EDEM 690 - Research Methods: Theory and Practice

Calendar Description
Overview of the epistemological foundations of a range of research methods, including but not limited to quantitative, philosophical, qualitative, arts-based, and mixed methods. Students will learn techniques to conduct research and to develop a research proposal.

Prof. Elizabeth Patitsas
Office hours: by appointment

Monday 5:35 - 8:25 pm
Education Building Room 434 (Note: as of March 30, 2020, the course is online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)

We'll be using Slack for our class discussion forum this term. (New to Slack? Video introduction here.)
Rather than emailing Elizabeth, post your question on Slack or a direct message (DM) to Elizabeth on Slack.

Course Policies

Safe Space Statement:

We are committed to nurturing a space where students, teaching assistants, lecturers, and professors can all engage in the exchange of ideas and dialogue, without fear of being made to feel unwelcome or unsafe on account of biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race/ethnicity, religion, linguistic and cultural background, age, physical or mental ability, or any other aspect integral to one's personhood. We therefore recognize our responsibility, both individual and collective, to strive to establish and maintain an environment wherein all interactions are based on empathy and mutual respect for the person, acknowledging differences of perspectives, free from judgment, censure, and/or stigma.

In keeping with the professional culture of teaching and learning, the Faculty of Education community believes that our teaching and learning spaces should model such professional environments. As a community, we are committed to creating authentic opportunities where understanding of teaching and learning is co-constructed between instructors and students. In order for us to create these learning environments, we are expected to demonstrate awareness of, respect for and commitment to the behaviours and actions of professionals. As members of the Faculty of Education community, we are expected to be accountable to ourselves and others and to be engaged, collegial and accessible. By doing so, we are more fully able to share together in the types of critical dialogue, creative thinking and reflective practice expected of professionals.

Scent Free Environment:

This classroom and associated office hours are a scent free environment. You must refrain from wearing perfume, cologne and body spray in these spaces out of respect for people with neurological & respiratory issues that may be affected by these scents.


Students with disabilities who require accommodations should discuss their needs with at least one of the instructor and/or the Office for Students with Disabilities (https://www.mcgill.ca/osd/).

Students who are pregnant and/or caring for a dependent also often may find it helpful to receive academic accommodations. McGill's guidelines for accommodations for students who are pregnant and/or caring for a dependent may be found at https://www.mcgill.ca/study/2018-2019/university_regulations_and_resources/graduate/gi_accommodation_pregnancy_caring_dependants

Missed Class Policy:

To make up a missed class without penalty, you must inform me via DM on Slack with more than 24 hours notice that you cannot attend the class in question. Missed worksheets should then be completed at home and submitted at the start of the next class.

I do not require doctor's notes for missed classes, because they are a drain on the health care system (and sick students)! I also want to explicitly note that I believe mental health is an equally valid reason to miss a class. Other valid reasons for missing class include: bereavement, personal crises, care for a dependent, and presenting at an academic conference.

Snow Day Policy:

In the rare event that McGill closes the campus for a snow day, we will still have class at the usual time --- but online! I'll set up a Google Hangouts or similar videoconference for class; information will be posted on Slack.

Academic Integrity:

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offenses under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures” (see http://www.mcgill.ca/students/srr/honest/ for more information).

Land Acknowledgment

This course takes place on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Want to help with decolonizing this land? Decolonizing means returning the land to Indigenous groups. If you have the means, you can help decolonizing efforts by donating to legal efforts to return land back to Indigenous groups and/or protecting Indigenous lands.

Learning Objectives

  1. Enrich their knowledge of the epistemological foundations of a range of research paradigms and approaches
  2. Critically evaluate published studies, situating one’s own research ideas within relevant bodies of work
  3. Discuss and appreciate the complex and sensitive ethical issues involved in research with human participants
  4. Discuss validity and reliability issues in different research paradigms
  5. Explore various data collection and analysis techniques, tools, and strategies
  6. Apply the ideas and techniques learned in this course to articulate a research question and design a research proposal
  7. Explore the relationship between research and action
  8. Engage in collegial inquiry and collaborative reflection with peers

Schedule & Readings

See schedule & readings


See assessment