INR300 - Critical Analysis of Research

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-04-11 08:13:21.442
Last review date 2018-04-11 08:13:41.702

Subject Title
Critical Analysis of Research

Subject Description
This course will explore the major theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of research and examine the ways in which research designs relate to the development of supportable conclusions and the validity and reliability of research findings. The ways in which the choice of paradigm, conceptual framework, approach, design, and data collection and analysis influences the outcomes of a research study will be examined, as well as the ethical considerations for social research. This holistic approach chosen for this course differs from more traditional introductory methods courses which often focus solely on technical procedures. Through the analysis and evaluation of published research articles and reports, students will develop skills for critically evaluating the choice of a variety of research methods and the reliability and validity of research studies.

Credit Status
INR300 is a required course for students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1.  Identify research problems worthy of investigation within a specific discipline.
2.  Analyse the research process used to investigate research problems.
3.  Discuss the types of research methods best suited for investigating different types of problems and questions.
4.  Explain the ethical considerations related to research involving human subjects.
5.  Describe common sampling techniques used in social research studies.
6.  Evaluate published research studies to determine the accuracy, validity, reliability, generalizability and/or transferability of the research findings.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

ENG106 (or equivalent), INT202 and/or permission of the coordinator

Topic Outline

  • Introduction to Social Research
  • Social Problems vs Research Problems
  • Overview of Research Design
  • Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Research
  • Ethics in Human Research
  • Evaluating Research Studies
  • Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks
  • Populations and Sampling
  • Conceptualization and Measurement
  • Reliability and Validity
  • Elements of a Critical Analysis Paper

Mode of Instruction

Development of the critical concepts associated with this course is accomplished through an interactive and applied learning process. Specifically, this involves mini interactive lectures embedded in interactive seminar discussions, guest presentations, online discussions, a class wiki/blog, and collaborative group work.  Learning resources will include assigned readings, case studies, and individual and group critique of research reports/articles.

Prescribed Texts
Bouma, G.D., Ling, R., Wilkinson, L. The Research Process, Latest Canadian Edition. Oxford University Press. 

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation


All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of an assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments will be subject to a late penalty resulting in a lower grade.

Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be arranged in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.


Online assignments and discussions 25%
in-class Assignments 30%
Analysis and evaluation of research articles/reports 45%
Students are graded on form as well as content. Marks (up to 5% of the final grade) may be lost for poor organization of ideas and errors in spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation.
Students are not permitted to use instructional aids during tests or exams.
To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified, and achieve an overall grade of 50% or more.  It is expected that students have a sufficient command of the English language to express themselves clearly in both written assignments and class discussions. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see the Academic Policy at

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood