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PA 508 Information and Data Gathering, Analysis, and Evaluation
Hartle, Jeffery A.

Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

The Hauptmann School of Public Affairs offers a citizen-centered, professional program of graduate study that is grounded in the liberal arts tradition.  As participants in HSPA's vibrant academic community, faculty and students consider, with the coursework, the larger issues of democracy, stewardship, and technology.  In so doing, HSPA seeks to prepare students for the courage and discernment to act for the common good in the global context.  Going beyond competence, students develop knowledge, skills, and values requisite for leadership and service in and across all sectors of society, including government, business, and nonprofit.  HSPA cultivates public affairs as a life-long passion that is fundamental to citizenship in a free society.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.

The Hauptmann School of Public Affairs will serve the common good by graduating leaders who exercise authority responsibly, make ethical decisions, act with moral courage, and advance human dignity world-wide.


PA 508 Information and Data Gathering, Analysis, and Evaluation


S2P 2007 GS


Hartle, Jeffery A.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Affairs


M.S. Industrial Safety Management, Central MO State University
Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS)
Member, Institution of Fire Engineers (MIFireE)

Office Location


Office Hours

Virtual (Email answered within 48 hours under normal circumstances)

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

5:45 - 8:15 PM

Credit Hours



The following texts are required.

Creswell, John W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-2441-8 (Hardcover). ISBN 0-7619-2442-6 (Paperback).

Harris, Robert A. (2005). Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism, 2nd Ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak. ISBN 1-884585-57-4 (Paperback).

Stebbins, Leslie F. (2006). Student guide to research in the digital age: How to locate and evaluate information sources. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 1-59158-099-4 (Paperback).

In addition to these textbooks, we will use the internet to visit reputable websites related to our topics. Additionally, you will be required to read journal articles in .pdf format. You will be required to read all of these materials during the course.

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer (required to read .pdf files), you can download a FREE copy at this site:

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
This course explores the appropriateness of various analytic, research, and investigative techniques for specific purposes. Students critically examine the nature of information and its various forms of storage and access. Research designs are explored, focusing on qualitative methods, interviewing, and other techniques of community-based problem-solving research and applied research. Scholarly standards of query formulation, mechanisms of information retrieval, and principles of information evaluation, in relation to both traditional and modern research resources, are emphasized. 2 cr.

Educational Philosophy:

Let me offer a few comments about this course. First, graduate coursework requires you, the student learner, to become an active participant in the learning process. I will not pour material into your head until it is full, then request you to regurgitate the material back to me. Second, you will be responsible for what you learn. Each of you will learn something different this term, but all of you will accomplish the objectives of the course identified below.

All of us come to this course with different experiences and different perspectives. I will encourage each of you to share your experiences and perspectives with your fellow learners. Of course, we must all be respectful of each other. We will offer comments when appropriate, and listen (read!) carefully to avoid miscommunication. When necessary, we will attempt to clarify comments and concepts to ensure understanding.

This course will blend theory and practice, a key goal of the Hauptmann School for Public Affairs. In addition, we will discover "the complex nature and ambiguity of most contemporary public problems" (Park University Graduate Catalog 2006-2007, 74), another key goal of HSPA. My job is to guide you as you explore these difficult issues, and lead you to resources that illustrate the concepts we are exploring. In return, you will pursue intellectual inquiry and develop a critical and analytical approach to understanding the concepts discussed in this course, and discover your unique perspective on these concepts.

Each week, we will review different aspects of qualitative research. Each week, we will practice our scholarly writing, seeking to minimize our errors and become more effective in communicating our ideas to others. Our discussions will help us explore the readings, the assignments will assist you in identifying key principles, and your regular participation will help all of us conclude this term as wiser and more knowledgeable practitioners of public affairs.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. The student learner shall be able to differentiate between various qualitative research methods and summarize the characteristics of each method.
  2. The student learner shall be able to compile and evaluate source material and justify the inclusion of appropriate source material in academic and applied research.
  3. The student learner shall be able to critique their own academic writing and integrate scholarly writing techniques into academic assignments.
  4. The student learner shall be able to formulate qualitative research questions suitable for applied inquiry into public affairs issues.
  5. The student learner shall be able to design and write a qualitative or mixed-methods research proposal intended to seek answers to community-based problems.
Class Assessment:

There are four major assessment categories in this course. The total points possible during the term is 495 points. These points are allocated as follows:

  • Final Project - A Research Proposal. 150 points = 30% of grade. This project will be assigned during Week 1 and will be turned in at the end of the term.
  • Mid-Term Take Home Exam. 100 points = 20% of grade. This exam will be assigned during Week 4.
  • Essays/Article Reviews. 125 points (5 assigned x 25 pts. each) = 26% of grade.
  • Weekly Activities. 120 points (8 weeks x 15 points/week) = 24% of grade.
Each of these major categories will be discussed in more detail in class. There will be no surprises or assignments at the last minute, so you can plan your term as much as possible. Grading rubrics indicating my specific expectations will be provided as each assignment is scheduled.


Grading Scale: The grading scale is:

  • A = 90.0% - 100.0%
  • B = 80.0% - 89.99%
  • C = 70.0% - 79.99%
  • D = 60.0% - 69.99%
  • F = <60.0%

Grading Guidelines:

Course discussions are graded on demonstrated preparation for the discussion, including linage of the current discussion with previous course materials, clearly-communicated concepts derived from non-assigned reading materials (with suitable reference/citation), presentation of substantive comments that are constructive in nature, and fabrication of logical and well-crafted positions. Written work (essays/article reviews) is graded on demonstrated insight, completion of expectation of the assignment, coherence of organization, grammar and spelling, and proper citations.

Letter grades in this course have the following meanings:

  • An 'A' signifies work that clearly exceeds expectations exemplified by the student who prepares for class discussions and consistently indicates having thought about the material. Written work falling into this category will demonstrate clarity of purpose, organization, and communication. It will also demonstrate original interpretation of course material.
  • A 'B' signifies work that meets expectations, meaning that all aspects of the assignment are completed, but it lacks some aspects of 'A' work, particularly inconsistent preparation for class discussions or written work that demonstrates less significant insight in the the material, frequent grammatical errors, or failure to follow citation requirements.
  • A 'C' denotes written work that minimally meets the intent of the assignment and is poorly constructed, supported, or inconsistent arguments, or works with multiple spelling and grammatical errors, or multiple failures to follow citation requirements.
  • A 'D' falls short of the intent of the assignment in multiple areas and signifies a student who regularly misses class discussions, is otherwise unprepared on multiple occasions, or whose written work fails to meet the minimum expectations of graduate students.
  • A 'F' indicates failure to meet minimum requirements, demonstration of consistently poor work, or demonstrated inability to improve performance, cheating, or plagiarism.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late Work: My policies for late work are included in Course Policies (above). Without prior arrangements, late work receives no credit.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct. Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 23-24

NOTE: As your instructor, I refuse to grade plagiarized materials.

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences in excess of four (4) class periods, in a 16-week semester (or 2, in an 8-week term) will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Dean, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified by mail that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2006-2007 Graduate Catalog Page 27

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:

Course-Specific Policies

Back up every piece of work you complete. Some students have found it useful to write their responses to discussion questions in a word processing program (such as Word), save the file, and then copy and paste their response into the window provided for discussion responses. This will ensure that a computer glitch, or a glitch somewhere in cyberspace, won't erase your hard work. Always back up your work!

When transmitting files in this course, files must be named by using the following convention: LastName PA 508 AssignmentName. As an example, if your last name is Smith and the assignment is an essay on plagiarism, your file should be named "Smith PA 508 Plagiarism". In this manner, I can keep track of the files you send me. In this course, all files transmitted to me MUST be saved in one of three acceptable file formats:

  • Microsoft Word (.doc); or
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf); or
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf).

If you use a word processor other than Microsoft Word (.doc), you can save your work in Rich Text Format (.rtf). As you save your file, you can select the type of document from a list at the bottom of the dialogue box. ALL word processing programs have an option for saving in Rich Text Format (.rtf). Saving your files in one of these three formats ensures that I can read your files!

Each week's work MUST be completed by the end of that week. In addition, there will be deadlines during the week that you are expected to achieve. No credit is awarded for work turned in after the end of the assigned week, unless you have contacted me beforehand and explained any extraordinary circumstances to my satisfaction. Computer problems DO NOT qualify as extraordinary circumstances. Late work cheats your classmates out of learning from your perspective, so no credit will be given for late work, except as discussed above.

Article Review/Essay Grading Rubric


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Last Updated:3/9/2007 4:27:19 PM