Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 691

Methods of Inquiry (Revision 5)


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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

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The purpose of GCAP 691 Methods of Inquiry is for learners 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. Learners 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, learners are engaged in reflective practice and application of the scholar-practitioner-advocate-leader model as it relates to research. Learners 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 learner conference involving all sections of the GCAP 691 course.


The course is divided into 13 weeks, structured as follows.

UNIT 1: Positioning Research in Health Disciplines

  • Week 1 Can’t I just do what I want?
  • Week 2 Building a solid foundation

UNIT 2: Methods of Inquiry

  • Week 3 Thinking qualitatively Part A
  • Week 4 Thinking quantitatively Part A

UNIT 3: Conceptual, Ethical, and Cultural Foundations of Research

  • Week 5 Dropping your anchor
  • Week 6 It takes a community

UNIT 2: Methods of Inquiry (continued)

  • Week 7 Thinking qualitatively Part B
  • Week 8 Thinking quantitatively Part B
  • Week 9 Study break
  • Week 10 Course Congress: Virtual Conference
  • Week 11 Study break
  • Week 12 Course Congress: Virtual Conference

UNIT 4: The Big Picture

  • Week 13 Connecting the dots


Assessment Processes

To receive credit for GCAP 691, learners 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.

Course Activity Weight
Assignment 1: Research Team Project  
Part I: Research Plan 10%
Part II: Dissemination: Virtual Course Congress 15%
Part III: Dissemination: Abridged Research Report 10%
Part IV: Research Project Management 5%
Assignment 2: Literature Review  
Part I: Problem Statement and Key Arguments 5%
Part II: Expanded Argument 10%
Part III: Final Literature Review (You must receive 85% or more to be eligible for the thesis route) 30%
Research Plan 5%
Assignment 3: Wikis and Class Discussions 10%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Course Texts

Mertens, D. M. (2020). Research and evaluation in education and psychology (5th ed.). Sage. ISBN: 978-1-5443-3375-5

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 5, September 8, 2020.

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