PS645: Research Methods for Public
Administrators, Fall 2009
Dr. Jeremy Walling
Office: Carnahan 311R Office phone: 651-2691
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://cstl-cla.semo.edu/walling/ps103
Office Hours: MW 9:30-10:00 and
11:00-12:00; or by appointment
PS645 is designed to meet the methodology
requirement of the MPA program. This course provides a foundation in the theory
and practice of applied research methodology for public administrators, from
conceptualization to data analysis. The goal is to equip you to manage your own
research projects, become a more informed consumer of research, and to help you
develop your Master's internship projects. We will cover qualitative and
quantitative methods, with an emphasis on practical data analysis. The material
to be covered in this course is critical to the professional development of
anyone pursuing a career in public administration, whether or not they plan to
be a research practitioner.
Texts: Research Methods for Public Administrators, 5th Edition, O’Sullivan, Rassel and Berner (Required); Evaluation Research, Weiss (On Reserve). In addition, materials may be placed on reserve and/or online.
Optional Statistics Software—I have registered this class with the company that produces the Stata statistical analysis software package. As a result, you have the option of purchasing a copy of Stata at a significantly discounted rate. Although we do not have time to incorporate a statistics package into the day-to-day activities of this course, it is recommended for those of you who plan to work in a field that utilizes data management and analysis. I am willing to work with any students who wish to learn this software package. If you wish to take advantage of this program, go here: http://www.stata.com/coursegp.html. Use JWPS09 for the ID.
Expectations: This course will be administered as a seminar. Although some classes will feature traditional lectures, the emphasis will be placed upon class discussion and interaction. As a result, a high premium is placed upon student participation.
Grades: The grades in this course will be determined by performance on two examinations, a term paper and presentation, two article presentations, and class discussion. Grades will follow the traditional scale (90%=A, 80%=B, 70%=C, 60%=D, <60%=F.).
Exams: 2 @ 100 pts each = 200 pts.
Term Paper = 100 pts.
Homework = 100 pts.
Class Participation = 50 pts.
Total = 450 pts.
Examinations: There will be two major examinations in the course. Since the material is cumulative in nature, the final exam will have a comprehensive component to it. The exams will require you to apply the course material in practical situations. Most likely these will be take home exams. Late exams will suffer a letter grade per day penalty.
a) Your paper will consist of the first three sections of your MPA internship paper (a statement of objectives; a review of relevant literature; and an internship plan and/or research design with a statement of data and methodology). Students will meet with me (and probably your advisor) to discuss the direction and scope of this project.
b) Students who are not on the MPA track or who are not far enough along in the program to have settled on an internship: Your paper will be a research design of a program evaluation. Although you will not be required to conduct the program evaluation, the paper should contain:
1) a literature review of the theories that support your project; and 2) a discussion of the theory and methodology that you propose to evaluate the effectiveness of a real government/non-profit program.
In either case, you will be expected to present your projects to the class. Late papers will not be accepted.
Class Participation: Since this is an upper division/graduate course, class participation is expected. Although attendance will not be graded, it should be noted that attendance is a necessary condition for participation.
Homework: The purpose of this course is to provide you with practical skills and techniques to be applied in a professional setting. Weekly assignments are designed to help you to acquire these skills. Late homework will suffer a letter grade per day penalty.
on papers and cheating on exams will not be tolerated. Evidence of cheating will
result in a zero grade on that assignment. The official statement about academic
honesty, including plagiarism, may be accessed at:
Special Needs—Please see me if you have a disability that requires alternative arrangements or circumstances. I’ll assist you in any manner possible.
August 25: The Research Question and Models
--O, R, B Chapter 1
September 1: Research Designs: Descriptive
September 8: Research Designs: Explanatory
Chapter 3; Weiss Chapter 1
September 15: Measurement
Chapter 4; Weiss Chapter 2
September 22: Sampling Techniques
Chapter 5; Weiss Chapter 3
September 29: Survey Research Methodology
Chapter 6; Weiss Chapter 4
October 6: Primary Data Collection
October 13: Ethical and
Logistical Issues/First Exam Distributed
--ORB Chapter 8; Weiss Chapter 5
October 20: Secondary Data Analysis/First Exam Due
--ORB Chapter 9
October 27: Index Construction
Chapter 10; Weiss Chapter 6
November 3: Univariate Analysis
November 10: Hypothesis Testing
November 17: Measures of Association and ANOVA
November 24: Regression and Correlation
December 1: Completing the Project/Final Exam Distributed
--ORB Chapter 15
December 8: Paper
Presentations/Final Exam Due
December 15: Paper Presentations/Papers Due