Quantitative Methods in Education Research


Instructor: K Subramaniam

Credits: 4

Duration: 14th Jan to 26th Apr 2013


The aim of the course is to prepare students to understand and critically evaluate the use of quantitative techniques in education and in education research, as well as to use these techniques for their own research. The course will aim to lay the foundation for interpreting and applying quantitative techniques, but students wanting to use them in their own research will need to invest in further study. The course has broadly 2 aspects. The first aspect will deal with collecting quantitative data and with issues and techniques in measuring psychological attributes, mainly ability and attitude. The second aspect will deal with statistical concepts and techniques in analyzing quantitative data. Both descriptive analysis and drawing inferences on the basis of a sample will be the focus. Ideas about probability necessary for statistical inferences will be developed.

All the discussion in the course will be situated in the context of educational practice and research. Students will learn about practical aspects of research as well as have an opportunity to do data collection and analysis in the course. This will be done through short tutorial exercises as well as longer assignments. The open statistical software package R will be used throughout the course and participants will acquire a familiarity with its power and ease of use.

The course will use material from a combination of textbooks as well as supplementary material. I have listed the basic textbooks below. In addition to these, we will be including supplementary material in the form of articles or book chapters.
1.(GM) Greer, B., & Mulhern, G. A. (2010). Making sense of data and statistics in psychology, 2nd Edition. Palgrave, Macmillan. (Available in the HBCSE library. This is an excellent introduction to the use of quantitative methods. It is easy to read, full of examples and covers the basic ideas and methods. It is worth reading all the chapters in the book.)
2.(CMM) Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education, 7th Edition. Routledge. Special Indian Edition by Cambridge University Press India. (This is a very detailed book introducing the reader to education research. We will be doing some chapters from the book.)
3.(TT) Thorndike R.M. & Thorndike-Christ, T.M. (2010). Measurement and Evaluation in Psychology and Education, 8th Edition, Prentice-Hall, India. (This book deals more directly with issues of testing and measurement.)
The following book deals with the statistical concepts and ideas underlying education research more satisfactorily than the books listed above. We will do a few chapters from this book.
•(FT) Ferguson, G. A., & Takane, Y. (1989). Statistical Analysis in Psychology and Education McGraw-Hill-Book Company. Hilldsale, NJ.
There are many free online resources for learning R. You can explore these and choose what is best for you.

Below is a list of topics to be covered together with the basic readings. The readings suggested may be modified as the course develops, and supplementary readings will be included. Depending on participants' interest and availability of time, additional topics may be added.


Topics No. of Lectures
Context of Educational Research: CMM-Chp 1-4 3
The problem of measurement in psychology: TT-Chp 1: pp. 7-16, MG-Chp 2 1
Introduction to R 1
Describing, summarizing and seeing patterns in data: MG-Chp 3-5, CMM-Chp 35, (Optional FT-Chp 4, FT-Chp 8) 3
Designing surveys: CMM-Chp 13 & Chp 20 2
Giving meaning to scores, reliability, validity: TT-Chp 3-5 2
Designing testing: TT-Chp 6 & Chp 9 2
Probability: MG-Chp 6, FT-Chp 6-7 2
Sampling theory: FT-Chp 9 2
Statistical significance: MG-Chp 7-8, 10 3
Measuring Attitudes: TT-Chp 11 2
Experimental methods: MG-Chp 9 2
Comparing more than two groups and more than one indpt variable: MG-Chp 11-15 5
Sampling: CMM-Chp 8 2

•Class participation (including tutorial work) – 20%
•Assignment 1 (Survey data) – 20%
•Assignment 2 (Achievement test) – 20%
•Assignment 3 (Attitude measurement) – 20%
•Final oral exam – 20%

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