Dissertation Design – EDCO 810

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A review of the process of developing research designs and conducting primary research. Students will develop a research prospectus that is anchored in current theory and research in the community counseling context which will serve as a basis for their doctoral dissertation proposal.

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

Counselors is increasingly required to demonstrate the efficacy of their interventions and treatment strategies.  Within the helping profession, there is increasing pressure to provide treatments that are evidence-based.  It is no longer professionally acceptable for counselors to rely simply on their experience and previous training in a particular theory or approach to counseling to treat specific kinds of clinical problems such as depression, anxiety, and addictions. We are currently in an era of accountability.  This accountability also applies to professional Christian counselors, as the profession will face growing demands to demonstrate efficacy. Moreover, the field of Christian counseling and community care makes knowledge claims about human behavior, developmental processes, spirituality and mental health functioning, and the importance of close relationships. If we believe our knowledge claims have practical, real-life applications, Christian academia has a responsibility to demonstrate that these knowledge claims can have practical applications that can be empirically validated. To this end, doctoral level practitioners and academics must be able to appropriately consume the current scientific research such that they can identify potential strengths and weakness of research reports and understand how such data can be interpreted and generalized to areas of interests. The purpose of this course is designed to help students acquire an advanced understanding of research design and statistical techniques necessary to not only understand and consume the scientific literature in and around the field of counseling an community care, but to also produce a high quality doctoral dissertation that meaningfully contributes to the scientific literature. 

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to write a critical review of scientific literature about a particular area of interest and formulate a specific research question with corresponding research hypotheses that will uniquely and meaningfully contribute to the body of scientific knowledge in that area.
  2. To comprehend how research design methods and statistics procedures are used hand-in-hand to address specific kinds of research questions.
  3. To comprehend the spectrum of research design options (ranging from qualitative to true-experimental) and identify which research designs are most appropriate for addressing specific types of research questions.
  4. To identify the most appropriate research design for addressing specific research questions.
  5. To understand the different procedures for selecting participants for research study and identify how these different procedures critically influence various types of validity concerns.
  6. To understand, appraise, and articulate the important conceptual concerns related to selecting both reliable and valid measures in a research study.
  7. To compare and contrast the relative value of various statistical methods and procedures used to address specific research hypotheses.
  8. To acquire conceptual tools for analyzing and critically evaluating outcome data not only in terms of statistical significance but also clinical meaningfulness.
  9. To both understand and apply important statistical concepts for evaluating statistical validity in one's own research proposal as well as in published research articles.
  10. To both delineate and distinguish between different types of validity (internal, external, construct, and statistical conclusion) and appraise research studies in light of their relative strengths and weaknesses with respect to each type of validity.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to describe, analyze, and critically evaluate published, peer-reviewed scientific research studies in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses with respect to the four types of validity described above.
  12. To evaluate research findings in light of the Christian worldview and biblical teachings. Moreover, the student will show the ability to theorize and reflect on how research findings may be integrated into a Christian worldview.
  13. The student will understand and recognize core ethical considerations involved in conducting research with human subjects.

Course Assignment

Dissertation Planning Survey

This assignment informs the department on which courses in the dissertation writing sequence you have already taken.  It’s critical information that we use to determine which dissertation courses you will be approved to take next.

Article Notes

Identify an area of interest, search the online library databases, and carefully acquire and read 50 -70 different peer-reviewed articles relating to this topic.  Select 50 or more peer-reviewed articles related to your topic to create article notes.  These may be from your EDCO 737 bibliography (if you’ve taken this course).  Most of the articles should be relatively recent (last 10 years). You will create one or more notes for each citation.  See Blackboard materials for more information.

Literature Review Outline

Based on what you’ve found in your article notes, create an outline for your potential literature review.  See Blackboard materials for more information.

Literature Review Rough Draft

Based on what you’ve found in researching your topic (article notes, lit review outline), develop a literature review rough draft.  See Blackboard materials for more information.

Literature Review Final

You will update your literature review draft based on my feedback. See Blackboard materials for more information.

Method Draft

You will write up a draft Method for your study.  See Blackboard materials for more information.

Method Final

You will update your literature review draft based on my feedback.  See Blackboard materials for more information.

CITI Training—Social & Behavioral Researchers

Students will complete CITI training, which is an online training course on ethics in research. To complete training, follow the instructions on this website: http://www.liberty.edu/academics/graduate/irb/index.cfm?PID=27730.

CITI training allows users to select which subjects to complete, and students only need to complete the social and behavioral researchers’ sections for this course. If students have previously completed CITI training within the last two years, they do not need to complete it again if they submit proof of completion.