For many researchers, the strategic application of quantitative skills is absolutely essential. All the same, many new researchers in any discipline may feel thoroughly overwhelmed by the sheer array of software and methods and applications of quantitative reason.
What follows is an introduction to the basic elements of statistical analysis and the systematic use of data in a variety of academic disciplines and contexts. This page will continue to grow over time, and I welcome recommendations from my visitors.
I specialize in the strategic application of enterprise-level data analytics for conducting and reporting on institutional effectiveness assessments, with a particular focus on reviewing academic programs and measuring student outcomes in collaboration with institutional accrediting bodies such as WASC Senior College & University Commission. I’m also experienced with teaching graduate-level research methods courses in several disciplines, emphasizing diverse quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Note: For access to an array of advanced references devoted to data analytics and quantitative research methods, be sure to visit my page on Research Foundations.
Elements of Data Research and Analysis
- For an introduction to the art and science of data analysis and development, I recommend a visit to the data and analytics overview from Career Foundry. Be sure to review the article The 7 Most Useful Data Analysis Methods and Techniques, by Emily Stevens
- A highly-recommended source of free-access academic courses in a broad variety of subjects is Coursera. I encourage my visitors to review the scope of available and convenient courses on (1) Data Science; (2) Data Analysis; (3) Statistical Analysis; and (4) Data Visualization
- One of the best guides to data collection strategies comes from the Harvard Business School Online. It is 7 Data Collection Methods in Business Analytics, by Catherine Cote.
- A more sophisticated approach to conducting research that has a quantitative foundation is the concept of data science. One particularly beneficial introduction to this subject is 4 Components of a Data Science Project, by Scott Plewes of the healthcare data analytics company of Macadamian.
- A very helpful site for getting acquainted with statistical methods is Statisticshowto, designed by former professor of mathematics at Florida State University, Stephanie Glen.
- One of my personal favorite sources of detailed description of statistical methods and analysis is the text Introductory Statistics, from the nonprofit OpenStax based at Rice University.
- A good reference text, available at no cost from the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library, is Introduction to Statistics, by David Lane of Rice University.
- (Video) Describing and Displaying Data using Descriptive Statistics, by Research by Design, from a Basic Business Statistics course at Missouri State University
- (Video) A Beginners Guide to the Data Analysis Process, by Career Foundry, from the popular video program (34 videos), What is Data Analytics?
- Another source of extensive online tutorials devoted to statistics and probability is Stat Trek.
Survey Development, Methods and Analysis
- A guide to the array of types of survey research methods is provided by SurveyMonkey
- One of the current reference standard software programs for conducting high-quality surveys is Qualtrics. Begin with How to Create an Effective Survey in 15 Steps, by Sarah Fischer. I am an experienced Qualtrics user and designer and am glad to assist others with this application.
- The Pew Research Center has developed a notable resource for survey development, Writing Survey Questions.
- A very comprehensive summary Guide to Survey Methods: Definition, Types, and Advantages is available from the career development team at Indeed.com
- For an excellent array of free academic online courses devoted to survey research I recommended Coursera’s directory. One course in particular is from the University of Michigan, entitled Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys; another is for the users of Qualtrics advanced survey methodology, entitled Create Surveys with Qualtrics
Institutional Research in Higher Education
Here is an overview of national networks and organizations of professionals who work in the field of Institutional Research and Evaluation in academic institutions.
- Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
- Canadian Institutional Research and Planning Association (CIRPA)
- California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR)
- Pacific Northwest Association for Institutional Research and Planning (PNAIRP)