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Researching the Researchers: Inside IU’s New Doctoral Program

The Indiana University School of Education has received approval for a new doctoral program focusing on how to craft academic surveys.

The new Ph.D. program in Inquiry Methodology is designed to teach doctoral students different methods used in conducting social science research — especially education research.  Recently approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the degree trains students how to fine-tune their research methods.

Program Director Ginette Delanshere says the purpose of the program is not to teach students how to conduct research…

“Instead, for example, of conducting research in early childhood education, students in this program would learn to research research methodology,” she said.  “That’s why it’s complicated. It’s researching the methods, rather than research a particular area of inquiry.”

Delanshere says the degree program will help meet a demand for scholars who understand a variety of research practices– a demand she says is increasing at both the national and international levels, thanks in part to increasingly complex testing systems such as those required by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Delanshere says in the end, the better-informed the policy maker, the bigger the benefit to taxpayers…

“We need to better inform policy makers of how these tests can be used. And there has been serious abuse of making decisions solely on the basis of these tests,” she said.

The program has been on the drawing board for three years.  Despite the fact the school of Education couldn’t formally advertise the program as an official degree until last week, Delanshere says it has already generated a lot if interest.

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