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Research Design

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Research Design

This topic teaches students about different ways that researchers can structure qualitative and quantitative research projects. Students learn about design options for randomized control experiments, quasi-experiments and regression analyses. Specific types of research design discussed may be RCT trials, “difference in differences” regression analysis, ethnographic studies and case control studies.

Topic Learning Outcome: Students will be able to describe the most important types of study design, will be knowledgeable about the advantages and disadvantages of each, and will be able to offer informed opinions about the most appropriate study design to analyze specific social science questions.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Focus Groups; Econometrics; Quasi-experimental Design; Research Design; Single Observation Design; Qualitative Methods; Qualitative Research.

Recommended Reading

Carleton: PADM-5113

Bryman, Alan, James Teevan, and Edward Bell. 2009. Social Research Methods. 2nd Canadian edition. Oxford UP, pp, 21-41.

King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton UP, pp. 12-19.

Neuman, Lawrence W. 2011. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 7th ed. Allyn & Bacon, pp. 124-125; 133-143.  

Quadagno, Jill. 2004. “Why the United States Has No National Health Insurance: Stakeholder Mobilization Against the Welfare State, 1945-1996.” Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 45 (Extra Issue): 25-44.

Harvard Kennedy School: API-201

Moore, D., McCabe G., & Craig, B. (2014). Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, 8th Revised Edition. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. Chapter 9.1-9.3. 

George Washington: PPPA-6002

De Veaux, Richard D., Paul F. Velleman, and David E. Bock. Stats: Data and Models. Boston: Pearson/Addison Wesley, 2005. Chapter 1 from p. 12 onwards and Chapter 6 through to p. 153. 

UCLA: PP-208

Wooldridge, Jeffrey. Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach. Cengage Learning, 2012.

Possible Assessment Questions:

1.)   What is a quasi-experimental research design? Provide one example (real or a hypothetical one that you make up) that illustrates what a quasi-experimental research project is.

2.)   What is a longitudinal study, and when might a researcher decide to use this research design for a research project?

3.)   What type of research design is sometimes called the “gold standard” for social science research, and why?

4.)  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the case study approach to social science research?

Page Created By: Ben Eisen and Joshua Tan, last edited 4 November, 2014.

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School of Public Policy and Governance