Quantitative Methods II – PLCY 811

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/10/2022

Course Description

This course is designed to give students tools for understanding and avoiding the misuse of quantitative data. Using case studies, students will learn how to identify common analytical biases and errors that lead to faulty conclusions or flawed applications of research findings.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Second in the series of courses in research methodology, PLCY 811 equips the doctoral student to examine potential pitfalls associated with analytical inquiry in the field of Public Policy. Students will learn to discern the quality of research outcomes associated with published research. Proficiency in this area will position the student to develop research agendas that assess societal conditions, for making recommendations on governance, affording empirical evidence for the evaluation of overall impact of actions resulting from competing theories.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be 500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge, citing at least 3 scholarly sources. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 250 words and cite at least 2 scholarly sources. All threads and replies must adhere to current Turabian format.


In Module 1: Week 1 – Module 5: Week 5, students will complete timed quizzes to demonstrate mastery of the information gleaned from assigned reading in this course. These short open-book, open-note quizzes reinforce recall in preparation for the Final Examination Assignment.  Each quiz consists of 10 True/False questions worth 10 points and thus having a total possible of 100 points per quiz.  Careful reading of assigned material prior to taking each quiz is required to maximize performance.

Maximum time set at one hour.

Quantitative Case Study Assignment

You will provide a 15-page case study paper that explores an existing research project or study, evaluating it based on six key elements of high quality research: 1) sound reasoning; 2) appropriate research strategy; 3) appropriate data assignment; 4) presentation of research within relevant context; 5) explanation of practical importance of research question; 6) reflections on relevance of research for public policy. This assignment must include 50 citations in Turabian format.

Final Examination Assignment

The Final Examination Assignment consists of four essay questions, each worth 25 points. To succeed in this exam, students will be asked to recall readings and lecture materials. The goal of this exam is for the student to demonstrate mastery in understanding origins of error in inquiry and to demonstrate preparedness for conducting his or her own research. Each essay question should be answered in 4-5 pages, resulting in a completed Final Examination Assignment of 16-20 pages in Turabian format.