EDUR 9131
Doctoral Research Methods

Spring 2011

Instructor/Facilitator: Bryan W. Griffin
My personal web pages can be found at 


Course Index (check frequently for alterations)

A. Course Administration

  1. Syllabus 
  2. Course Calendar (listed below)
  3. Research Group Topics

B. Activities that count toward course grade

  1. Test 1 -- due date to be assigned; expect Test 1 after about session 3 or 4.
  2. Test 2 -- will be made available after the final class session (date to be added).
  3. Activity 1: Research Project -- This is a group activity and will be due as a PDF attachment by 9:00pm on March 9 (3/9); see timeline and instructions on the linked page. An example of a completed research project can be viewed here: sample research project manuscript. A sample questionnaire that can be used as a guide can be found here: dissertation_process_questionnaire_example. You can use this sample to get an idea of how the proposal should appear minus the results and conclusion section.

Andy Field, of the University of Sussex, has students complete a similar project. His instructions provide useful insight into the steps one must take to develop a questionnaire. I recommend you review his project instructions to see steps that must be taken to develop an instrument:

Design a Questionnaire

C. Activities that do not count toward course grade

  1. Activity 2 (Individual, non-graded) Instrument Construction Steps (due for session 1)
  2. Activity 3 (Individual, non-graded) Internal Consistency (post responses to GeorgiaView EDUR 9131 Discussion Forum; note to instructor -- use data with reversed items)
  3. Activity 4 (Individual, non-graded) Sample Size Calculations (complete activity shortly after chat 4 [completion of sample size discussion]; consider GPower)
  4. Activity 5 (Individual, non-graded) Coding Open-ended Responses (due date to be added). 
  5. Note -- Others to consider (e.g., factor analysis, regression, reading statistical tables, reverse scoring and composite scores, effect sizes, reliability)

D. Course Notes

  1. Review of basics (taken from EDUR 7130, Introduction to Educational Research); only a few of these will be highlighted in the chat session

  1. Overview of Research/Scientific Method (general overview of research can be found here: Reader's Guide )
  2. Format of a Research Paper
  3. Variables and Scales of Measurement (practice exercise)
  4. Purpose Statements (sometimes call Problem Statements)
  5. Literature Review (on-line searches; common writing errors -- lists vs. integration, citations early vs. late, use of transitions)
  6. Hypotheses (practice exercise)
  7. Research Questions
  8. Sampling (practice exercises)
  9. Descriptive Statistics and Graphical Displays (correlation coefficients and scatterplots) (practice exercise for displaying data
  10. Overview of Inferential Statistics (practice exercise) (integrate "Reading of Statistical Tables" from PDF links below
  11. Measurement: Instrument/Test Reliability
  12. Measurement: Instrument/Test Validity (practice exercise)
  13. Quantitative Research Matrix  (practice exercise)


For the de Vaus text, read chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13 (section on levels of measurement), 14 (section on graphs), and 15 (sections on t-test and correlation) to cover the material listed above.



E. SPSS Tutorials (obtained from various on-line sources: Dr. McKnight at U. Oklahoma,  Dr. Elvers at U. of Dayton, Guang-Hwa Change at Youngstown State U.)

  1. Entering data into SPSS (variable labels, value labels, setting variable as numeric, etc.)
            Data Entry A, Data Entry B
  2. Frequencies/Explore Commands (including descriptive statistics, box plots, histograms, stem-and-leaf, etc.)
            Frequencies A, Frequencies B, Stem and Leaf, Various Graphical Displays
  3. t-tests (one sample, independent sample, and correlated samples)
            t-tests, independent samples t-tests
  4. Correlation 
            Correlation A, Correlation B, For scatter plots see Various Graphical Displays above
  5. Regression 
            Regression A, Regression B
  6. ANOVA
            ANOVA A (using ONEWAY command), ANOVA B (using ONEWAY command), ANOVA C (using UNIVARIATE command)
            ANCOVA A

F. PDF File Creation

Since groups will be required to submit this project, I will only accept PDF attachments from one individual in each group. See detailed instructions on this in the Research Project link above. If you do not know how to create a PDF file, use one of the following sources:

Here are a few free web page that convert files to PDF over the internet: 

I use the following free software to create my PDF files (it leaves no watermark): 

I also use OpenOffice to create some free PDF files. Open Office is a free Office Suite similar to Microsoft Office (Open Office leaves no watermark): 

If you want further tips and links for converting to free PDFs, read this site or this .

G. Reporting Statistical Outcomes

APA style for t-test, correlation, regression, ANOVA, chi-square:  Reporting Statistics (Word document with sample APA styled tables and written presentations).

Add factor analysis.

Note: The material indented with grey background are comments for instructor about content to review for possible incorporation into course. Students should ignore this information.

Assessing reliability and validity of single item measures:

Validity Standards: Validity evidence (Standards Validity Evidence), and these standards (note also steps for questionnaire development):

National standards on validity discussion, useful table:

Link between Research Questions and Methods -- (Note to instructor: develop examples; consider design issues)


Course Calendar (NOTE -- calendar under revisions, do not look beyond Session 1)
Session Date Topic



1. Syllabus

2. Research Project

3. Review of basics of educational research

Reading assignments can be found in the links above for the supplemental Gall, Gall, and Borg text. For the de Vaus text, read chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13 (section on levels of measurement), 14 (section on graphs), and 15 (sections on t-test and correlation) to cover the material listed above.

4. Literature Searches -- brief review using Google Scholar and GALILEO (search for reading interest measure; also add literature review writing, list vs. integration, early vs. late citations, transitions).

5. Questionnaire Development -- Discussion of Activity 2: Instrument Construction Steps (read: de Vaus chapters 4, 7, 8, 11; Menon 2001; Ragheb & Beard 1982; Holmbeck & Devine 2009)

  • Questionnaire Development Model
  • Content Validity (with Anxiety example)

6. SPSS Introduction

(Spring 2011 -- partially completed Questionnaire Development Activity 2 discussion; limited review of basics to variables, hypotheses, LR)




1. Review Activity 1 Assignment

2. Questionnaire Development continued (read: de Vaus chapters 4, 7, 8, 11; Menon 2001; Ragheb & Beard 1982; Holmbeck & Devine 2009)

  • Table listing various approaches to questionnaire and score validation procedures:  Floyd, Phaneuf, & Wilczynski 2005
  • Content Validity: Item Pool Selection via Factor Analysis results (examples: Menon 2001; Ragheb & Beard 1982; Cheng 2004 [messy results])
  • Reliability Overview (brief review of concepts: William Gabrenya's Reliability)
  • Construct Validity Overview (seeking anticipated/hypothesized patterns among structured response scores from instruments)
    • McKenna & Kear 1990 p. 15 of PDF (predicted behavior with other variables, factor analysis?)
    • Ragheb & Beard 1982 (correlation with similar measures; factor analysis)
    • Menon 2001 (various)
  • Examples of how to report questionnaire development results in journal publications:

3. Review of Descriptive Statistics and Inferential Statistics (read: de Vaus chapter 13; Descriptive Statistics and Graphical Displays; Inferential Statistics)

(Spring 2011 -- completed through descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Resume chat 3 with t-test review.)




1. In-class Questionnaire for Example Analysis: (private link to raw data here: )

2. Questions on Activity 1 -- Brief review of questionnaire item wording and development; guidelines to questionnaire construction (practical tips)

3. Review of independent and correlated samples t-test (read: de Vaus chapter 15)

4. Review of Pearson's Correlation (read: de Vaus chapter 14)

5. Reliability (de Vaus chapter 11; pp 52-53; pp. 180-186; review "Scaling Checklist" p. 195; William Gabrenya's Reliability)

(a) Stability with test-retest  (scores must be correlated, and means should be similar; correlation and correlated samples t-test)

(b) Equivalent forms, brief overview

(c) Internal Consistency with Cronbach's alpha

(d) Scorer-rater; inter-judge agreement -- See discussion below with coding open-ended responses

(Spring 2011 -- covered briefly tips on questionnaire construction, independent samples t-test, correlation, Cronbach's alpha)




1. First draft questionnaire you plan to use for the Research Study is due (fall 09, took about 2.5 hours to review 4 questionnaires).

  • Send draft questionnaire to me as PDF before start of chat. .
  • We will review each questionnaire in class during chat.

2. Sample size determination  (de Vaus chapter 6; Cohen 1992)

Excel spreadsheet to calculate sample size or power, or to convert among effect size measures:

(a) Yes/No Items (categorical variable status; use for Chi-square type analyses)

To find sample sizes for studies involving simple proportions, such as responses to Yes/No type questions (assumes binomial distribution)

(b) Effect Size d

(c) Group Comparisons

To find sample sizes for group comparisons (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA type analyses)

(d) Correlation

Sample sizes for Pearson's correlations

(f) Regression -- presented below after coverage of regression

(g) G Power -- free software for sample size determination

(h)  On-line sample size calculators:

(Spring 2011: Reviewed questionnaires, covered samples size for yes/no, group comparisons, correlations) 




1. Note to students: Send revised group research project questionnaire to instructor for final review.

2. Work through internal consistency exercise:

3. Correlated samples t-test (read: de Vaus chapter 15)

  • This material was presented earlier in session 2 above. See information linked above for lecture notes and supplemental reading.

4. Reliability: Test-retest

  • See material presented in session 3 above.

5. Coding open-ended questionnaire responses (conceptual analysis discussed here; see Palmquist 2008 for relational analysis example). Read de Vaus chapter 9, and the following works by Le Compte, Palmquist, Glenn, and Tobacco Control:


Supplemental reading of other relevant to data analysis of written responses:

Reliability -- inter-rater and intra-rater agreement

6. Begin Regression, see de Vaus' text pp 280-288

Other readings from my course notes in EDUR 8131 (introductory statistics):

SPSS Regression Videos

(Spring 2011: Covered all above except correlated t-test, started simple regression)




1. Resume Regression

2.  Review sample size determination for regression; see Cohen 1992

3. Validity -- Providing Evidence (read de Vaus chapter 4)

Summary notes:

Read the following articles:

  • Floyd et al 2005 -- review article and note particularly Table 1; in what ways can evidence for validity be provided?
  • Goodwin & Leech 2003 -- read article and study Table 1 (2 MB file, may be slow download)

Illustrative Examples of Validity Evidence -- for each, in what ways is validity evidenced?

4. Factor Analysis (read de Vaus chapter 11)

Notes on Factor Analysis

  • To be added

Additional Readings

  • Kootstra (2004) -- read this.
  • Field 2005 -- discussion with SPSS; review this.
  • Jackman 2005 -- what are your thoughts on this introduction to factor analysis?

Reporting Factor Analysis

  • Factor Analysis Focus of Report: See Neill's 2008 presentation
  • Factor Analysis is not Focus of Report: See Pintrchi & De Groot 1990 (p. 34+) as an example of a brief presentation

(Spring 2011: through regression sample size )


7 3/7

1. Resume material from chat session 6

2. Illustrate group project analysis steps from data collection to final regression analysis

Note to instructor:




Ignore notes below:

5. Reading Research Reports --- t-tests and ANOVA

Note -- Links to possible Reading Research report tables













Communication in the Course

In this course we will hold group discussions once a week (twice a week during summer terms). The chat session schedule is listed above in the calendar. Group discussions will be held using GeorgiaView Wimba. If you have difficulty accessing Wimba, contact GeorgiaView support. Contact information can be found in the link below:

To access EDUR 8131 GeorgiaView page, follow the link below:


Office Information


By chance or appointment. It is best to contact me by e-mail to make an appointment.


Use GeorgiaView to contact me. If GeorgiaView is not working, my regular e-mail address is, but please use GeorgiaView for course-related communications.

Telephone Number

Office (Room 2128 College of Education Building): 912-478-0488
Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Research: 912-478-5091


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
P.O. Box 8144
College of Education
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460

Course Description


The purpose of this course is for doctoral-level students to gain a firm foundation in educational research prior to the start of their dissertation experience. Students will engage in an applied research project that updates their understanding of research procedures (e.g., hypothesis generation, sampling theory, instrument construction, measurement concepts, and descriptive and inferential statistics). Emphasis is on the “hands-on” application of advanced inquiry skills.


Class Materials


(a) de Vaus, D. A. (2002). Surveys in Social Research (5th ed., and 4th or 3rd editions acceptable). Taylor & Francis. (4th edition on-line)

Note that 5th editions may be found on-line for less than $50. Try searching for ISBN 0415268583 on shopping,, or, for example.

(b) SPSS will be used in this course. The most recent version can be found and rented here for ~$35 for  6 months:

Other student options and pricing for SPSS/PASW can be found here:

(c) EDUR 9131 Course Notes, which are available on-line at:


(d) Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., & Gall, J. P. (1996 or later). Educational Research: An Introduction (6th,  7th, or 8th ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.   

Grading Criteria

Course grades will be based upon the following items and weights:



You may come and go as you please. If you miss a chat/class session, there is no need to provide an excuse.


Academic Dishonesty


Students are expected to abide by the GSU student conduct code and regulations regarding academic integrity. Academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarism will be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs and appropriate penalties imposed, such as a grade of zero on the targeted activity. See information on student conduct in the relevant student handbook for details 

Withdrawing from Class

The university sets a specific date in which you may withdraw from a course without an academic penalty. In this course, however, you may withdraw without an academic penalty (i.e., you will received a WP) until the last day of regular class (this excludes exam week), no questions asked, no matter what your current performance. My policy of assigning WPs is contingent upon the approval of my departmental chair and COE Dean (i.e., a WP is not guaranteed). 

Course Calendar (will be revised as semester progresses)  


Listed on index page ( ). Note that the Course Calendar may be updated frequently. See index page for revisions.   

Class projects and IRB:

Read the following to ensure your mini-research project meets IRB guidelines

  1. No minors
  2. No more risk than minimal
  3. No deception
  4. No publication or presentation of findings outside of class and all reports/presentations in class must adequately blind sources so no one respondent can be identified.
  5. No videotaping

How This Course Supports the College’s Conceptual Framework

 The College of Education’s conceptual framework advances the theme of reflective educators for diverse learners. In this course information will be learned that should make each student a more knowledgeable consumer of educational research. With this knowledge you will be better able to critically evaluate current and recommended practices when analyzed empirically.

*** Miscellaneous notes -- ignore material listed below ***

Instructor note: Add links to on-line statistical programs, e.g., (On-line Research Publications)

Copyright © 2005, Bryan W. Griffin

Last revised on 18 February, 2015 01:26 PM