The Institute for Clinical Social Work


Syllabi Archive

RMDL 621: Quantitative Research Methods

Ph.D. Program - Distance Learning: spring 2012-13


Theresa Vidalon, MSW


Course Description

This course will explore quantitative research methodology, introductory statistics, survey design, and quantitative database construction.


Knowledge, Value, and Skill Learning Objectives of the Course

Students will:

Knowledge
1) Gain knowledge of basic quantitative research methodology
2) Understand research design and database construction
3) Learn about descriptive and inferential statistical analyses

Value
4) Discuss potential biases in quantitative research
5) Explore implications of questionnaire design
6) Recognize the value and power of statistics

Skills
7) Perform descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
8) Become proficient in basic research interviewing and questionnaire design
9) Construct SPSS databases


Required Text*

  1. Huff, D. (1993). How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.

*Any edition is acceptable as long as the student locates the correct readings.


Required Software

  1. SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Services) Grad Pack*

*Please speak with instructor before purchasing/renting


Respect for Diversity, Confidentiality, and Fellow Students

Discussing research participants, patients, clinical material, and patients’ impact on clinicians can be intense; students are expected to be sensitive to their colleagues’ during class discussions, and to protect confidentiality of clinicians, their patients, and research participants. In addition, students are expected to be respectful of the opinions of others while at the same time striving to support the values of clinical counseling and research ethics.


Students with Special Needs

Students with special needs or difficulties in learning and completing courses assignments are strongly encouraged to notify instructors as soon as possible so that appropriate resources and accommodations can be provided.


Grading

Grades will be calculated as a total number of points earned

A
90-100 points - Superior Work evidenced by assignments and class participation that reflect outstanding understanding of class materials, consistent demonstration of critical and analytical skills, and creativity.
B
80-89 points - Satisfactory Work evidenced by assignments and class participation that reflect essential understanding of class materials and frequent demonstration of critical and analytical skills.
C
70-79 points - Marginal Work evidenced by assignments and class participation that reflect some understanding of class materials and occasional demonstration of critical and analytical skills.
F
< 60 points - Failure evidenced by assignments and class participation that reflect insufficient understanding of class materials and limited critical and analytical skills.


Assignments

ICSW Style Manual & APA All papers submitted for class requirements are to conform to the style guide in the “Institute for Clinical Social Work Style Manual,” which is located on the ICSW website in the academic resources section:
http://www.icsw.edu/_resources/ICSW%20Style%20Manual%2029%20Apr%202009.pdf

Insofar as is practicable, ICSW style follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition).
Formatting Papers must include: APA style (6th edition) formatting, headings, a spell-checked narrative, double line spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1” margins, page numbers, cover page, and reference page (if applicable). No contractions, slang or idiomatic expressions, or biased language may be used in assignments. All papers should include an introduction and conclusion.

Students are expected to review the OWL website regarding appropriate language: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/608/01/

Points will be deducted from assignments that are not formatted according to APA citation style and the stated specifications in this syllabus.

Page Limits

Students are responsible for fully discussing the required content for each assignment; however, there are no page number requirements for assignments in this class. The instructor will provide a range of pages that previous students have submitted for each assignment, but this does not mean students must submit their assignment within that range. Rather, students should review the grading criteria and aim to successfully achieve the criteria for the highest grade using their individual writing style (i.e. short and concise, long and multifaceted, etc.).
Students should have no more than 3 to 5 quotes from other sources in their papers. More quotes tend to diminish the voice of the student in their written work.

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Students are expected to review the OWL website regarding quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/01/

Submitting Papers

It is recommended students submit assignments electronically over email or through Blackbaud; however, assignments can be submitted in paper form at the beginning of the class held on the due date. Additionally, assignments can be submitted to the instructor up to one week after the due date without penalty. Students must inform the instructor they will be taking this extra week. The specific reason why is not necessary to provide. Late assignments will be dropped one letter grade every subsequent week after the initial grace period.

Resources for Academic Writing

Students may wish to learn more about how to write academic work. They may review the OWL website regarding this topic:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/2/


Plagiarism Policy

When plagiarism is suspected, students may be asked to submit their papers electronically to a third party plagiarism detection service. If a student is asked to submit the paper and refuses to do so, the student must provide proof that all work is correctly sited and/or original.


Academic Dishonesty

Any student who engages in academic dishonesty, which includes giving or receiving unauthorized aid to any assignment, plagiarism or tampering with grades or irregularities shall be subject to disciplinary action. Such action may include a failing grade in the course, suspension, or dismissal from the program


Assignment Timeline and Details

Class attendance and participation 20 points

  • Examples of statistics 15 points Due Class 2
  • Survey 15 points Due Class 4
  • Database 15 points Due Class 5
  • Final Project 35 points Due Class 7

Class attendance and participation is defined by regularly and promptly attending class with a willingness to engage in a thoughtful discussion and ask questions about the assigned readings and class topics. Refraining from actively participating in class will negatively affect this grade. Students must obtain instructor approval prior to missing a class. Missing a class will negatively affect this grade. A missed class cannot be made up. Students will periodically be randomly selected to answer instructor questions about class topics. Participation is considered achieved by the students attempt to answer questions or posing their own questions. Participation will not be graded based on correct answers; rather students should attempt to answer in a thoughtful manner.

The Examples of statics assignment entails providing an overview of three statistics related to the student’s research area of interest. Be prepared to provide a 10 minute oral presentation discussing: background information, the statistics used, questions or concerns you have about the statistics, and how the statistics could potentially be used.

The Survey assignment requires surveying classmates using 10 questions with a minimum of 3 demographic variables using the best survey practices learned in class. Be prepared to talk about your survey experience in class, including what did or did not work when introducing the survey and asking your questions.

The assignment includes the following steps:

  • Choose a free survey software to use for the assignment
  • Create a Welcome Screen at the beginning of the survey (includes student name and credentials, affiliation with ICSW, title of the survey, and purpose of the survey)
  • Include instructions for participants so that they understand how to fill out the survey
  • Create 10 survey questions with a transition statement between the substantive and demographic questions
  • Create a Thank You Message (can be placed at the end of the survey as the last question)
  • Create instructions for submitting survey (e.g, Click Submit)
  • Write a paper about your survey (Include: an introduction to the paper, discussion on how participants may be recruited, the location of data collection for your survey, a table showing the survey questions, the variables they were designed to measure, and the level of measurement for each variable, and a conclusion to the paper)

The Database assignment involves creating a SPSS database based on fake data from the survey created for the Survey assignment (refer to class handout). This includes creating and labeling variables, entering data, and conducting data cleaning (by following the steps outlined in class). Be prepared to discuss your experience in class.

Submit a paper that includes:

  •  Title page
  • Introduction
  • Description of the steps taken to create and clean the database, the types of statistics that could be used to analyze the data, and the potential graphs and charts that could be used to depict the data.
  • Conclusion
  • Also submit SPSS database

The Final Project combines the knowledge and skills learned in class and the other assignments. Create a survey using free survey software to create 5 demographic questions and 10 substantive questions. Fake data should be entered into a SPSS database and analyzed. The SPSS output depicts the results of the statistics used to analyze the survey data. The SPSS output should be interpreted in the paper as well. Students should also create 3 graphic depictions of their data (graphs and/or charts).

Submit the survey, database, and paper.

The assignment includes the following steps:

  • Choose a free survey software to use for the assignment
  • Create a Welcome Screen at the beginning of the survey (includes student name and credentials, affiliation with ICSW, title of the survey, and purpose of the survey)
  • Include instructions for participants so that they understand how to fill out the survey
  • Create survey questions with a transition statement between the substantive and demographic questions
  • Create a Thank You Message (can be placed at the end of the survey as the last question)
  • Create instructions for submitting survey (e.g, Click Submit)
  • Write a paper about your survey (Include: an introduction, a table showing the survey questions, the variables they were designed to measure, and the level of measurement for each variable, a discussion on the steps taken to create and clean the database, identification of the statistics used to analyze the data, 3 graphs/charts, a narrative interpretation of the SPSS output, and a conclusion)
  • Also submit SPSS database and any related output

Topical Outline, Required Readings, and Discussion Questions

Class One: Introduction and Overview

  • Class Overview
  • Quantitative Research Methodology
  • Quantitative versus Qualitative Research
  • Databases and Statistics
  • Quantitative Dissertations

Required Readings:

  1. Huff, D. (1993). Introduction. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  2. Gelo, O., Braakmann, D., & Benetka, G. (2008). Quantitative and qualitative research: Beyond the debate. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 42, 266-290.

Briefly Review:

  1. Roseborough, D.J., McLeod, J.T., & Bradshaw, W.H. (2012). Psychodynamic psychotherapy: A quantitative, longitudinal perspective. Research on Social Work Practice, 22(1), 54-67.

For Review of Class Lecture Topic:

  1. YouTube video: The Variables Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxbz656Euyw

Class Two: Quantitative Research Methodology

  • Statistical and Research Terminology
  • Variable Operationalization
  • Research Questions and Hypotheses
  • Levels of Measurement
  • Sampling
  • Class Exercises and SPSS data sets

Required Readings:

  1. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 1: The sample with built-in bias. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  2. Sajatovic, M., Velligan, D.I., Weiden, P.J., Valenstein, M.A., & Ogedegbe, G. (2010). Measurement of psychiatric treatment adherence. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 69(6), 591-599.
  3. Brick, J.M. (Special Issue 2011). The future of survey sampling. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75(5), 872-888.

Class Three: Research Design

  • Web Surveys
  • Demographic Questions
  • Response Rates & Nonresponse
  • Response Options

Required Readings:

  1. Ogilvie, A.J., Abreu, I., Safran, J.D. (2005). What findings do psychotherapy researchers use in their own practice? A survey of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. The New School Psychology Bulletin, 3(2), 17-34.
  2. Bosnjak & amp; Tuten (2003) Prepaid and promised incentives in web surveys: An experiment. Social Science Computer Review, 21, 208-217.
  3. Heerwegh (2005) Effects of personal salutations in e-mail invitations to participate in a web survey. Public Opinion Quarterly, 69, 588-598.
  4. Porter & Whitcomb (2005) E-mail subject lines and their effect on web survey viewing and response. Social Science Computer Review, 23, 380-387.

Class Four: SPSS Database Design

  • Creating Databases
  • Cleaning Databases
  • Sample Analysis
  • Class Exercises and SPSS data sets

Required Reading:

  1. Vidalon, T.M. (2011). SPSS Orientation Handout

For Review of Class Lecture Topic:

  1. YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 1-Setup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXCN--EyK4A&feature=BFa&list=ULlfckTqjzp4o

Class Five: Descriptive Statistics

  • Frequency Distributions
  • Central Tendency
  • Variability
  • Normal Distributions
  • Class Exercises and SPSS data sets
  • Discussion of Statistics Examples

Required Readings:

  1. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 2: The well-chosen average. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.

For Review of Class Lecture Topics:

  1. YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 2-Descriptives-Continuous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfckTqjzp4o&feature=BFa&list=UL-FRFgkw50kw

 2. YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 2A-Descriptives-Categorical:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbaCSIfKQSQ&feature=autoplay&list=ULU0PuoZlSir0&playnext=5

Class Six: Inferential Statistics

  • Correlation
  • Cross-Tabulation
  • t -Tests
  • Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
  • Class Exercises and SPSS data sets

Required Readings:

  1. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 3: The little figures that are not there. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  2. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 4: Much ado about practically nothing. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  3. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 8: Post hoc rides again. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.

For Review of Class Lecture Topics:

  1. YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 3-T Test:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FRFgkw50kw&feature=BFa&list=ULhXCN--EyK4A

 2.  YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 4-ANOVA:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBYEcIsF_AM&feature=autoplay&list=UL-FRFgkw50kw&playnext=1

 3.  YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 5-Paired T Test:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngztlHB2ry4&feature=autoplay&list=ULKBYEcIsF_AM&playnext=2

 4.  YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 6-Regression:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ0cc8NkAic& feature=autoplay&list=ULngztlHB2ry4&playnext=3

 5.  YouTube video: SPSS Tutorial-Module 7-Chi-Square:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0PuoZlSir0&feature=autoplay&list=ULZQ0cc8NkAic&playnext=4

Class Seven: Analysis and Interpreting Results

  • Analysis Strategies for Survey Data
  • Critical Examination of Charts and Graphs
  • Ways Statistics can be Misleading or Deceptive
  • Ethical Implications of Research and Statistics
  • Class Exercises and SPSS data sets
  • Discussion of Quantitative Methods for Dissertations

Required Readings:

  1. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 5: The gee-whiz graph. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  2. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 6: The one-dimensional picture. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  3. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 7: The semiattached figure. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  4. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 9: How to Statisticulate. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.
  5. Huff, D. (1993). Chapter 10: How to Talk Back to Statistics. In How to lie with statistics. New York: W.W.Norton & Company

 

Please note that links to some course readings have been purged from archived syllabi. Electronic texts on the ICSW website are protected by copyright law. These files are made available strictly for individual, educational use and may not be copied or distributed in any way. Distribution of copyrighted material to non-enrolled individuals or ICSW students will be considered an act of Academic Dishonesty and be dealt with accordingly as indicated in the Student Manual. Federal penalties for copyright infringement may be found at www.copyright.gov.