This course introduces students to various models of public policy analysis and evaluation as a foundation to developing a viable public policy research project.
Public policy and public policy recommendations are often derived from or constructed upon social science research. Not only does this course prepare doctoral students to conduct their own robust research, it equips students with the toolkit needed for the full evaluation of research used as justification for particular policies.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Articulate core principles of the scientific method.
- Describe and assess prominent social science research designs.
- Effectively communicate research ideas and policy recommendations in written and oral formats.
- Write a research proposal which could develop into a dissertation proposal.
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. The student is required to write a response thread to the prompt for each forum. Each thread must consist of at least 500 words and demonstrate mastery of course content. In addition to this initial thread, the student must reply to two (2) of the threads authored by his or her colleagues. Each reply must consist of at least 350 words. Replies should be rooted in course readings and content. Additional, reputable academic titles and articles may be invoked to answer prompts (especially those in recommended reading list).
Literature Review Assignment
The doctoral student must produce a literature review of at least 2000 words, based upon his or her dependent variable/research question from Week Two and Week Four. The literature review must focus on prominent, previous work and illustrate how a literature review informs the development of a theoretically-significant research question. The student must provide his or her reader with a strong sense of the state of the established literature in the chosen sub-field, and must identify areas where he or she can make a substantial contribution to existing theory and scholarly discourse.
Research Design Comparison Assignment
The doctoral student will write a case study critique of 4–5 pages. The point of this exercise is to assess whether or not the author of the case study made appropriate research design and case selection decisions. Critique must be grounded in core topics and concepts discussed this course.
The student is permitted to select his or her own case study to critique, but the case must be a prominent piece in his or her field and published in a top-tier academic journal. The student must use appropriate subheads in the paper to organize content and guide the reader. The following is suggested template:
- Briefly introduce and discuss major facts of the case.
- Identify the research question in the case study.
- In one sentence, identify the primary dependent variable in the case study.
- Describe the overall research design.
- Do you believe the research design is an appropriate fit for the research question? Why or why not?
- How did the scholar's research design choices impact their findings and/or policy recommendations?
- Propose, discuss, and defend a solution(s) to any research design problems.
Research Proposal Assignment
The doctoral student will write an abbreviated, 12–15-page practice proposal based upon the dependent variable (DV) selected the Discussion for Week 3. The primary focus of practice proposal is the selection of a research design appropriate for the study of particular dependent variable. The proposal can build out of the literature review constructed in previous writing assignment.
After providing a concise description of his or her dependent variable on page one of proposal, the student should spend significant space describing the conceptualization of his or her DV. The student must also provide a clearly specified research question. The focus should then shift to explaining why the chosen research design is appropriate for the study of the particular DV. Strong proposals will address measurement issues, provide examples of observable implications, and explain/justify case selection. This paper must include at least 15 references in addition to the course readings and must demonstrate integration of biblical principles.
Research Presentation Assignment
The student will post a video providing a 10–15-minute oral presentation of his or her research proposal.