Course Title: Research Practicum

            Instructor Professors Lena Astin and Elaine El-Khawas
           Institution UCLA
  Office Numbers 310.825.2709
E-mail addresses and

The three quarter 299 research practicum is designed to provide students with research experience prior to their undertaking dissertation research. The purpose of the seminar is to provide faculty guidance and peer support for students undertaking the three quarter independent research practicum requirement. The goal of the seminar is to produce research of publishable quality, which may or may not be related to the eventual dissertation. The choice of research topic is open and up to the student. Students may also choose to collaborate with each other on a joint topic.

Because a year long task needs structure to make it more manageable, students will be required to submit work for evaluation on a quarterly basis. By the end of the Fall quarter, students will complete their literature reviews and submit a detailed research proposal, which will guide the actual research, including data collection and analysis, to be undertaken during the Winter quarter. By the end of the Winter quarter, the actual research should be completed (e.g., data collected, analyzed) and the results submitted in a draft paper. Spring quarter will be spent on revision and presentation of the work in public faculty/student colloquia.

This class, the first of a three-quarter sequence, is intended to equip the student with first-hand knowledge of appropriate research methods and discourse. The seminar also builds on knowledge and understanding acquired in 250C (Theoretical Perspectives of Higher Education). At the conclusion of the three-quarter sequence, the student should be able to ask a significant research question, conceptualize and complete a research study designed to answer it, and move quickly to a written dissertation proposal and completed dissertation.

The first quarter will follow the outline shown below:

Introductions; reach consensus on purposes and objectives; discussion of faculty and student expectations and class outline; discussion of research methods and arguments surrounding them.

Assignment: Reader: Section 1 - Lincoln; Cook & Cambell; Peterson

Discussion of qualitative and quantitative research methods presented in articles read. Present one-paragraph research question to be discussed by students and faculty. Develop questions for October 8 panel.

Assignment: Find one article that describes a research method that takes into account how students believe truth is pursued, and that best answers studentsŐ research question. Write a one-page description of the article for presentation in class. Reader: Section 2 - Anderson; Peshkin; Goertz

Panel discussion on research methods (e.g., Sandy Astin, Kris Gutierrez, Pat McDonough, and Bengt Muthen); discussion of studentsŐ paper on articles read; discuss strengths and weakness of various methodologies.

Assignment: Light et al Chapters 1 & 2

Moving from research questions to a workable research design. Select 2-3 research questions and discuss how one approaches the design of research to answer them.

Assignment: Light et al Chapters 3,4,5, & 6

Discussion of 3 additional research questions. Student Panel: Advanced HEOC students describe their process of developing a research design to match their questions.

Assignments: Reader: Section 3 - Salomon & Keller Developing a research proposal

Development of research proposal, introduction and literature review; How do you approach lit review; select appropriate methodologies, select samples, etc.

Continuation of above.

Students hand in proposals. Discuss issues and problems encountered in preparing proposals.

Faculty and students critique proposals.

Continuation of above.


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