Educ 400 Senior Research Seminar

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Syllabus for Spring 2017
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-2:45pm in McCook 302
Prof. Jack Dougherty – contact me or book appointment
Educational Studies Program at Trinity College, Hartford CT
Any major changes to this online syllabus will appear in red

Jump to: CriteriaGDocs Organizer (password-protected)

Course Description: To fulfill the senior exercise requirement, students carry out an independent research project that builds upon acquired skills and evolving interests. The weekly seminar provides a thematic focus as well as a continuous forum for both support and critical feedback from peers, in preparation for a public presentation of the student’s work at the end of the semester. To enroll, students must have completed all core course requirements in the major, and submit a Junior Research Plan that has been approved by the Educational Studies faculty.

Research Project Criteria: 

In this capstone seminar, Educational Studies majors design, conduct, and present an independent research project on a topic of interest, using primary and secondary sources, with qualitative, quantitative, and/or historical methods. The criteria below represent our student learning goals and express our common vocabulary for evaluating the quality of research projects across the multiple research traditions that influence our interdisciplinary program.

1) Does the author pose a thought-provoking, researchable question (or hypothesis) and explain its significance to educational studies?

2) Does the author connect the question to the existing research literature (secondary sources) and move beyond into new territory?

3) Does the author identify and use the most appropriate primary sources and research methods for this study?

4) Does the author present a clear and insightful thesis that directly addresses the research question (or hypothesis)?

5) Is the author’s thesis persuasive, and supported with convincing evidence and analysis?

6) Is the author’s essay/presentation well-organized, and does it include sufficient background for audiences unfamiliar with the topic?

7) Does the author cite sources in an acceptable format so that future readers may easily locate them? [Relevant for the final paper, not the presentation.]

8) Does the author follow ethical guidelines for research?

How to succeed in this seminar:

  • Bookmark this online syllabus and check it often for updates (marked in red).
  • Keep a calendar—paper or digital—to manage your time and meet deadlines.
  • Attend each class on time, bring relevant readings and notes, and participate regularly in discussions. The goal is to improve education for all, not you alone. At the end of the semester, your peers will evaluate your overall contribution to learning in the seminar.
  • Take the initiative by asking questions. If you don’t understand something, other students probably are puzzled, too. Go ahead and ask.
  • In this seminar, students must bring a computer for in-class writing and online research, but use it wisely. Focus on learning and avoid distractions.
  • Talk about what you are learning outside of class, both with your peers and the professor. Email me any quick questions, or book an appointment for longer discussions.
  • Everyone—including your instructor—learns to improve our writing by sharing drafts, receiving reader feedback, and revising our prose. Make the most of peer editing opportunities and the Writing Center.
  • If you’re concerned about a grade on an assignment, schedule an appointment to talk with me. Afterwards, if you wish to challenge a grade, write out a persuasive argument with supporting evidence.
  • If an illness or emergency interferes with attending class, email me immediately and make arrangements to catch up on missing work.

How your work will be evaluated, with individual scores on Moodle:

  • Exercises (Progress Memos, Drafts, Peer Reviews) for 2 points each x 15 = 30
  • Proposal full draft = 10
  • Preliminary data analysis  = 10
  • Final presentation: guest evaluator selected by student with instructor, and evaluation by Ed Studies faculty (10 + 10 = 20)
  • Contribution to overall learning in the seminar (evaluated by peers) = 10
  • Final draft (evaluated by instructor, based on how the author has responded to feedback received during the semester and at the presentation) = 20

Total = 100 points

In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) falls in the D or F range, adequate work (70-79%) in the C range, good work (80-89%) in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for minus (-), regular, and plus (+) letter grades. For example, 80 to 83.33% = B-, 83.34 to 86.67 = B, and 86.68 to 89.99 = B+. Students may access their individual scores on the password-protected Moodle site.

When a deadline says “Sept 12th” it means due before our seminar begins, unless stated otherwise. Exercises (worth 2 points) will be granted 1 point if poor quality or late (but submitted the same day), and 0 points if not submitted that day. Overdue major assignments will be penalized 10% for every 12-hour period beyond the deadline, with exceptions granted only for documented medical or family emergencies. A Google Doc that is not properly shared (so that anyone with the link may comment) will be considered late. Notify your instructor during add/drop week if you require any special accommodations (for religious observances, learning disabilities, etc.).

Schedule for Spring 2017

Tue Jan 24

Thu Jan 26

  • Before seminar, read chapter 5 and focus on “Types of Research Questions,” in Richard Shavelson and Lisa Towne, eds., Scientific Research in Education (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2002), http://www.nap.edu/read/10236/chapter/7.
  • In seminar: Share your current research plan from our GDocs Organizer
  • In seminar: What type of research question are you asking?
    • Descriptive—What is happening?
    • Causal—Is there a systematic effect?
    • Process—Why or how is it happening?
    • combination of two or more
  • In seminar: What research methods and types of primary sources will you use to answer your question?
    • Qualitative (observation, interview, etc.)
    • Quantitative (statistical or spatial patterns)
    • Historical (archival sources, etc.)
    • combination of two or more
  • In seminar: Does your research require approval by Trinity Institutional Review Board (IRB)?
  • Website: http://www.trincoll.edu/Academics/dean/research/review/Pages/default.aspx
  • Assign IRB draft or Justification, due before seminar on Thur Feb 2nd
    • If your project requires IRB approval, make a copy of the IRB template, fill out all required portions, and share the link on our GDoc Organizer
    • If your project does not require IRB approval, write a justification that explains why, describe your primary source research methods in detail, and share on our GDoc Organizer
  • Assign Progress Memo 1 in our GDoc organizer due before seminar Tues Jan 31st
    • What is your current research question?
    • What steps (big or small) did you take toward answering this question last week?
    • What obstacles, if any, stand in your way?
    • What are most important items on this week’s to-do list?

Tues Jan 31 

Thu Feb 2

  • Before seminar, write out a one-paragraph pitch of your research project in our GDoc Organizer
  • Guest from 1:30-2:15pm: Samantha Alcala ’11, MA candidate in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia Univ, via Google Hangouts video conference
  • Due before seminar: Trinity IRB application draft, or justify why it is not required for your study, in our GDoc Organizer
  • Assign Research Proposals, due by end of Sunday Feb 12th on GDoc Organizer, which you will deliver as a 3-minute presentation to seminar (using your GDoc, not slides)
  • Assign Progress Memo 2 in our GDoc organizer due before seminar Tues Feb 7

Tues Feb 7

  • Discuss Research Proposal assignment, due by end of Sunday Feb 12th on GDoc Organizer, which you will deliver as a 3-minute presentation to seminar (using your GDoc, not slides)
  • Review comments on IRB applications/justifications on GDoc Organizer
  • The Debs-Dougherty Rules of Qualitative Interviewing
    • Ask open-ended questions that encourage participants to tell their stories
    • Listen attentively as participants respond and avoid interrupting, unless they go way off track and you need to bring them back.
    • Follow up with prompts (“Tell me more about….”) as needed to focus their responses or delve deeper.
    • See additional resources on recording, transcribing, masking, and thematic analysis of interviews *next class*
  • How to design an interview guide. What do different samples teach us?
  • Review your Progress Memo 2 on GDoc Organizer, with constructive feedback from seminar

Thu Feb 9

Tues Feb 14

  • Due before seminar: Proposal peer reviews on GDoc Organizer
  • Due before seminar: Progress Memo 3 on GDoc Organizer
  • In seminar: research proposal presentations

Thu Feb 16

Tues Feb 21 – Trinity Day (no class)

  • Due instead of seminar: Progress Memo 4 on GDoc Organizer
  • Work on data collection (if IRB approved or not required)

Thur Feb 23

Tues Feb 28

  • Due before seminar: peer reviews on literature reviews on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss in seminar: your literature reviews
  • Due before seminar: Progress Memo 5 on GDoc Organizer

Thu March 2

  • Continue discussion: your literature reviews and peer reviews on GDoc Organizer

Tues March 7

Thu March 9

Tues March 14 and Thu March 16

  • Trinity spring break — no class — work on your research projects

Tue March 21

Thu March 23

  • Quick individual meetings to discuss progress and nominate guest evaluators
    • 1:30 Devan
    • 1:40 Cristina
    • 1:50 Minying
    • 2:10 Briana
    • 2:20 Lisa
    • 2:30 Amber

Tue March 28

  • Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Cristina (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Briana on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Lisa (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Amber on GDoc Presentations

Thur March 30

  • Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Briana (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Minying on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Devan (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Cristina on GDoc Presentations

Tue Apr 4

  • Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Minying (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Lisa on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Amber (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Briana on GDoc Presentations

Thur Apr 6

  • Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Lisa (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Devan on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Cristina (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Minying on GDoc Presentations

Tue Apr 11

  • Reminder: Assign: Full draft of research essay due on GDoc Organizer
    • Authors Cristina, Briana, Minying by the end of Sunday April 16th
    • Authors Lisa, Devan, Amber by the end of Tues April 18th
    • paste these evaluation criteria at the top for peer reviewers

    Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Devan (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Amber on GDoc Organizer

  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Briana (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Lisa on GDoc Presentations

Thu Apr 13

  • Discuss Thesis and Evidence essay by Amber (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Cristina on GDoc Organizer
  • Discuss Presentation Slides draft by Minying (due 8pm on the night before), peer review by Devan on GDoc Presentations

Tue Apr 18

  • In class: Peer reviewers Lisa, Devan, Amber lead discussion of full drafts by Cristina, Briana, Minying on GDoc Organizer, and create prioritized to-do list of revisions for authors, based on final draft evaluation criteria.
  • Assign: Full version of presentation slides due before Tues April 25th seminar on GDoc Presentations

Thu Apr 20

  • Class rescheduled to Tuesday April 25th due to instructor overload!

Tue Apr 25

  • In class: Peer reviewers Cristina, Briana, Minying lead discussion of full drafts by Lisa, Devan, Amber on GDoc Organizer, and create prioritized to-do list of revisions for authors, based on final draft evaluation criteria.
  • If a student has missed important deadlines or not produced satisfactory work by this point, the instructor reserves the right to cancel the student’s public presentation, meaning that the senior research requirement must be fulfilled in a future semester.

Thu Apr 27

  • In class: Preview your presentations and discuss ways to improve
  • Discuss presentation criteria used by guest evaluators and Ed faculty
  • All presentations will be video recorded and uploaded to the Ed Studies Vimeo site with password-protection. Students will receive their video link via email, and have the option to make their videos public.
  • Evaluate a senior presentation AND final draft from a prior year:
  • Assign: Upload your final essay to GDoc Presentations (not GDoc Organizer) by Fri May 5th at 6pm. Plan ahead and avoid the late penalty.
  • All students are encouraged to upload final essays and presentation slides (as PDFs) to the Trinity Digital Repository, after receiving final comments on this assignment by the instructor. To be eligible to receive Honors, your work must appear on the Repository by Friday, May 12th at 12 noon.
  • Assign peer evaluation: Overall contribution to learning on template emailed directly to students, due TONIGHT via return email to instructor

Thu April 27 from 6-7pm Ed Studies Senior Dinner, open to all majors and friends of the program, in Rittenberg Lounge, Mather Student Center

Tue May 2 — no class — prepare for presentations

Wed May 3 (reading days)

  • Senior Research Presentations, to be scheduled between 12-3pm, about 15 minutes each, followed by Q&A
  • Evaluators:
    • Guest evaluator nominated by each student
    • Professors Andrea Dyrness and Robert Cotto, Ed Studies Program

Fri May 5 at 6pm

 

 

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