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Research Design: Inquiry and Discovery

University of North Texas via Coursera


The main purpose of this course is to focus on good questions and how to answer them. This is essential to making considered decisions as a leader in any organization or in your life overall. Topics will include the basis of human curiosity, development of questions, connections between questions and approaches to information gathering design , variable measurement, sampling, the differences between experimental and non-experimental designs, data analysis, reporting and the ethics of inquiry projects. Emphasis will be placed on approaches used in the social sciences (i.e., sociology, psychology, anthropology), but we will also discuss how others (i.e., natural scientists, business analysts) might approach the inquiry process. No prior knowledge of statistics is required for this course.


  • The Process of Inquiry
    • This module will focus on the process of inquiry and how that will be used as a systematic model in seeking answers and solving problems. Next, we turn to components essential to each of the inquiry approaches.
  • Conceptualize and Operationalize Research
    • In this module, we will consider how to develop questions or hypotheses. This process begins with conceptualization or the mental process where fuzzy and imprecise concepts are made more specific and precise.
  • Background Research
    • In this module, we will look at the essential components of a literature review. The purpose is both to gain a good understanding of the main sources of information concerning a particular topic or question and to clarify our inquiry objective, hypothesis and/or research question.
  • Importance of Sampling and Ethical Issues in Research
    • This module will explore the importance of reliability and validity. We will also focus on ethical issues encountered with research.

Taught by

Susan Watson


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 352 ratings

Start your review of Research Design: Inquiry and Discovery

  • This was a great course! I was able to refresh my understanding of the research process that I had studied years before, and even learn more than was taught in graduate school about research and basic statistics.
  • This is the course that I hoped to receive before going to college but, unfortunately, did not get. I am strongly recommending this course for those who are about to enter college especially those who are interested in research-laden careers. Nevertheless, everyone from all walks of life will perhaps benefit from taking this course, since curiosity and critical thinking can give meaning to life wherever one is.

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