For Lesson four of OTL201 I have decided to highlight two activities that I incorporated into RSMT 3501, Introduction to Research Methods. One of the activities, the Tri-Council Tutorial on Research Ethics (TCPS 2: Core tutorial), is highlighted in Post 6a. The second activity, highlighted here, was taken from Module 2, having students learn the importance of sample size in research studies utilizing surveys. These activities are taken from the courses Blackboard Learn site at:
The directions for the survey methods from the course, the topic for this post, follows.
“Surveys: Module 2 – Lesson 5
- Read the following course notes “Survey Research Methods,” and review The Survey System website at http://www.surveysystem.com/sdesign.htm. Start thinking about the criteria that should be used in the evaluation in the design of a survey. Also, consider how the criteria for evaluating a study that uses survey data will differ from those using experimental approaches. Use the sample size calculator (on The Survey Systems website) at http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htmto investigate the relationship between sample size, confidence interval, and confidence limit.’
The above directs students to visit two websites. The first supplements material provided in the module and introduces students the importance of setting sample size in order that the survey results provides statistically significant findings. The second website contains a calculator that shows how the confidence interval and confidence limits of the results vary with the sample size of the study. Understanding these relationships will allow students to evaluate published research studies and design their own projects now or later in their careers.