IDNS 6393 -1 (35693)

Advanced Science Ethics (Spring 2013)
Research Methods and Lives


Class Meetings: Tuesday 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Location - TBA


Course Description

The course covers basic concepts of sound research methodology in biomedical, human, and technology studies. These include formulation of hypotheses, study design, data collection and data analysis. The course culminates with a connection of sound research methods to sound researchers’ attitudes, by delving into the teachings of stoic philosophy.



Module #
10 (Presence)
10 (Q&A)
20 (Homework 1)
20 (Homework 2)
Project & Essay
30 (Project)
10 (Essay)


Reading Material

  1. Statistical Methods in Practice for Scientists and Technologists, Boddy, R. and Smith, G., Wiley, 2009
  2. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, Armitage, P. and Berry, G., and Matthews, J.N.S., Blackwell Publishing, 2008
  3. Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics, Sharples, R.W., Routledge, 2003



Course Outline

Below is an outline of the content and activities of the course.

Lesson 1 (01/15): Formulating a Research Problem

Research Objectives and Operational Definitions

Lesson 2 (01/22): Identifying Variables

Concept vs. variables; types of variables; measurements scales

Lesson 3 (01/29): Constructing Hypotheses

Types of hypothesis; errors in testing of hypothesis
Assignment of Projects

Lesson 4 (02/05): Research Design

Functions and causality of a research design
Homework #1 Out

Lesson 5 (02/12): Selecting a Study Design

Cross-over, trend, blind, and double-blind studies

Lesson 6 (02/19): Data Collection

Data collection in qualitative and quantitative research
Homework #1 Due

Lesson 7 (02/26): Selecting a Sample

Sample size; random, non-random, and mixed sampling

Lesson 8 (03/05): Exploratory Data Analysis

Histograms and boxplots
Homework #2 Out

Lesson 9 (03/19): Significance Testing

Paired tests, ANOVA, and corrections

Lesson 10 (03/26): Non-Parametric Statistics

Descriptive statistics; Wilcoxon test

Lesson 11 (04/01): Clinical Trials

Phase I and Phase II

Lesson 12 (04/09): Stoic Philosophy

Basic principles and relevance to research life
Homework #2 Due

Lesson 13 (04/16): Stoic Philosophy

Emotion vs. rationality in dealing with success and adversity

Lesson 14 (04/23): Stoic Philosophy

Historical paradigms to follow or avoid

Lesson 15 (04/30): Project Presentations

Essays and Project Reports Due on May 1