Students can choose among four areas of specialization in the QUERIES Division:

Educational Measurement

Students in this area study theoretical and applied issues in the measurement of human characteristics with an emphasis on measurement in education. The standards and procedures for the development and use of techniques for collecting and analyzing data are emphasized through the study of measurement methods, including classical test theory, item response theory, skills diagnosis, and computer adaptive testing. Students also achieve proficiency with advanced statistical methods. Research possibilities range from basic research on the development of mathematical and statistical models for educational data to large-scale, data-based assessment procedures for local, state, and national organizations.   

Students in the Ph.D. program with a focus on educational measurement have the option of acquiring a master's degree in applied statistics or an applied master's degree in statistics with a specialization in psychometrics and behavioral statistics. These degrees are awarded by the Department of Statistics.

Quantitative Methods

Students in this area focus on the development and/or application of quantitative methods, statistical models, and data science and analytic methods applied to educational data. All students are expected to acquire an understanding of advanced descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Besides traditional methods (e.g., MANOVA, general linear model), students have the opportunity to gain experience with cutting-edge developments in structural equation modeling, hierarchical (non) linear models, longitudinal data analysis, categorical data analysis, Bayesian inference and modeling, machine learning in educational research, data mining, and other data analytic methods. Students are also encouraged to become proficient in a programing language (e.g., R, Python). An emphasis in our program is on the modeling of data to describe the systematic structure. All students are expected to acquire the ability to conduct quantitative analyses of data, as well as develop a deep understanding of the theoretical basis for various statistical techniques. 

Students in the Ph.D. program with a focus on quantitative methods have the option of acquiring a master's degree in applied statistics or an applied master's degree in statistics with a specialization in psychometrics and behavioral statistics. These degrees are awarded by the Department of Statistics.

Students who choose this area acquire skills and abilities that enable them to become independent researchers and collaborators with other researchers and agencies about proper quantitative and analytical techniques.

Research Design

In this area of study, students explore methodologies for the design of various kinds of studies of educational and social phenomena that seek answers to questions about causality as well as meaning. Case study designs, qualitative designs, mixed-method designs, as well as experimental designs are the subject matter of different courses. In addition to acquiring an understanding of design principles and assumptions, students learn about the nature of knowledge that research designs aim to develop.

Evaluation

Students in this area focus on diverse approaches to the evaluation of educational and social programs by understanding the landscape of fundamental issues in contemporary evaluation. All students will acquire a critical understanding of genres of evaluation, evaluation approaches’ assumptions about knowledge, views of social programs and social change, stances regarding the role and purpose of evaluation in society, location of values in evaluation, and intended utilization and applicability of evaluative findings. Students are expected to apply evaluation models and methods appropriately within a given evaluation context, such as public and private elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, non-profits, industry, and/or health-related organizations.

Students in the Ph.D. program with focus on educational evaluation have the option of acquiring a master’s degree in other social and natural sciences, in social work, fine arts, agriculture, human and family development, law as well as other academic domains and disciplines. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in the department’s evaluation lab where they can serve on teams with faculty and students in carrying out funded evaluation projects and programs.

Students who are in other Colleges and programs are able to obtain a certificate in interdisciplinary evaluation studies which intends to respond to the growing demand for applied research and evaluation practice in national and international organizations who have immediate real-world evaluation needs.

Qualitative Research

Students in this area focus on the development and/or application of concepts, methods, and praxis in qualitative and interpretive research. All students will learn how to apply basic qualitative data collection and analysis procedures in educational research, including ethnographic and other field-based methods, and unobtrusive measures. Students are expected to the course will emphasize qualitative research in process and explore methods, paradigms, and theoretical perspectives that inform your own work and demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate findings from qualitative studies to intended audiences.  Graduates of the program will be expected to advance scholarship in interdisciplinary social science research and prepared qualitative research and evaluation methodologists in real-world settings.

Students in the Ph.D. program with focus on qualitative research have the option of acquiring a master’s degree in other social science academic domains and disciplines that assist in their interdisciplinary study of qualitative research.  In addition, students in the Ph.D. program will be expected to participate in the annual International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) held on campus each May