Doctoral Research Skills

The College of Education Task Force on Research Methods recommends that all Ph.D. degree and D.Ed. degree recipients in the College of Education should be able to:

1. pose a research question/problem.
1.1. define the research problem, questions, and/or hypothesis.
1.2. differentiate between research problems, questions, and hypotheses.
1.3. define the general body of literature that is relevant to the research.
1.4. critically review the literature with regard to design, analysis, and interpretation.
1.5. use the literature to define the conceptual framework and to delineate the problem.
1.6. use the library, including electronic means such as ERIC, LIAS, UNCOVER, PsychInfo, Social Science Citations Index, Education Index, NTIS and others to locate important documents or leads to articles, papers, conference proceedings, etc.

2. examine the range of available modes of inquiry.

3. identify the appropriate research mode(s) and procedure(s) complementary to the research question/problem.
3.1. describe both internal and external sources of invalidity in research strategies and ways to control for these threats to validity.

4. define a sample/population.
4.1. describe the context, site, participants, population and/or events on which the study is focused.
4.2. describe an appropriate sampling plan for various modes of inquiry.

5. identify a data collection strategy (or strategies).
5.1. describe ethical issues related to research, including topics like the Buckley Amendment, human subjects procedures, and researcher obligations.
5.2. propose an appropriate data collection technique.
5.3. specify/describe the instrumentation that is required for research investigation (e.g., tests, surveys, interview guides, participant observer).
5.4. when appropriate, describe procedures for constructing, piloting, and modifying methods/instruments to be used for investigations.
5.5. identify issues related to quality of data (e.g., bias, missing data, non-response, attrition).
5.6. describe different methods for establishing the quality of information gained from instruments and procedures (e.g., reliability, validity, efficacy, triangulation).

6. analyze and interpret data.
6.1. differentiate between primary and secondary analyses.
6.2. describe various methods of data analysis appropriate for the study.
6.3. identify relevant use of the computer for data analyses.
6.4. describe the limitations and assumptions required when doing different types of analyses.
6.5. discuss the concept and limitations of statistical significance.

7. draw conclusions from the data.
7.1. discuss the meaningfulness/importance of the research findings.
7.2. draw defensible conclusions/assertions relative to the data, theoretical framework, research background, etc.
7.3. describe the limitations of the research.

8. write research reports.
8.1. write in a coherent way so that the research process (e.g., method used), results (e.g., data presentation) and conclusions are clearly communicated.