Educational Research and Evaluation, M.S.

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Our Master of Science (M.S.) in Educational Research and Evaluation program prepares professionals with broad training in the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative research, program evaluation and assessment/measurement. You can complete the program entirely online, entirely face-to-face or in a combination. Courses are designed to be flexible to accommodate a variety of schedules with synchronous and asynchronous options. Graduate assistantships are available for well-qualified applicants.

You'll learn to design, conduct and evaluate educational research and evaluation studies; select and implement suitable qualitative and quantitative data analytic procedures; design and evaluate assessments and other instruments; and relate empirical findings to educational and social science policies and practices. Such skills are highly-valued and marketable in today's workplace.

Within our comprehensive and rigorous core curriculum, you can pursue specialized areas of professional interest (e.g., advanced qualitative research design, statistical analysis) through elective courses. The M.S. degree also combines student-centered courses with a variety of engaged learning experiences (e.g., research, internships) to provide a top-quality graduate school experience.

While any undergraduate major is eligible for admission, this program is a logical next step if you are majoring in education, psychology and sociology. It's also attractive to those currently working in educational settings, including K-12 schools, districts and institutions of higher education.

The program is well-positioned to equip you for a research-focused doctoral study in education and the social sciences. The pursuit of a M.S. degree in Educational Research and Evaluation provides prospective Ph.D students with an opportunity to: develop research methodological and analytical skills necessary for advanced doctoral training; explore research topics that can be pursued during later dissertation work; establish connections with ETRA Department faculty; and demonstrate the capability to engage in Ph.D-level work.

Application Process

If you hold a baccalaureate degree (or higher), submit your application and application fee, letters of recommendation, official test scores (GRE or MAT), statement of purpose and official transcripts from all institutions attended. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

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During your program of study, you will:

  • Design a study of an educational research problem or phenomenon using appropriate methodologies.
  • Design and/or select appropriate assessment or evaluation tools for a given educational problem.
  • Distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior when conducting educational research or evaluations.
  • Select appropriate analyses for a given research question.
  • Apply appropriate technology to conduct analyses of educational data.
  • Conduct a study pertaining to an educational research problem or phenomenon.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills by presenting and defending a research project.
  • Engage in research-related activities in diverse settings.
  • Ximena Burgin has been involved in many federal, state and non-profit grant projects, including projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Missouri Foundation for Health.
  • Cynthia Campbell and David Walker are past-presidents of the Mid-Western Educational Research Association, and other faculty are highly engaged in this professional organization.
  • Laura Ruth Johnson published "Community-based Qualitative Research: Approaches for Education and the Social Science" (2017, Sage Publications), which is an internationally recognized text in the field. She was also featured as an expert in community-based qualitative methods in Sage's research methods video series.
  • Todd Reeves was twice recognized for his peer review activity by Publons (Sentinel of Science: Social Science Award in 2016, and Top Reviewer: Social Science in 2017).
  • Thomas Smith was named an NIU Presidential Teaching Professor in 2017 to recognize his excellence in the practice of teaching.
  • Our faculty have published their work in a number of top-tier journals, such as Journal of Applied Statistics; Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis; Computers & Education; Journal of Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice; Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Teaching and Teacher Education; and Theory Into Practice.
  • Our department is ranked as " Recognized Publishing Activity" by Cabell's 2016 IPA Report. The ranking acknowledges institutions with authors published in journals listed in the " Educational Technology Systems" and " Tests, Measurement and Evaluation" categories. We're one of three public universities in Illinois that hold this ranking, which is currently bestowed on only 120 of 2,000 institutions in the United States.

Our students are prepared for careers as researchers, evaluators, assessment specialists and data analysts in educational, business, government, community-based and other professional settings, as well as for advanced training in social science disciplines.

Required Courses

  • ETR 501 Proseminar in Educational Research and
    Evaluation (3)
  • ETR 520 Introduction to Research Methods in Education (3)
  • ETR 521 Educational Statistics I (3)
  • ETR 525 Qualitative Research in Education (3)
  • ETR 586 Internship in Research and Evaluation (3-15)

Selected Elective Courses

  • ETR 522 Educational Statistics II (3)
  • ETR 526 Advanced Technologies in Qualitative Research (3)
  • ETR 535 Mixed-Methods Research (3)
  • ETR 537 Methods of Learning Analytics (3)
  • ETR 556 User Experience (UX) Research (3)
  • ETR 592/ETR 792 Special Topics in Research and Assessment (1-9)

One of the following capstone engaged learning experiences:

  • ETR 699A Master's Thesis
  • ETR 699B Master's Project
  • ETR 699C Master's Portfolio

The Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment also offer three 18-credit Certificates of Graduate Study (CGS) related to educational research and assessment. Such CGSs can be earned on their own, or in combination with another graduate degree, and equip students with specialized qualitative research, quantitative research, or assessment expertise.