2011 Paper Outline for 158.796





Paper Number & Title:                                   158.796  Research Methods



Credits Value: 15 credits                                Semester: 1


Campus:          Albany                                     Mode:  Internal


Paper Coordinator:                                         Dr Brian Whitworth

                                                                        Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences


                                                                        b.whitworth@massey.ac.nz ,

                                                                        Tel: 09 41 0800 Ext. 9486


Aim: To introduce students to research design, questions and analysis. It is a pivotal paper for postgraduate students who wish to do further postgraduate work.


Calendar Prescription: This paper provides an advanced level of postgraduate study.


Learning Outcomes: A student who successfully completes this paper will be able to:

·        Design research questions

·        Develop basic research methods

·        Analyze the results

·        Read and understand published IS research


Prerequisite(s):  None


Corequisite(s): None


Restrictions: None.





Graded Out Of

Assignment 1.



Assignment 2. Descriptive and correlational statistics



Test 1. Chapters 1-5



Test 2. Chapters 6-9



Assignment 3. Inferential statistics.







Deadlines and Penalties: Penalties for late submission apply to written assignments.


Requirements to Pass the Paper: To pass the course you must gain at least 50% of all marks, and also hand in all the assignments.


Learning Programme and Schedule:  This paper requires a significant amount of self-study. An understanding of the issues that influence the topic areas will be explored in the assignments and the timed tests.


E-learning Category: Web-enhanced


Conditions for Aegrotat Pass

If you are prevented by illness, injury or a serious crisis from attending an examination, or another compulsory assessment element that occurs at a fixed time and place, you may apply for an aegrotat consideration.

To qualify for an aegrotat pass on the final examination, you must have attempted at least 40% of the total formal assessment and your performance must be well above the minimum pass standard, so that the examiners can be confident that you would have passed the paper if you had completed the final examination. You may also apply for aegrotat consideration for other compulsory assessment elements (such as Semester Tests) that occur at a fixed time and place if you are prevented by illness, injury or a serious crisis from attending. You must apply on the form available from the Examinations Office, the Student Health Service or the Student Counselling Service.

Conditions for Impaired Performance:

If you consider that your performance in, or preparation for, an examination, or another compulsory assessment element that occurs at a fixed time and place, has been seriously impaired by illness, injury or a serious crisis, you may apply for an impaired performance consideration.  You must apply on the form available from the Examinations Office, the Student Health Service or the Student Counselling Service.

Student Time Budget:

This is a 15-credit paper; therefore you be expected to put in 187.5 hours of work over the semester.   This is based on a 15 week semester. However, the work is divided into modules or sections that leave a degree of flexibility in how you schedule your workload.


Textbook and Other Recommended Reading:

The textbook is:  Research Methods, Sherri L. Jackson, 2nd Edition.

Or purchase online


See student companion site. Check out the Statistics and Research Methods Workshops at http://www. cengage.com/psychology/workshops. In addition, practice quizzes, vocabulary flashcards, and more are available at http://www.cengage.com/psychology/jackson.


It will be used in every lesson, and students will work on its questions in class.



Massey University, College of Sciences, has taken a firm stance on plagiarism and any form of cheating.  Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of another person’s work, whether published or unpublished, without clearly acknowledging it.  It includes copying the work of other students.  Plagiarism will be penalised; it is likely to lead to loss of marks for that item of assessment and may lead to an automatic failing grade for the paper and/or exclusion from enrolment at the University.

Proposed Feedback and Support for Student Learning:

Formal feedback will be provided for all assessed work. This paper requires a significant amount of self study and students will also gain peer feedback both in class, in tutorials and online. The turnaround time for assignments will be no more than three weeks from the due date.  It is important to note that the specified timeframe applies only to those assignments submitted by the due date, and does not necessarily apply to those submitted late. Note: Any student posting offensive or inappropriate material to any online discussion forum will be dealt with severely.

Deadlines and Penalties:

Assignments are expected to be submitted on time. Being on time is part of being professional. Plan to complete assignments with this in mind. If you leave things until the last moment, you are predictably vulnerable to the unexpected. As in the business world, there are penalties for lateness:

·        Material received after the due date/time, will receive a one day late penalty of 5%. Note: material brought in at the end of class on the due day is one day late.

·        For each additional working day period the assignment is late, up to five days, this penalty cumulates and increases by 5%. 

·        Material received on the 6th working day after the due date will not be accepted.

The late deductions are: 5%, 15%, 30%, 50% and 75% for each day late. An assignment submitted five days late and given a grade of 100% is only awarded 25% after late reductions. It is strongly suggested you plan to ensure you submit items on time for this course.

Reasons for being on time. Late submissions cause problems for the entire class, as the instructor cannot begin grading an assignment set until all items to be graded are in. Handing in assignments on time means they are returned to you on time, usually within two to three weeks after all assignments are in. We suggest students aim to finish assignments ONE DAY EARLY – giving themselves a one day "window" to account for the unexpected. There is no extra work involved in moving your schedule one day back! 


Anyone plagiarizing work for an assessment will receive zero points for that assessment, and the case will be immediately passed on to the IT Department Head and the staff for discussion and resolution.


Grievance Procedures:

A student who claims that he/she has sustained academic disadvantage as a result of the actions of a University staff member should use the University Grievance Procedures.  Students, whenever practicable, should in the first instance approach the University staff member concerned.  If the grievance is unresolved with the staff member concerned, the student should then contact the College of Sciences office on his/her campus for further information on the procedures, or read the procedures in the University Calendar.


Lectures 3-6pm on Monday in QB3. This schedule is as complete as possible at time of publication. You need the textbook for every lesson. Do the online quiz each week.




To Read/Do


1 Mar

Chapter1: Introduction to research methods

p15, 17, p24,p27, Self-test p30
Assignment1 begins


8 Mar

Chapter 2: Literature reviews, ethics and Chapter 3: M1: Variables

p44, p63, p65
p74, p78


15 Mar

Chapter 3: M2: Reliability and Validity

p85,p88, p90
Assignment2 issued


22 Mar

Chapter 4: Qualitative and Survey Methods

p101, p107-8, p120 - 125


29 Mar

Chapter 5, M9: Correlational research

p139, 141-2,


5 April

Chapter 5, M10-11: Quasi-experimental and Single Case

p146, 152, 163, 165-8


12 April

Chapter 6, M12: Experimental Design



18-29 April




3 May

Chapter 7, M15: Descriptive Statistics,
M16 Transformations
Test 1 (1.5 hour, in class, Qs on Ch1-5)

Assignment 2 due
p221, p225, p230-1, p247, p252, p254-257
Assignment3 issued


10 May

Chapter 8, M17-18: Inferential Statistics I

p267-9, p278-283 (move to lab as necessary)


17 May

Chapter 9: Inferential Statistics II

p293-5, p301, 310-17 (move to lab as necessary)


24 May

Chapter 6, M13-14: Other Designs

Assignment1 ends


31 May

Chapter 10: Presenting Research Findings
Test 2 (1.5 hour, in class, Qs on Ch 6-9)

Assignment 3 due