6 in the first edition).  The third statistical exercise is due at 12 noon on April 18th.  See the class home page for more information.

 

IDENTIFYING REGRESSION PROBLEMS (April 21) 

Your instructor will provide an additional reading. 

 

MULTIPLE REGRESSION (April 28) 

Your instructor will provide an additional reading.  The fourth statistical exercise is due at 5pm on May 5th.  See the class home page for more information.

 

 

Please note that your access to this class will end soon after the final statistical assignment has been graded.  This is your last chance to access any final comments on your grade that your instructor has provided.

 

Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve this course.  Also, remember to take the time to complete the university course evaluation form on GoSolar. 

 

 

 

Go to the Top