Courses Taught by Walt Haney


Over the last few years, Walt has taught the following courses:

Management Uses of Computers in Education

Qualitative Research Merthods

Expectations and Evidence for Educational Technology

Courseware Authoring

Seminar in Measurement and Statistics

Design of Research

Currently, that is, spring semester 1997, I am teaching Design of Research, the syllabus for which follows. Though this is only the third time that I have taught this course, it has already become known as "the course that would not die."



Dr. Walter Haney Spring 1997
319 Campion Hall
(O) (617) 552-4199 Thursdays, 4:30-6:15

This course considers topics pertaining to the conduct of research. Topics examined include conceptualization of research problems and hypotheses, sampling strategies, operationalizing variables, ethical concerns in conducting research and limits of research. A large part of the course is devoted to methodological strategies associated with various research designs including qualitative, historical, single subject, survey, experimental, quasi-experimental, and case study methods. Also discussed will be use of drawings in both qualitative and quantitative research and problems of moving between numbers and narrative in designing, conducting and explaining research.

Class will meet thirteen times: January 16, 23, 30; February 6, 13, 20, 27; March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24. (March 6 is during Boston College spring break week and no classes are held at BC on Holy Thursday March 27).

Grades will be based on assignments outlined below, a mid-term exam and the end of course paper. Students will be expected to attend class regularly and to participate in class discussions. Final grades may be affected positively by contributions which students make in class. In calculating final grades, satisfactory or even very good work on all the specific work assigned will earn no more than a grade of B+. The grade of A is taken to mean excellent and to imply work above and beyond the minimum specifics of work explicitly assigned.

The instructor will be available for consultation and/or special help outside of regularly scheduled class time by appointment (phone 552-4199, Room 319 Campion Hall or via EMail (Email address: via Internet) or during regular office hours (M, 3:30-5; W, Th 1:30-4 PM).

The required text for the course is:

Jaeger, R. M. (1988) Complementary methods for research in education. Washington, D.C. American Educational Research Association. (RJ)

Other readings will be distributed as handouts. Students in the class are urged to make use of telecommunications, for purposes of both communicating about the class and literature searching. Thus, if students do not yet have access to electronic mail, they are urged to get it within the first two weeks of the semester.


Abbreviations: T Topics of discussion
R Required Reading
A Assignments


Class 1 (January 16)
T: Introduction to course, to methodological issues in educational research, and discussion of student research interests.
R: RJ Section 1, Haney, refugee survey, 1971 (handout).
A: If you do not already have an Email account, sign up for a mail account at IPS. If you send a message of greeting to Haney at

Write a 1-2 page paper, addressing question 1 on page 19 of RJ. DUE Class 2. Think about strengths and weaknesses of refugee survey and extent to which "survey" was or was not ethical, and relied on multiple methods of inquiry.

Class 2 (January 23)
T: Overview of debates about qualitative versus quantitative methods of educational research.
R: RJ Section 3.
A: Write a short prospectus addressing what sort of course paper you are thinking of addressing, using which methodological approaches. DUE Class 4.
Class 3 (January 30)
T: Historical methods of educational research
R: RJ Section 2; Marshall & Barritt, 1990 (Handout)
A: Submit prospectus class four.


Class 4 (February 6)
T: Ethnographic research methods and ethics of research
R: RJ, Section 4; pp. 187-212, D. Dillon (handout)
A: Observation/interview exercise (details announced in class)


Class 5 (February 13)
T: Case study methods
R: RJ, section 5.
A: No new assignments


Class 6 (February 20)
T: Survey methods
R: RJ, section 6
A: Data analysis exercise (details announced in class).


Class 7 (February 27)
T: Comparative experimental methods
R: RJ, section 8
A: No new assignments


Class 8 (March 13)
T: Mid-term examination


Class 9 (March 20)
T: Quasi-experimental methods
R: RJ, section 8, handout on use of drawings
A: No new assignments.


Class 10 (April 3)
T: Use of drawings in research
R: Handouts.
A: No new assignments but draft of paper due class 11.


Class 11 (April 10)
T: Problems of moving between numbers and narrative
R: Handouts
Class 12 (April 17)
T: Using complementary methods
A: Draft of course paper due
Class 13 (April 24)
T: Presentations on course papers



Boston College

Spring 1997


The major assignment for this course is to write a research report or a research proposal (20 - 25 pages in length) using some of what you have learned in the course. If student papers take the form of a proposal, they should incorporate at least a small scale pilot test of research proposed. Though some students in the past have used this course to develop a draft of a dissertation proposal, this is by no means a requirement of the course. However, the course paper should take the form of some kind of proposed research or small scale research inquiry, including more than one kind of methodology.


The paper should include at least the following:

1) An introduction briefly describing what research you are proposing and why it is important to be done.

2) A literature covering both the substantive question or question being addressed and the methods being employed.

3) A description of the design of the research, analysis methods, findings and implications (which make include a proposal for larger scale research)

4) Bibliography using standard APA format (use APA style manual.)

A draft of the course paper will be required at least two weeks before the last meeting of the class. The final version of the course paper will be due at the last meeting of the class.


NOTE: Alternative formats for course papers/projects, such as manuscripts for publication or funding proposals may be considered. However, any such alternative must be proposed in writing by class 4 and be approved by the instructor.

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