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Course Date: 01 September 2014 to 13 October 2014 (6 weeks)
Discover the principles of solid scientific methods in the behavioral and social sciences. Join us and learn to separate sloppy science from solid research!
Annemarie Zand Scholten
I currently divide my time between managing the reorganization of the premaster programs for Social Sciences (SS) and Child Development and Educational Sciences (CDES) and lecturing at the department of CDES at the University of Amsterdam. My research focuses on quantitative measurement in psychology. I'm interested in the possibilities of combining representational measurement theory and psychometric latent variable modeling to ascertain the measurement level of psychological properties and the risk of inferential error when performing parametric tests. I've recently developed an interest in Learning Analytics research. I'm interested to investigate what aspects of automated feedback about learners' online activity can increase study performance and motivation.
The premaster programs include Political Sciences, Sociology (7 master tracks), Child Development and Educational Sciences (4 master tracks). The project encompasses development of a joint methods and statistics curriculum, a didactical model centered around a new digital learning environment, a cost-effective financial plan, student recruitment and a more efficient administrative work flow, all in strong collaboration with the HvA.
Courses I currently teach include Methods and Statistics in Educational Sciences in the CDES research master on multivariate statistics, 'Onderzoeksmethodologie' in the premaster program, an introductory course on research methods, and 'Toegepaste Methodenleer en Statistiek' or TMLS, a second year bachelor course on research methods and statistics. I also used to coordinate the 'OnderzoeksPracticum', a research project course.
Other professional activities include work for the Society for Mathematical Psychology. I helped organize the 2009 conference and created an maintained the society and conference websites for some time. Currently, I'm involved in setting up the Women of MathPsych workgroup. I'm also an associate editor for the Netherlands Journal of Psychology.
Can we still put our trust in the social and behavioural sciences? Cases of social scientists exposed as frauds keep turning up and many disciplines are under fire for their failure to replicate key results. No wonder the integrity of our field is being questioned; sloppy science is starting to seem the norm rather than the exception!
As social scientist Daniel Kahneman suggests, it is time for the social sciences to clean house. We will try to answer his call with a series of courses that explain the scientific principles of research and how methodology and statistics can help to ensure that research is solid. We will explain the basics and put them into context by showing you how things can go horribly wrong when methods and statistics are abused. And we will teach you how to recognize these questionable research practices - after the fact - in published articles.
This first course, Solid Science: Research Methods (in the Social and Behavioral Sciences), will cover the fundamental principles of science, some history and philosophy of science, research designs, measurement, sampling and ethics. This basic material will lay the groundwork for the more technical stuff in subsequent courses. The course is comparable to a university level introductory course on quantitative research methods in the social sciences, but has a strong focus on research integrity. We will use examples from sociology, political sciences, educational sciences, communication sciences and psychology.
Please note that this course will focus on quantitative methods, qualitative methods will be treated in a separate course.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
What resources will I need for this class?
All you need is an Internet connection, some time and motivation. We'll do everything in our power to help you meet the last requirement, the first two are up to you!
Week 1: Origins of the scientific method
non-scientific and scientific ways to gain knowledge, types of scientific claims
history of the scientific method (classical period, enlightenment, modern science)
philosophical considerations: ontology and epistemology
approaches to science (qualitative versus quantitative)