West Chester University Week 2 Theory and Practice of Social Science Research

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Theory and Practice of Social Science Research

Welcome to Research Design for Program and Policy Evaluation.

This week we will begin exploring the relationship between research design, public administration, policy analysis and evaluation. For those with an extensive background in research methods, either through education or professional experience, this week will likely serve as a review.


  1. Review role of research methods and data in public administration
  2. Review research concepts and terminology
  3. Develop the ability to research and communicate complex issues in writing.

What is Due?

  1. One original post on the Week 2: Theory and Practice of Research discussion board. Share an area or topic of public policy and administration related research that you are interested in. 200 words or more.

Learning Activities

We all rely on data and analysis in our daily life, from deciding whether or not our morning coffee is at the right temperature to drink to making decisions at work about “how many”, “how effective” or “how much” at work. As administrators, we all rely on data to make better decisions, and to evaluate the effect of those choices. All data is not created equal, and neither are all research methods.

This week we will be laying the foundation for the semester. We will be learning not only how to develop and write research proposals, but also how to evaluate our own research designs and those of others. If our decisions, plans and analysis are only as good as the information we base them on, then it is crucial to make sure we have the best data possible, and are analyzing the data in the most appropriate and rigorous manner.

Read: Johnson Chapter 1 and Chapter 2

Review: power point lectures: Introduction, Basic Research Concepts, program evaluation (processes and outcomes), and Logic Model


Research proposal topics are due at the end of Week 3. Start thinking about what topic and research question you’d like to spend the semester working on.




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