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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 18, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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Minimum Credits: 3
Maximum Credits: 3
This seminar provides knowledge and skills in designing quantitative and mixed methods research. The term research design refers to a strategy or plan for getting the best possible answers to research questions. When we want to conduct research that helps solve practical problems, these questions tend to be about causal inferences linking policy and management interventions to socially valued outcomes. In a policy and management context, research designs usually answer the question: ‘what works?’ Research in policy and management is often based on inadequate research designs, that is, research designs that fail to provide plausible answers to research questions. In an effort to address these inadequacies there has been a movement toward experimental and quasi-experimental research designs in areas of health, education, welfare, security, energy, and the environment. Indeed, in the past two decades we have seen a virtual explosion of experiments, quasi-experiments, and natural experiments in the social sciences and social professions. The term mixed methods refers to the concurrent use of quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. ‘Qualitative’ methods do not refer merely to non-quantitative methods, for example, methods of case study analysis or small-n research. The term ‘qualitative’ properly refers to methods for making sense of, or interpreting, actions in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Ethnography is a qualitative method; case study research, when it fails to uncover the meanings of actions to persons other than ourselves as researchers, is qualitative only in the limited sense that it involves small nonrandom samples which prohibit the use of common quantitative procedures such as correlation and regression analysis. When genuine qualitative methods such as ethnographic interviews and focus groups are used in conjunction with quantitative modeling techniques we usually use the term “mixed method.”
Academic Career: Graduate
Course Component: Seminar
Grade Component: Grad Letter Grade
Course Requirements: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs students only.

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