The course is an introduction to quantitative methods in social science research in general and educational research in particular. It has several objectives. It aims to facilitate students’ ability to read published research and make informed decisions about the quality and rigour employed in research papers. It aims to introduce students to the processes of quantitative methods and, in so doing, facilitate their being able to undertake an appropriately warranted statistical study for themselves. It aims to examine the theoretical underpinnings of both data collection and analysis in ways that will demystify quantitative research. Thus, the course will focus on a range of issues pertaining not only to data analysis, which is clearly a major focus of what we will cover, but the nature of quantitative data and how it is gathered in systematic and warranted ways.
Students will not be expected to have a background in mathematics, but a willingness to engage in some basic arithmetic will be helpful. Any serious statistical calculations will be undertaken with the aid of appropriate software, as this is how any statistical analyses are managed in the real world.