The Research Practicum aims to link classroom learning and the dissertation phase of the program by providing doctoral students with hands-on research experience under the guidance of faculty mentors. The practicum is designed to teach students applied research skills prior to undertaking independent dissertation research. Students complete mentored research work under the guidance of a faculty mentor throughout the entire coursework phase. Although learning activities differ according to each research project and in accordance to students learning needs, students engage in tasks that include participating in at least two of the following:
- research planning (e.g., writing grant applications, recruiting and collaborating with research sites, developing study protocols);
- study design (e.g., developing and writing up the design, choosing study measures, conducting power analyses);
- study implementation (entering the field, creating codebooks and participant databases, refining study protocols, recruiting and screening participants);
- data collection (e.g., interviewing, conducting observation, entering data into statistical or qualitative software, running preliminary analyses);
- data analysis (qualitative coding and analysis, statistical analyses of data);
- interpretation of findings (creation of tables and graphs, writing conclusions and implications of findings); and
- dissemination (co-authoring or authoring papers, producing and presenting scholarly presentations and posters at professional conferences).
The optional teaching practicum is designed to provide students with mentored opportunities to gain teaching experience within the School's MSW program. During the one-semester practicum students will have opportunities to prepare course materials, lecture, lead discussions, and/or grade assignments. In order to teach as adjuncts in the Silver School's MSW program students must satisfactorily complete both this practicum and the Teaching and Learning course, which are normally done concurrently.