415.880.92 | AY 2013-2014 - 4th Term | 2 Credit(s)
T 1:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Lori Erby
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate strong research skills, including the ability to o Conduct literature reviews on the topic of your choice o Critique published work, and o Identify gaps in knowledge
    • Demonstrate skills which ultimately allow the student to conduct an independent research project, including developing skills necessary to o Analyze the problem o Develop a rationale o Identify an appropriate quesstion o Propose a conceptually sound research proposal, and o Formulate theory-based hypotheses
  • Course Description

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This is a three-term course in which, during the first term, you will be exposed to the conceptual side of research. We will discuss the primary elements that comprise a research proposal; how topics for research are selected, pursued, and justified; and how study hypotheses are derived from the existing literature. In addition to readings and exercises related to proposal writing, we will also accomplish this through discussion of the conceptual elements of primary research articles.  Armed with this knowledge, in the second term (first quarter this fall), you will develop and write a proposal for your own research project. In the third term (second quarter this fall), you will refine your proposal for submission to the Executive Committee and prepare for the oral examination.  By the end of the three terms, you will be expected to have turned a nascent research idea into a proposal which will then become your thesis.

  • Methods of Assessment

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    A. Research question log (10 pts).   Throughout the course, you should keep a log of potential research questions (either on paper or in an electronic file).  At least 2-3 new questions should be added each week.  It is expected that some questions will be refined as new material is covered in class, so it is acceptable for some questions to be significant revisions of previously entered questions.  You will have multiple sources of questions, but make an effort to draw on some of the other research articles that you have been assigned to inform at least one question each week.  Although your logs will not be collected, we will be discussing the research question evolution each week.


    B.Concept explication paper, first draft due Apr 29.  (25pts) This paper will require you to explicate a concept of interest to you. You should choose a concept that you plan to pursue in more depth in your proposal (although you are free to change your mind later). You should plan on doing extensive research on your chosen concept. The paper should include the following:  a definition of the concept (or definitions if multiple disciplines define it differently), a description of the different domains that make up the concept, a discussion of theoretical frameworks that are relevant to the concept and how the concept is situated within them,  and a description of how the concept has been operationalized. Length: 10 to 12 pages (double spaced), excluding references, appendices, and any other ancillary material.


    C. Concept explication paper, second draft, due May 23 (15 pts). Please modify your paper according to the feedback you receive on your first draft.


    D.  Class BBS Discussions.  Weekly questions due by noon each Monday (20 pts).  During most weeks, you will be assigned readings from the primary text book.   Although we will cover some specific topics related to these readings in class, we will primarily focus our class time on application of these readings to the development of your own ideas.  In order to facilitate this and to maximize time in class for discussion, I would like you to contribute your ideas on the Kumar readings by participating in a weekly BBS discussion.  I will set up a different discussion for each week.  The expectation is that you will read the assigned chapters and then submit one or two questions for discussion to the BBS.  This should be done by noon on Monday so that there is time for discussion to occur prior to class.  I will weigh in, but my hope is that you will each offer your own thoughts as well.   The discussion on each topic can certainly continue beyond Tuesday morning, but please submit your initial questions on Monday.

    E. Class discussion, assignments, and readings (20 pts). You are expected to participate fully in class discussion, much of which will be based on the readings assigned for the week.

    F.  Critique of research question and specific aims, in class May 13 (10 pts).  On May 6, each student will distribute one research question with specific aims to the rest of the class (pleae email a copy to Lori as well, so that she may review prior to the final class).  On the last day of class, students will be responsible for participating in a verbal critique of each submitted research question, based on material covered in class.

  • Prerequisites
    Must be enrolled in ScM in Genetic Counseling Program
  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Kumar, R. (2011). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (Abbreviated as RK in the weekly schedule)

    Additional readings will be posted for most classes

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Files from the Online Library
  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course Objectives(from old syllabus)
    • To demonstrate strong research skills, including the ability to
      • Conduct literature reviews on the topic of your choice
      • Critique published work, and
      • Identify gaps in knowledge
    • To demonstrate skills which ultimately allow the student to conduct an independent research project, including developing skills necessary to
      • Analyze the problem
      • Develop a rationale
      • Identify an appropriate quesstion
      • Propose a conceptually sound research proposal, and
      • Formulate theory-based hypotheses
  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at