PSA 440: Research Methodology in PSA

Course Description

This course will focus on analyzing problems and needs within the public safety sector. Students will review related literature, collect data, and measure objectives, as well as apply analytic skills to a public safety related research project. (3 credits)


  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2
  • Background in public safety, or obtained permission from the instructor to take this course

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Identify and implement research instruments and tools utilized in both qualitative and quantitative design methods.
  2. Examine and discuss the researcher’s relationship with the research subjects in both qualitative and quantitative studies and the differences between a research sample when employing qualitative or quantitative design methods.
  3. Describe research goals of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  4. Define and utilize a broad range of research related terms and terminology
  5. Write a Formal Research Proposal including the problem area, purpose statement, definition of terms, a brief review of related literature (to include an annotated bibliography), research method to be employed, and complying with all APA style and formatting requirements

Course Activities and Grading


Formal Research Proposal


Exercises & Assignments


Discussion Participation




Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore

  • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 7th ed. American Psychological Association., 2020. ISBN-10: 1-4338-3216-X or ISBN-13: 978-1-4338-3216-1
  • Blaxter, L., Hughes, C., Tight, M. How to Research. 4th ed. Open University Press. Philadelphia, PA., 2010. ISBN-10: 033523867X or ISBN-13: 9780335238675

Course Schedule

WeekReadings and ExercisesAssignments


Lesson 1: Topic Selection

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 1 - "All at sea but learning to swim" (p. 1-20)
    • Chapter 2 - "Getting Started" (p. 21-50).
  • Exercises:
    • Exercise-1.1, Exercise- 1.4 (Page 19)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Develop a list of potential research topics related to the public safety arena


Lesson 2: Finalizing the Topic-Starting the Literature Review

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 4- ‘Reading for Research’
    • Chapter 5- ‘Managing your Project’
    • Lesson 2 Lecture Notes
  • Exercises:
    • Exercises 4.1, 4.3, 4.4 (Page 129)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Prepare draft of FRP Chapter One


Lesson 3:

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 3-‘Thinking about Methods’ (p. 53-89)
  • Exercises:
    • Exercise 3.1, 3.4, 3.6 (Page 88)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Topical outline of proposed Literature Review
  • Select the research method most applicable to the proposed study and write a brief explanation and justification of how and why this method was selected


Lesson 4:

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 6- 'Collecting Data'
    • Chapter 7- 'Analyzing Data'
  • Exercises:
    • Exercises 6.2, 6.3 (pg 190);
    • 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 (pg 222)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit 1-page justification of proposed research topic


Lesson 5:

  • Readings:
    • Chapter 8- 'Writing Up'
    • Chapter 9- 'Finishing Off'
  • Exercises:
    • Exercise 8.3 (pg 252); 9.1 (pg 271)
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit FRP

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.