State University of New York
Oswego, New York
School of Education
Counseling & Psychological Services Department

Fall 2010

Course Number and Title: CPS 696 Research Methods
W 01:00 pm-03:30 pm

210 Mahar

Instructor: Michael LeBlanc, Ph.D., LMHC



Mahar Hall 205, 312-3282



Office Hours: 

205 Mahar, Monday: 1:00-3:30 & by appointment


Required Texts and Materials:

Heppner, P. P., , D. M., & Wampold B. E. (2008). Research design in counseling. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

American Psychological Association.(2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: Author.


Description: This course will introduce students to applied research methods. It is designed to allow students to become informed consumers of psychological and educational research. Students will be able to identify various research approaches and the strengths and limitations associated with different approaches. This course is also designed to give students the necessary skills to conduct meaningful research. Students will develop skills including: developing research questions, evaluating and implementing proper research designs, using the library to search the literature, and writing a research proposal. Students will be able to:

  1. Formulate questions that can be tested with appropriate research designs. (PRACTICE, KNOWLEDGE, AUTHENTIC LEARNING)
  3. Identify the variables in research articles that appear in research articles, such as those contained in the professional literature. (PRACTICE, KNOWLEDGE, SOCIAL JUSTICE)
  4. Apply the concepts of validity and reliability to research. (PRACTICE, KNOWLEDGE, AUTHENTIC LEARNING)
  5. Identify the threats to validity inherent in various empirical studies, including one's own. (KNOWLEDGE, AUTHENTIC LEARNING)
  6. Identify the ethical principles that guide research in general and research with human subjects in particular. (KNOWLEDGE, SOCIAL JUSTICE)
  7. Design a research project that responds to a particular question, while adhering to relevant ethical principles. (SOCIAL JUSTICE)
  8. Identify the limitations inherent in various empirical studies, including one's own. (KNOWLEDGE)
  9. Competently evaluate previously conducted research. (PRACTICE, AUTHENTIC LEARNING)
  10. Distinguish among the basic research designs -- including quantitative, qualitative, and single subject designs. (KNOWLEDGE)
  11. Use the library to search the literature. (PRACTICE, EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY)
  12. Write a research proposal, including a literature review, that adheres to the American Psychological Association style (APA Publication Manual [5th ed.]) (PRACTICE)
  13. Understand the basic principles of sampling, data collection, and data analysis. (KNOWLEDGE)
  14. Recognize the limitations imposed upon the researcher that emanate from such sources as "reality" and "ethics". (AUTHENTIC LEARNING, SOCIAL JUSTICE)


  1. Regular class attendance and participation in assigned activities.
  2. Complete written assignments on time. Late assignments are subject to penalty. Make copies of all submitted work.
  3. Complete tests.


  • Complete reading assignments prior to classes. Other assignments may be given and are expected to be completed by given dates.
  • Some assignments and discussions will occur online using Angel. You are expected to participate in all online assignments. You can get to your Angel account by going to
  • Students will be expected to create a research proposal (assignments 1, 3, & 4).
  • Assignment 1: Research topic and hypothesis. Turn in a short description of your research topic and a research hypothesis that will be used in your proposal.
  • Assignment 2: Critique a research article. The article you choose to critique must be a research article (i.e., do not critique a review of the literature or a theoretical article). Do not summarize the article. Use the Article Critique outline included in this syllabi. This assignment is not to exceed three, double-spaced pages. Begin each critique with: (a) the topic of the article, (b) the hypotheses stated by the authors (these may not be explicitly stated), and (c) the reference for the article written in APA style. Consider critiquing an article that relates to your topic of interest.
  • Assignment 3: Students will complete an introduction to their proposal. The introduction should be 7-9 pages in length. This introduction will include a brief review of the literature. The introductions should (a) introduce the problem to be researched, (b) define a rationale for such a study, (c) state the purpose of the research (d) review current literature about the topic, and (d) end with the hypothesis(es). A minimum of 5 scholarly references from peer reviewed journals must be used. You may not use web sites for references unless such sources are from peer-reviewed online journals.
  • You will need to submit an outline of the Introduction for review prior to submitting the completed Introduction.
  • Assignment 4: A methods section for the proposal will be completed. This section should be of sufficient length to adequately describe the proposed research so that another researcher could replicate it. This section must include ethical concerns and limitations of the proposed research.


  • Note: You must adhere to the guidelines of the APA Publication Manual [6th ed.] for assignments 3 & 4. For each of the written assignments, references must be supplied.

Methods of Evaluation:

Assignment 2: Critique .................


Assignment 3: Introduction ............


Assignment 4: Methods ................


Other assignments


Tests ... ....................................


Accommodation of Student Needs: If you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the SUNY Oswego Office of Disabled Student Services, 183 Campus Center,  (315) 312-3358,

Policy on Late Assignments: Late assignments are subject to grade penalties. A grade of incomplete will not be given except in extraordinary cases (e.g., family emergency or sickness). If you will not be able to complete the course requirements during the semester, you must notify the instructor in a timely manner. Cheating, submitting work other than your own, or plagiarism will result in an E in the course.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when you include someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit. The rules for properly citing material can be found in the APA style manual. It is expected that students will make errors in the proper style of citing references. Those errors will be addressed in my comments on your work and are considered part of the learning process. However, any incidents of intentional or gross plagiarism will result in a minimum of a failing grade for the class.

 Schedule of Topics and Assigned Readings





Introduction and Role of Research in Counseling

Identifying Topics, Questions & Hypotheses, and Choosing Designs

1, 2 & 3


Validity & Reliability

assignment 1 due (research topic & hypothesis)

4 & 5


 Ethical Issues & Writing with APA Style

 6 & 22


Using Information Resources

assignment 2 due (critique)



Quantitative Designs

7 & 8


Designs: Survey/Ex Post Facto

10 (not 233-238)

Outline of introduction due


Designs: N=1 

- assignment 3 due (introduction)



Qualitative Methods



Program Evaluation



Defining Variables and collecting data

12 & 13


Sampling and Bias

- assignment 4 due (methods)


 14 (344-355) &16


Sampling and Bias

- assignment 4 due (methods)


 14 (344-355) &16

11/24 Thanksgiving Break  


Other Measurement Issues





 The above information is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Article Critique

 example critique

Article Critique

 Reference (use APA style)

1. Was the topic of investigation well conceptualized in terms of a comprehensive critical evaluation of the previous literature?
2. How well did the literature review tell a story?
3. What problems/questions/issues are being addressed? Are they important? So what? Is a good case made to conduct the study?

1. Are the participants and setting adequately defined? Who and where are they?
2. Are the procedures described sufficiently to allow you to replicate this study? How valid and reliable are the instruments?
3. What are the limitations or problems with their methods?

1. Are the results clearly described or displayed? Do they appear appropriate given your level of understanding of research design and statistics?
2. How confident are you about the findings presented in this article?
3. Are the authors' conclusions reasonable and based on their findings? What alternative conclusions might you draw from this article?

Citing electronic sources