Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 6-2014


Cannon, K. J. (2014, June). ALEC 845 - Research in Leadership Education: A benchmark portfolio. Peer Review of Teaching Project, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


Copyright (c) 2014 Karen J. Cannon


This is a benchmark portfolio of the graduate research course offered in the ALEC department, ALEC 845 – Research in Leadership Education. Students in any department or graduate program are welcome in the course but it primarily serves students in ALEC who are pursuing either a master’s in leadership education or a doctoral degree in human sciences with a specialization in leadership studies. The course itself is intended to provide an introduction to social science research methods and help students understand and begin to practice ethical social sciences research that contributes to the body of scholarly knowledge in their disciplines.

Students bring a wide variety of experience to the course can range in level from first year master’s students who have recently completed their undergraduate degrees to doctoral students in their second or third semester of coursework. Additionally, the ALEC graduate program is comprised of a large number of students who do not pursue their degrees on a full-time basis but instead complete the degree on a part-time basis, while continuing to work full time in their professional roles (this happens at both the masters and doctoral levels). This range of students and experiences provides an interesting challenge in teaching the course.

Regardless of level, students in the course often have not had significant exposure to the social science research process, theoretical foundations and epistemological questions fundamental to high quality scholarly research. This course provides those basic building blocks. Often this course is the first exposure graduate students in departmental programs have to the comprehensive process of conceiving of, conducting and drawing conclusions related to academic research studies. Course materials and assignments are designed to deliver essential information students need to successfully conduct research, with a focus on the process students must follow to complete a thesis or dissertation.