FAM 690: RESEARCH METHODS IN FAMILY STUDIES
SPRING, 2001

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Instructor:       A. O'Malley, Ph.D.                                        Office:      305A Funkhouser
Class Meets:    Thursdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.                            Office Hours:   W   1:00-2:30
                        Tates Creek High School Room 213             *Other hours by appointment
Telephone:       (W) 257-1648  (H) 224-1395
Fax:                  224-0379
E-mail:           aomall@pop.uky.edu or ajomall@aol.com

Teaching Assistant:    Shan Kemp                                       Office:    215 Funkhouser
E-mail:     Shan9397@aol.com                                           Office Hours:      M 1:30-3:30
Telephone:    245-2544 (no calls after 10 pm)
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COURSE WEB SITE:    http://www.uky.edu/Classes/FAM/357
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COURSE DESCRIPTION:

The study of research techniques and methodological problems in family science/human development research. Emphasis is placed on understanding the research process and the tools of the researcher.
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REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS:

        Pavkov, T., &  Pierce, K. (2001). Ready, set, go: A student guide to SPSS 10.0 for Windows. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.

        Pyrczak, F., & Bruce, R. R. (2000). Writing empirical research reports: A basic guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.

        Wilkinson, W. K., & McNeil, K. (1996). Research for the helping professions. Los Angeles, CA: Brooks/Cole.

RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOK:

       American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

        Pyrczak, F. (2000). Making sense of statistics: A conceptual overview (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.


OBJECTIVES:

•To understand the basic concepts and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, measurement, and analysis.

•To develop an awareness of the ethical and professional responsibilities of the family researcher.

•To understand how family research differs from research with other social groups.

•To increase one's appreciation for the interrelatednesss of theory, practice, and research.

•To become a critical consumer of family and developmental research literature.

•To learn how to conceptualize a research problem and design a research project.
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INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS:

The course format will be lecture-discussion. Class discussion and class exercises are important components of the learning process.

Reasonable accommodations:  If you have a special need that may require an accommodation or assistance, please inform the instructor of that fact as soon as possible and no later than the end of the second class meeting.
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COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

1.  Class attendance and participation: Attendance is an essential ingredient of class participation. Each student is expected to attend all class sessions and to participate in class discussions and exercises.

Students are entitled to an excused absence for the purpose of observing major religious holidays. However, the instructor must be notified in writing by January 18, 2001.

*** Inclement weather: The instructor will decide by 4:30 p.m. Thursday if class is to be cancelled.

2.  Reading assignments are to be completed prior to each class session. This is essential. Class lectures, discussions, and exercises will assume that the student has control of the reading material.

3.  Midterm Exam:  There will be one exam (covering the reading assignments, class exercises, class discussions, and lecture material). Exams must be written with blue or black ink in blue examination books. Make-up exams will only be given in the case of documented excused absences. Make-up exams may differ in format from exams given during regularly scheduled exam times.

4.  Critiques:  Each student will critically analyze two developmental or family research studies as reported in refereed journals and will be prepared to discuss them in class.

5.  Research Proposal:  The major paper for this course will be a research proposal that conforms to the APA style. Each student will give a brief oral presentation (with appropriate handouts) of their proposal to the class.

6.  Class Presentation:  (See handout)

7. Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) SPSS Assignments
 

ALL ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE THOROUGHLY DISCUSSED AND EXPLAINED DURING CLASS SESSIONS. Handouts detailing components of assignments, formats for assignments, grading criteria, etc. will be available in class or on the class web site when the assignments are discussed. Students are responsible to get missed handouts, etc. from their classmates.

ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE TO BE TYPED. HANDWRITTEN/HAND PRINTED ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE READ BY THE INSTRUCTOR.

Assignments are due within the first ten minutes of the class session listed on this syllabus. Grades on late papers will be lowered one-half letter grade (5%) per day late (except in cases of documented excused absences as defined in the student handbook).
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GRADING:

The final grade for the course will reflect attendance and class participation as well as the scores earned on papers and exams.

Points will be awarded in the following manner:

                    Midterm Exam ......................................................................100 points
                    Class Attendance, Participation, & Exercises............................50
                    Critiques (2 @ 35 pts. each)....................................................70
                    Research Proposal (includes oral presentation).......................100
                    Class Presentation..……..........................................................30
                    RSG (SPSS Assignments)........................................................50
                    Total......................................................................................400

Students are required to complete the exam, all papers, and presentations in order to earn a grade of "C" or better for the course. Upon completion of all assignments, grades will be determined in the following manner:

                    360-400 = A
                    320-359 = B
                    280-319 = C
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ACADEMIC STANDARDS:

All members of the academic community are expected to produce their own scholastic work. When using outside sources, students are to give credit for ideas and information taken from others. The minimum penalty for cheating and plagiarism is an "E" for the course.
 
 

COURSE FOUNDATIONS:

Classroom Etiquette
 

  • Arrive on time. If you are late, take a seat near the door. If there are no seats near the door, you may stand or sit on the floor. DO NOT walk in front of classmates or the instructor once class has begun.

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  •  Remain present for the full class period. (Leaving class early will result in a recorded absence). Notify the instructor (in advance) if you have to leave class early.

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  • Remove all hats and caps upon entering the classroom.

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  • Turn pagers and cell phones off upon entering the classroom.

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  • No food is to be eaten during class sessions.

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  • Show respect for others by your speech, behavior, and body language.

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    Writing Skills
     

  • It is assumed that all students in this course can communicate effectively using standard written English. Assignments, in part, are designed to sharpen academic writing skills as well as to foster critical thinking/reflection related to the course content. Therefore, all out-of-class assignments will be evaluated for spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, and organization of ideas. Writing mechanics are important! The Writing Lab in the Young Library has been established to help students with writing skills. Use it if you need help!

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    TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE:

    For reading assignments the following abbreviations will be used:
    (WM) Wilkinson & McNeil ;(PB) Pyrczak & Bruce; (RSG) SPSS Assignments

    DATE          TOPIC                                                                        READING ASSIGNMENT

    Jan 11           Introduction to Course; Theory, Research, & the Profession           Syllabus

    Jan 18           Family and Human Development Research                                WM 1, 2, & 11
                         The Research Literature                                                                       RSG #1

    Jan 25           Developing the Plan                                                             WM 3, Appendix A
                        Proposal topic due at the beginning of class                          PB 1, 2, 3, & 6
                                                                                                                                   RSG #2

    Feb 1            Methods for Collecting Data                                                        WM 4
                                                                                                                                   RSG #3

    Feb 8            External Validity                                                                          WM 6
                                                                                                                                   RSG #4

    Feb 15          Multicultural Research                                                WM 7; Appendix F; PB 4, 5
                        Critique #1 due at the beginning of class                                        RSG #5

    Feb 22          MIDTERM EXAM or February 21 @ 1-3 p.m. 316 FB

    Mar 1            Nonexperimental Research                                                            WM 8
                                                                                                                                   RSG #6

    Mar 8           Library Day: Class will not meet                                        Work on Proposal

    Mar 15           Spring Break: Academic Holiday

    Mar 22          Experimental Research                                                                   WM 5, 9
                                                                                                                                   RSG #7

    Mar 29          Analyzing and Interpreting Research Results            WM 10; PB 8, Appendix C
                                                                                                                                   RSG #8

    Apr 5           Research Proposal due at the beginning of class    WM 11; PB Appendix A & B
                        Proposal Presentations                                                                    RSG #9

    Apr 12          Library Day: Class will not meet                                       Work on Critique #2

    Apr 19          Proposal Presentations                                                                    RSG #10

    Apr 26          Proposal Presentations
                        Critique #2 due at the beginning of class

    May 3          Proposal Presentations (No Final)