Help EDR725 : Syllabus : Syllabus

Syllabus - Qualitative Research



Course Name:

EDR 725, Qualitative Research

  Fall '02 Semester


Mary I. Dereshiwsky, Ph.D.
  Associate Professor,
  Educational Leadership & Research
Office Location: Eastburn Education Building,
  Room 207K (2nd floor)
Office Telephone: (928) 523-1892
E-mail Address: statcatmd@aol.com
Office Hours: By prior arrangement/appointment
Course Objectives: This course is intended to prepare students to:

1. understand the nature of qualitative research procedures and how they compare to more traditional quantitative procedures (i.e., relative advantages/disadvantages of each approach);

2. identify a number of different ways to collect qualitative data (i.e., individual/group interviewing; participant-observer journaling) and compare the relative tradeoffs of each approach;

3. understand how to summarize, compile and report qualitative data, in both narrative and visual matrix or other graphic/tabular display formats;

4. as the final course paper, prepare a defensible doctoral research proposal which employs at least one method of collecting and analyzing qualitative data.


What You Will Need:

Access to an Internet account at home, school or work
Ideally this should be your student dana account!!!
Other Internet providers may not work well with our Website and Virtual Conference Center (VCC).

- Ability to access the Internet/World Wide Web site of our course.

*** You must maintain your e-mail and Internet access connection for the duration of the course (entire Fall ‘02 semester, 8/26/02 through 12/13/02). ***

How the Internet Component of the Class Will Work:

  1. You'll start by sending me an e-mail message addressed to:


    containing the following information:

    1. Your name;
    2. Your mailing address(es);
    3. Your contact telephone number(s);
    4. Your FAX number if you have one -- not required -- the phone and FAX numbers are just in case I should ever need to reach you quickly and another way (an answer to a question, a sudden change in schedule, etc.);

  2. Our course materials are located on the following Web site (URL):


  3. These course materials are organized as follows:

    Five modules:

    Each of which contains from one to four topics:

    And each of these topics ends with one or more of the following types of specific assignments:

    - Individual assignments;

    - Group assignments; and/or

    - Web-based assignments.


    *** I also provide all EDR 725 Qualitative students with access to my EDR 610 Introduction to Research materials as well! You are welcome to download as much of my EDR 610 Intro to Research curriculum as you wish, for your review or records, from the following Website/URL:


    ***In addition, you may wish to download and study some of the online course materials for EDR 720 Research Design. These provide guidance on how to develop a defensible doctoral research proposal. Here is the URL for these EDR 720 course materials:


  4. You'll navigate to our Web site/URL, print out and study the topics contained in each module, and complete each type of assignment by the due dates listed in this syllabus.

  5. IMPORTANT: Please post INDIVIDUAL assignments and your final paper (doctoral proposal) IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE CENTER (VCC) FOLDER WITH YOUR NAME.

  6. In other words, PLEASE DISREGARD the TEXT SUBMISSION BOX at the end of INDIVIDUAL VCC ASSIGNMENTS and please INSTEAD post your completed individual assignment in your designated VCC folder;

    File attachments will NOT be accepted or reviewed under ANY circumstances.

  7. Please post GROUP assignments in the VCC folder labeled by that particular group assignment.

  8. If you need extra help with any computer/Internet based activities, there are plenty of help and extra practice resources available!

    1. Our home page for the course (our preceding URL) has a "Help" button and other links to special resources and assistance; and

    2. The NAUOnline Web page contains similar resources, including a button/link that will let you ‘road test a course online’ and practice your Internet navigational skills. The NAUOnline URL is:


    3. Important contact telephone numbers for the Academic Computing Services Help Desk in case you should need technical assistance are as follows:

      For locally based (Flagstaff area) students: 523-9294
      Toll-free number for long-distance students
      : 1-888-520-7215

      You are also expected to check our Virtual Conference Center (VCC) at least every other day, and ideally every day, particularly the following areas:

      (a) VCC "Announcements and Updates" folder;

      (b) VCC "Questions and Answers" folder;

      (c) VCC "Newsletters" folder.

      Please post any questions related to our course curriculum, syllabus, how we do things, etc. in our VCC "Questions and Answers" folder! You might check this folder first, as well as "Announcements and Updates," to see whether your question has already been answered.

      Please use direct e-mail to the instructor only for highly confidential and/or personal urgent communications! Instead, please post unanswered questions in the VCC "Questions and Answers" folder. I will check our VCC at least once every day and endeavor to respond to all questions within 24 business hours. This will help reduce e-mail 'traffic flow' in general, thereby helping to ensure my timely return of detailed feedback on your e-mailed assignments.

    *** I am also online every day, including weekends! I also check for voice-mail messages several times daily! Thus, if you ever have a question regarding the assignments, please e-mail or call me and chances are, I'll be right back in touch with you within the day!

  9. You are strongly encouraged to contact me anytime
    (e-mail, by phone, in person, etc.)
    with any questions or concerns you might have!
    I believe that every problem is solvable
    (or at least improvable) if we:
    a) communicate openly and honestly about it; and
    b) put our heads together to brainstorm possible solutions.

    But I need you to tell me what's working,
    what's not working, and
    how we can make things better for you!

    Due Dates for Assignments (all assignments are due on or before 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on the dates shown in this section):

    ***Week of Monday, 8/26/02 (first official day of instruction): please familiarize yourself with our Web site, navigate to the URL, begin to download and print out our course materials, use the "Help" and other resource buttons provided on our Web page to gain practice in any specific task(s) with which you may be unfamiliar, etc. In addition, you should send me your initial e-mail message with required startup information (name, contact address(es), telephone number(s), FAX number if you have one), during this first week.

The following table lists the learning modules, topics within each module, and related assignments, along with their due dates. You are also responsible for reading and studying the related electronic textbook sections prior to doing the assignments. These appear as hyperlinks on our Website and are contained within each topic.

URGENT: Students who have NOT checked in with me by e-mail with their contact information by 5:00 p.m. MST on Friday, 8/30/02 will be externally administratively withdrawn (involuntarily dropped) from the course. This is a university-wide policy, regardless of course format, and is explained in greater detail in the NAU Graduate Catalog.


URGENT ASSIGNMENT SUBMISSION UPDATE: All assignments MUST be submitted EXACTLY on the due date specified.

For all listed due dates, 5:00 p.m., Mountain Standard Time is the assumed deadline.

You may submit 'early' assignments NO MORE THAN ONE DAY PRIOR TO THE STATED DUE DATE.

Early (more than one day prior to stated due date) submissions will be assessed a three-point penalty.

Assignments submitted after 5:00 p.m. on the due date will be penalized one (1) point for every day late up to three (3) days. Assignments submitted more than three (3) days past the due date will not be reviewed or annotated and will receive an effective grade of zero points.

This reinforces the fact that you must remain continually and actively engaged in our course throughout its duration.



Due Date for ANY/ALL Assignments Included in This Topic (individual, group, and/or Web-based)


IMPORTANT: In the case of VCC assignments where you are asked to make your own initial posting and also go back and review others' postings, the due date shown below refers to YOUR INITIAL posting. You then have ONE CALENDAR WEEK from this due date to go back and review and make comments on your classmates' VCC postings, as per the stated directions of the individual VCC assignment.

Module #1: "A Fine Mess"

Topic #1: Introduction to the Course:

Group Assignment #1: Register in the VCC (not graded; prerequisite learning activity)

Web Activity #1: Search the Web on Qualitative Research

Tuesday, 9/3/02

Module #1: "A Fine Mess"

Topic #2: Qualitative Research Highlights & Differences:

Assignment #1: Share Your Story

Assignment #2: Analyze Qualitative Research Studies

Monday, 9/9/02


Module #2: Strategies for Qualitative Research

Topic #1: Research & Design Strategies:

Assignment #1: Identify Qualitative Design & Data Collection Techniques

Assignment #2: Mini-Qualitative Study—What’s Your Problem

Group Assignment #1: Share & Discuss Your Topic


Monday, 9/16/02

Module #2: Strategies for Qualitative Research

Topic #2: Strategies for Compiling & Reporting Qualitative Data:

Assignment #1: Identify Analysis & Reporting Procedures

Web Activity #1: Keeping Things Plumb in Qualitative Research

Monday, 9/23/02


Module #2: Strategies for Qualitative Research

Topic #3: Qualitative Population & Sampling Procedures:

Assignment #1: Identify Sampling Procedures

Assignment #2: Describe Your Sampling Procedures

Crossword Puzzle #1: Review the QR Terminology (not graded: for self/test, self-enrichment only)

Web Activity #1: Join a Qualitative Research Listserv

Monday, 9/30/02

Module #3: Essentials of Participant Observation

Topic #1: Participant and Observer:

Web Activity: Become a Participant-Observer

Monday, 10/7/02

Module #3: Essentials of Participant Observation

Topic #2: The 5 Dimensions of Participant Observation:

Assignment #1: Your Participant-Observer Field Notes

Group Assignment #1: Ethics in Fieldwork

Monday, 10/14/02


Module #4: Interviewing in Qualitative Research

Topic #1: Introduction to Interviewing:

Assignment #1: Create a Grid of Interview Questions

Assignment #2: Do a Practice Interview

Monday, 10/21/02

Module #4: Interviewing in Qualitative Research

Topic #2: Focus Group Interviewing Part I:

Assignment #1: Focus on Focus Groups

Monday, 10/28/02

Module #4: Interviewing in Qualitative Research

Topic #3: Focus Group Interviewing Part II:

Assignment #1: Sample Focus Group Interview Protocol

Web Activity #1: Ethics Scavenger Hunt

Monday, 11/4/02

Module #5: Making Sense of It All

Topic #1: A 2nd Look at Data Compilation & Analysis:

Assignment #1: Find or Create a Typology

Web Activity #1: Review a Qualitative Research Report

Tuesday, 11/12/02


Module #5: Making Sense of It All

Topic #2: When the Data Doesn’t Fit:

Group Activity #1: Qual "vs." Quant Research: The Wrong Question?

Monday, 11/18/02

Module #5: Making Sense of It All

Topic #3: Evaluating the Credibility of Qualitative Research

Assignment #1: Assess Credibility of Your Two Research Articles

Assignment #2: Qualitative Research Proposal

Wednesday, 12/4/02


*** You should keep copies of all assignments submitted to me for your own records.


Grading Policy:

Percentage of Course Grade
Total of all assignments





Doctoral research proposal


Additional IMPORTANT Grading & Student Evaluation Policies

  1. Proficiency in both e-mail use (sending/receiving) and Internet navigation (accessing Web sites/URLs/links) are necessary so as to enable you to fully concentrate on the research material for the course. It would create an unfair ‘dual burden’ for you to have to learn the computing navigational skills at the same time that you are also learning the research material. Therefore, students who are discovered not to possess these stated computer prerequisites will be externally administratively withdrawn (involuntary dropped) from the course. Likewise, students who do not send me their contact information during the first week of the Fall '02 semester will be subject to external administrative withdrawal from the course.

  2. It is each student’s responsibility -- not the instructor’s or NAU’s -- to secure dependable access to computing equipment and/or facilities in advance of the beginning of the course (8/26/02).

  3. Students in the Fall ‘02 session of EDR 725 Qualitative Research must agree to comply with the stated due dates as per the syllabus, even if they are in a different academic major and subject to different due dates within their own individual academic departments generally. Assignments submitted after the announced due dates (please see earlier listing) will be subject to the following "lateness penalty:" one point will be deducted for each day that the assignment is late (and please see following point);

  4. Assignments that are three or more days late will not be accepted or graded. The recorded grade for such assignments will be zero points. In the case of the final paper (doctoral research proposal), any submissions past 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 12/4/02 will likewise not be accepted or graded.

    IMPORTANT RELATED POINT: Massive submissions of past-due assignments will not be reviewed and will result in an automatic grade of ‘F’ for the course;

  5. Students are expected to make a good-faith commitment to be fully engaged in the course during the entire scheduled semester of its duration. Therefore, students who are ‘absent offline’ for three or more days for any reason MUST agree to withdraw from the course. Provided that you have been doing acceptable work up until the point of absence, you will receive a ‘withdraw pass’ as your recorded grade;

  6. Students must agree to implement in good faith any recommendations I may have for them at any time in the interests of improving their course performance. Such recommendations may include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

    (a) referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for individual tutorial assistance;

    (b) referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for help with study skills;

    (c) referral to the NAU Learning Assistance Center for help with time management skills;

    (d) referral to Cline Library for help with locating research sources.

A Word on "Attitude"

In a course such as this, where we have opportunities to work more flexibly and directly one-on-one regarding your learning needs, it is even more critical to keep in mind how a "good attitude" can greatly facilitate our working in positive partnership on your learning needs! For purposes of this course, we might consider a "good attitude" to be defined as follows:

1. A willingness to be 'open and up-front' with me about any problems, concerns, even suggestions on 'how to make things better' in a prompt, timely, honest manner; and

2. A corresponding willingness to work actively and positively with me on resolution of any such problems, concerns, etc. This means being willing to listen to my suggestions for resolution; to offer your own reactions to my ideas; to implement whatever solutions we jointly agree upon; and to provide me with 'progress reports' on what's working, what's not working, etc.

In that regard:

1. Reporting a problem to me right away and being open to my ideas for solving it would be indicative of "a very good attitude:"

2. On the other hand, keeping a problem to yourself, letting it fester, build up, upset you internally, but trying to conceal it from us and saying nothing to me about it, "pretending nothing is wrong" and/or "wishing and hoping it'll get better by itself," would be indicative of "a very bad attitude."

*** Please don't hesitate to follow up with me if you would like further clarification of this vitally important course expectation!!! ***

*** The biggest single cause of problems that arise is PROCRASTINATION!! It leads to unnecessary stress and difficulty--which can be avoided by pacing yourself appropriately!

It is important for you to set aside regular study time (daily, weekly, etc.) to make regular progress on your course reading, assignments, and related responsibilities. The NAU Graduate College estimates a minimum of 15-20 hours per week to study and prepare for each course as the norm for graduate students.

- -

*** IMPORTANT: This course does NOT carry the option of a grade of "Incomplete." You may at any time elect to accept a grade of "Withdraw", which would enable you to re-enroll for the course at a future date and time.

- - -

*** The primary keys to success in this course may be summarized in two steps:

(1) Keeping up with the work (reading, assignments, and related responsibilities) in a timely manner; and

(2) Notifying me PROMPTLY and HONESTLY of any problems you may be experiencing!

- - -

Policy on Academic Honesty, Integrity, Plagiarism, etc. The policies, rules and regulations set forth in the current NAU Student Handbook shall apply to this course. For more information, please contact NAU’s Office of Student Life (928-523-5181).

Just one more thing --
please remember that I'm ready, willing and eager to do my best
to make this a productive and enjoyable experience for you!

Once you have finished you should:

Go back to Qualitative Research

E-mail M. Dereshiwsky at statcatmd@aol.com
Call M. Dereshiwsky at (520) 523-1892


Copyright © 2000 Northern Arizona University