Guiding Principles

Each program in the College of Education has its own sequence of research courses and experiences. Each program's research sequence must meet the six guiding principles of inquiry offered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2002). These guiding principles are:

  • To pose significant questions that can be investigated empirically;
  • To link research to relevant theory;
  • To use methods that permit direct investigation of the question;
  • To provide an explicit and coherent chain of reasoning;
  • To replicate and generalize across studies; and
  • To make research public to encourage professional scrutiny and critique.

Plan Requirements

Each PhD program/subprogram in the College of Education must have clearly identified research requirements. These requirements must:

  • Consist of courses and/or credit-bearing experiences that include exposure to quantitative, qualitative, and research design elements.
  • Consist of a minimum of 15 required semester hours. 
  • Create a sequence of educational courses/experiences that prompt students to gain advanced competence in at least one methodological approach, while at the same time not being restricted to only one approach.
  • Include either PSQF:6241 (Quantitative Policy Analysis for Practitioners), PSQF:6243 (Intermediate Statistical Methods), or a course comparable in content coverage and level of rigor to one or both of these courses.
  • Ensure that students meet the following benchmarks in qualitative research:
    1. Students are introduced to the philosophical foundations of qualitative research and how that lens differs from the foundations that typically underlie research that is more quantitative in nature, and how that lens can enhance our understanding of phenomena.
    2. Students are introduced to a number of typical qualitative traditions including but not limited to case study, grounded theory, ethnography, and phenomenology.
    3. Students will become critical consumers of qualitative research.
    4. Students are introduced to fundamental aspects of qualitative research including development and evolution of research questions, general design, basic data collection methods, development of protocols for data collection, and basic analysis. 
    5. Because a sound way to learn about qualitative research is to engage in data collection processes, students will collect data that includes, at minimum, one observation and one interview (one-on-one and/or focus group).
    6. Students are introduced to, and held accountable in their work for, ensuring trustworthiness of data and interpretations, and ethical considerations, particularly those that are potentially unique to qualitative research.
    7. Students are introduced to the limitations of a general qualitative course and are encouraged to pursue additional qualitative work (courses or other types of field experiences) prior to completing a qualitative or mixed methods dissertation if that is a research goal they will pursue.

(2014; references and course numbers updated 2023)