This class is designed
to help students learn the process of research design as it applies to specific
areas of interest. This involves (a) learning how to identify existing
research on a subject, (b) learning how to assimilate an understanding of
this existing scholarship into one's own interest in better understanding
a specific problem, (c) learning how to develop new questions that form a
basis for new research activities that contribute to, amend, or broaden the
existing scholarship in a given area, (d) learning how to assess and implement
appropriate information gathering techniques for expanding knowledge about
specific problems, and (e) learning how to assess, evaluate, and examine
information gathered towards addressing questions related to specific problems.
This class is writing intensive. Students will be expected
to complete a research paper the demonstrates their understanding of the
literature related to the problem they choose as the basis for their study,
states a specific question based on the understanding of the previous research
on this topic, appropriately selects a methodolgical approach for investigation
of this problem, and a describes the outcomes of this research project as
well as its broader implications for future study of the problem. Students
are expected to demonstrate an ability to write about the results of their
study as well as to provide an oral description of their work.
the use of computers in research and communication
The approach to instruction will be guide students in developing a research paper that identifies and describes a researchable problem through conducting a review of the literature related to that problem, provides a problem justification, and describes an appropriate methodology and analysis and describes the outcomes of an implemented study of the problem. This paper should ultimately describe research that provides a unique contribution to the understanding of a social, environmental, or urban problem of interest to the student based on demonstrated understanding of the existing research related to that problem.
1. Development of a 20-30 page research report (guidelines will be discussed in class) that describes the research project that you engaged in during the semester. The topic of this paper must be approved by the course instructor, along with your work plan, and methodological approach. This class will provide you with a structure and discussion about how to develop this paper. You are expected to attend class and complete all of the interim assignments that will lead up to the final report. (Final report - 50% of final grade)
2. Oral presentation
of your research topic. This presentation is to consist of the following
3. Five Interim assignments
are designed to breakdown the research process step - by - step. You are
responsible for completing all assignments that lead to the development of
your final project. (25% of final grade).
4. Class attendance
and participation: Students are expected to attend all classes. Students
are responsible for material covered during missed class time. No adjustments
to the course expectations will be made due to missed class time. Moreover,
since this is a research intensive course, students are expected to spend
a minimum of three hours per hour of course instruction working independently
on their research topics. Students who do not prepare for class will not
be provided with feedback until they have demonstrated that they have put
forward the necessary effort to fulfill the course assignments.
3.7 - 4.0
Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible. Disability Resources and Services at 215-204-1280 in 100 Ritter Annex can be contacted to coordinate reasonable accommodations for this class.
Learning Materials and Readings
This course will make use of Internet resources for research, including instruction in the use of secondary data sources, on-line catalog searches for previous research, on-line readings, and web resource centers related to topics of interest.
All students will complete an individualized reading list related to their research topic that will be approved by the instructor during the first five weeks of the class. This reading list will serve as the basis for developing the literature review. Students will also be provided with a comprehensive set of resources based on their topics of interest throughout the semester. These will be posted on updated versions of the course website.
Week 1 - Introduction and "Contact"
Week 2 - Discussion of film "Contact" and introduction of course themes
Week 3 - Developing an individualized reading list to support writing a literature review
Week 4 - Library Research Skills
Week 5 - Annotated Bibliography Workshop
Week 6 - Methods 1 - Using and generating data sets
Week 7 - Methods 2 - Quantitative approaches for creating data sets
Week 8 - Methods 3 - Qualitative approaches for creating data sets
Week 9 - Methods 4 - How to interpret results from study
Week 10 - Writing the final report
Week 11 - Formatting the final report
Week 12 - 14 -- Final Presentations
© MMMasucci 2003
The film “Contact” will serve as an introduction to three themes
we will discuss during this semester as part of the objective of identifying,
describing and applying methods in the fields of Geography and Research Methods.
The themes are:
Here are some notes that I wish to add to Dr. Joyce's presentation:
Please investigate the site to learn more about how data is gathered.
While scale and scope differ in gathering information from far away places
as compared with say remote sensing techniques for gathering information
from the surface of the earth, the researcher must address the dillema of
how to define relevant data in terms of the problem at hand. What you should
be reflecting on is the analogy between Dr. Arroway's problem (does extra
terrestrial life exist) and creating a dataset from observations (in her
case, radio signals, video tape, and her own perceptions) that can be drawn
upon to address the problem at hand.