Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 691

Methods of Inquiry (Revision 3)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 633

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology

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The purpose of GCAP 691 Methods of Inquiry is for students to understand the nature and purpose of research, evaluation, and various methods of inquiry. This course focuses on the theoretical, conceptual, and applied nature of research. Students gain information, insight, and experience in proposing, conducting, analyzing, evaluating, and reporting research. They also gain understanding about the value of research and evaluation and the role of these in the health disciplines. Throughout the course, students are engaged in reflective practice and application of the scholar-practitioner-advocate model as it relates to research. Students develop a literature review and work within research teams to gain hands-on research experience proposing, recruiting, conducting, analyzing/interpreting, and disseminating research by completing a mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) study from start to finish. They are also research participants in studies conducted by other research teams in the course. Knowledge translation is evident as research teams disseminate their research at the Course Congress, a virtual student conference involving all sections of the GCAP 691 course.


The course is divided into 13 weekly lessons, structured as follows.

UNIT 1: Positioning Research in Health Disciplines

  • Lesson 1: Can’t I just do what I want? (Week 1)
  • Lesson 2: This is way too heavy for me! (Week 2)

UNIT 2: Conceptual, Ethical, and Cultural Foundations of Research

  • Lesson 3: Dropping your anchor (Week 3)
  • Lesson 4: It takes a community (Week 4)

UNIT 3: Methods of Inquiry

  • Lesson 5: Thinking qualitatively Part A (Week 5)
  • Lesson 6: Thinking quantitatively Part A (Week 6)
  • Lesson 5: Thinking qualitatively Part B (Week 7)
  • Lesson 6: Thinking quantitatively Part B (Week 8)
  • Study Break (Week 9)
  • Lesson 7: Critique and spit it out! (Week 10)
  • Study Break (Week 11)
  • Course Congress: Virtual Conference (Week 12)

UNIT 4: The Big Picture

  • Lesson 8: Connecting the dots (Week 13)

Assessment Processes

To receive credit for GCAP 691, students must submit all of the course assignments. The passing grade for the course is 70%. The assessment structure for GCAP 691 Methods of Inquiry is based on the following course activities, and the percentage weighting of each activity is indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance in these course activities. You must pass Assignment 1: Literature Review and Research Plan to pass the course.

Course Activity Weight
Assignment 1: Literature Review and Research Plan (You must receive 70% or more to pass the course)  
Part I: Thesis and Argument
Part II: Final Literature Review (You must receive 85% or more to be eligible for the thesis route) 20%
Part III: Research Plan (You must receive 85% or more to be eligible for the thesis route) 10%
Assignment 2: Research Team Project  
Part I: Research Plan 10%
Part II: Dissemination 12%
Part III: Abridged Research Report 12%
Part IV: Research Project Management 6%
Assignment 3: Reflectblog 10%
Assignment 4: Participation in Online Discussions 10%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Mertens, D. M. (2015). Research and evaluation in education and psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 978-1-4522-4027-5

Other Materials

All other course materials are available online.

Other Information

Students with a disability, and who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the course coordinator that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all students are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required. and other interactive components.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice.

Opened in Revision 3, September 2017.

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