Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 691

Methods of Inquiry (Revision 2)


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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 focus in GCAP 691: Methods of Inquiry is on the theoretical, conceptual, and applied nature of research. One of the main goals of this course is to facilitate students in becoming informed researchers and knowledgeable consumers of research. The purpose of this course is for students to understand the nature and purpose of research. Writing a research literature review, understanding the process of the GCAP 691 final project, developing skills to find and use web resources, and understanding different purposes and assumptions of the qualitative (interpretive/constructivist), quantitative (positivism/postpositivism), and emancipatory paradigms of research will assist in this purpose. The course examines, explores, and interprets trends and diverse issues related to research design, such as ethics and culture. Students will also be involved in completing a multi-method (qualitative and quantitative) research project from start to finish. Overall, GCAP 691 encourages the generation of compatible and appropriate research design, flowing from a selected problem and possibly a newly discovered paradigm. In summary, this course aims to examine concepts from theory (sampling, data gathering, validity, reliability, and probability) in order to enhance understanding of research design as a complex and holistic undertaking.


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

UNIT 1: Introduction and Thinking about Research

  • Lesson 1: Getting Started in Research

UNIT 2: Conducting Reviews

  • Lesson 2: Building Blocks to Literature Reviews and Research Problems
  • Lesson 3: The Art of Searching and Appraising Website Resources

UNIT 3: Identifying Research Contexts

  • Lesson 4: Designing Ethical and Culturally Sensitive Research
  • Lesson 5: Program Development and Evaluation

UNIT 4: Research Using Qualitative Methodologies

  • Lesson 6: Research Using Qualitative Methodologies
  • Lesson 7: Research Using Qualitative Methodologies
  • Lesson 8: Research Using Qualitative Methodologies

UNIT 5: Research Using Quantitative Methodologies

  • Lesson 9: Research Using Quantitative Methodologies
  • Lesson 10: Research Using Quantitative Methodologies
  • Lesson 11: Research Using Quantitative Methodologies

UNIT 6: Utilization and Dissemination of Research

  • Lesson 12: Knowledge Creep

UNIT7: Wrap-Up

Course Evaluation

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, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance on these course activities. You must pass the Assignment 1C: Research and Literature Review in order to pass the course.

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 20%
Assignment 1A: Research Problem Identification and Paper10%
Assignment 1B: Research and Literature Review Introduction and Critical Analysis (Optional Reference List) 10%
Assignment 1C: Research and Literature Review Paper You must pass this paper in order to pass the course 30%
Assignment 1D: Research and Literature Review Self-Evaluation 10%
Assignment 2: Lab Group Participation, Integrated Report, and Presentation 20%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2016). Practical research: Planning and design (11th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Other Materials

All other course materials are available online.

Other Information

Students with a disability, 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 instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

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

Opened in Revision 2, January 2011.

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Updated July 05 2016 by Student & Academic Services