Course Description


This course provides an introduction to empirical research design and methods with a focus on applications in the social sciences and related fields. You will learn about core issues in research design (e.g. sampling) that transcend specific approaches, and about a variety of techniques for collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. The course will cover both abstract and practical issues related to methodology and decision making in empirical research. You will have the opportunity to develop and workshop proposals that you may wish to pursue in your senior honors thesis. By the end of the course you will be a more informed consumer and have a basic set of skills for designing and implementing your own empirical research projects. Most importantly, you will have a foundation for future learning about research design and methods.

Here is an overview of weekly topics:

  • Ethical Research + Formulating Good Empirical Research Questions
  • Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement
  • Sampling, in Theory and Practice
  • Talking to People, Part 1: The Two Pillars of Survey Methodology
  • Summarizing Data, Numerically and Graphically
  • Getting to Know Your Linear (and Generalized Linear) Models
  • Research Synthesis: Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analysis
  • Talking to People, Part 2: Qualitative Interviewing
  • Qualitative Data Analysis: Cycles of Coding
  • Content Analysis: Quantitative, Qualitative, Computational
  • A Brief Introduction to Social Networks Research
  • Participatory Research, Program Evaluation + the “Brave New World” of Big / Linked / Administrative Data

More information coming soon.

Dr. John McLevey, Assistant Professor

EV1-215, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo ON, Canada
john.mclevey@uwaterloo.ca | 647-921-2044
johnmclevey.com | networkslab.org