Designing IR Research

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This course examines principles of effective research design for both qualitative and quantitative studies, and their application for institutional research.

Core Lessons

  • Introduction to Qualitative Research

  • Exploring Quantitative Methods

  • Successful Research Design

Task Modules and Exercises

Focus Groups: Provides an overview of the use of focus groups in institutional research.

Interviews: Examines the types and uses of interviews in qualitative research. 

Surveys: Demonstrates survey planning, sampling concepts, questionnaire design, and survey data processing and analysis.

Using Cross-Sectional Data: Demonstrates how both quantitative and qualitative research methods can be applied to cross-sectional data.

Using Time Series and Longitudinal Data: Demonstrates the types and uses of time series and longitudinal studies to inform institutional planning and decisions.

Benchmarking: Demonstrates how benchmarking is used in institutional research to develop dashboards and balanced scorecards.


Knowledge & Skills Taught

  • ​Concepts of focus group research
  • Procedures for conducting focus groups and interviews and using the results
  • Developing effective focus group prompts
  • Types and uses of questions in focus groups, surveys and interviews
  • Conversational vs. structured interview
  • Uses of field notes, methodology notes and theoretical notes in research design
  • Fundamental steps for survey implementation
  • Using cross-tabs for reporting survey results
  • Understanding the types and uses of cross-sectional studies
  • Advantages and disadvantages of time-series and longitudinal data
  • Using statistical tests with time series data
  • Types and uses of benchmarking
  • Types and uses of dashboards and scorecards

Course fee:

$700 ($600 for AIR members)