PhD in Regional Planning

Your Courses: Methods

Theory  |   Methods  |   Area of Specialization


You are required to take 12 credit hours of research methods and design courses, typically including 4 hours in research design. These courses prepare you for the research methods and design component of the qualifying exam, but, far more importantly, they determine what kind of research you can do and what methods courses you can teach—important factors when you compete for coveted faculty positions. Most research design courses focus on writing journal articles or research proposals, so you can learn by doing and make progress on your dissertation.

In addition to courses you select to meet the research methods and design requirement, you might take advanced planning methods courses related to your specialization to expand your research and teaching repertoires. Two oft-clusters of planning methods courses, modeling and simulation and regional analysis, are oft-selected examples.

Although you are not required to do so, taking two or more courses from a single grouping below will help you build a meaningful research foundation. Also, consider taking more credits than the minimum and developing research skills in more than one kind of method.


Econometrics

ECON 506: Economic Statistics

4 hours

Classical statistics and regression analysis; descriptive statistics, probability and point and interval estimation; decision theory; variance analysis; and linear regression and least-squares estimates. Prerequisite: A course in statistics or consent of instructor.

UP 507: Econometric Analysis

4 hours

Part 1: The construction of econometric models; characteristics of models and choice of estimating methods; and estimates of parameters by various methods. Part 2: Bayesian statistics and decision theory. Prerequisite: ECON 506 or equivalent.

ECON 508: Applied Econometrics

4 hours

Develops a general methodological basis for searching for quantitative economic knowledge; integrates and gives operational content to the topics of economic, statistical, and econometric theory. Prerequisite: ECON 507 or ECON 574, or equivalent.

ECON 576: Time Series Analysis in Economics

4 hours

Modern time series analysis techniques for handling economic data which arises in a happenstance fashion through time and their application to specific economic problems. Prerequisite: ECON 507 or STAT 578, or equivalent.

ACE 592: Special Topics: Spatial Econometrics

4 hours

Group instruction on a special topic under the direction of one or more members of the faculty. Approved for both letter and S/U grading.

Qualitative Methods

AFRO 552 / HCD 543 / SOC 578: Ethnography Urban Communities

4 hours

Addresses substantive, theoretical, methodological, and policy issues within the field of urban community studies. Focusing primarily on African American urban communities, with comparisons to other racial-ethnic group communities (e.g. Euro-American, Latino, immigrant), ethnographic case studies are used to explore community processes (formation, ghettoization, gentrification, transnationalism), their relationship to historical, economic, social, and political factors, and how these processes are influences by ethnicity, class, gender and developmental cycle. Attention will also be given to how empirical studies can be used to inform public policies affecting urban communities. Interdisciplinary readings draw primarily from anthropology, education, and sociology. Same as HCD 543 and SOC 578.

EPSY 575: Mixed Method Inquiry

4 hours

This advanced course addresses the theory and practice of mixing inquiry methodologies in program evaluation and applied research. Topics include selected roots of mixed inquiry, various stances on mixing philosophical traditions while mixing methods, conceptualizations of mixed method design and analysis, and challenges of mixed method practice. Students should have basic familiarity with experimental or survey (quantitative) and with constructivist or interpretivist (qualitative) social science. Familiarity with other social science frameworks (e.g., critical theory, feminism, action science) is also highly desirable. Approved for both Standard and S/U grading. Prerequisite: (1) Ed Psych 574 Quasi-experimental design or Ed Psych 580 Statistical inference in education, or the equivalent, and (2) Ed Psych 577 Foundations of qualitative methods or Ed Psych 578 Qualitative inquiry methods or the equivalent, or (3) permission of the instructor.

EPSY 577: Foundations of Qualitative Methods

4 hours

Introduction to epistemological, methodological, ethical, and political issues characterizing the broad field of qualitative inquiry. Topics covered include an overview of logical positivism and logical empiricism; the Continental philosophers' critique of scientism and the emergence of hermeneutics; sociological theories of Verstehen; interpretive anthropology; feminist qualitative inquiry; social constructionism; contemporary crises of ethics, representation, and justification.

EPSY 578: Qualitative Inquiry Methods

4 hours

Introductory course addressing the practice of qualitative inquiry. Topics include developing inquiry questions appropriate for qualitative studies; designing qualitative studies; generating data via interviews, observations, document analyses; analyzing and interpreting qualitative data; judging the quality of inquiry; representing and reporting qualitative inquiry; addressing ethical and political issues in the conduct of qualitative inquiry.

EPSY 580: Statistical Inference in Education

4 hours

Introduction to inferential statistical methods in education; includes probability theory, distribution theory, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, regression and correlational analysis, and analysis of variance. Prerequisite: EPSY 480 or equivalent.

HCD 591: Qualitative Methods

4 hours

Qualitative methods in the social sciences: epistemological context; data collection and relationships with participants; data management, analysis and evaluation; writing strategies. Specific content emphasis alternates annually between field research and grounded theory. May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours.

SOC 583: Qualitative Research Methods

4 hours

Introduction to field and qualitative methods in social science research, in terms of both the practical issues of conducting this type of research and the conceptual debates in the field. Methods include interviewing, participant observation, unobtrusive observation, historical/archival methods, and global ethnography.

UP 587 / GEOG 587: Qualitative Research Methods

4 hours

Students use individual research to practice qualitative methods of studying social interaction. Includes field research and historical/archival research methods; project areas include community development, environment, and landscape. Discussion is divided between 1) readings on issues such as techniques and research design, social theory, ethnocentrism, and combining qualitative with quantitative research and 2) student research reports. Same as GEOG 587.

Social Statistics and Survey Research

SOC 586: Advanced Social Statistics I

4 hours

Examines social science applications of the general linear model and its extensions; topics include: model specification; ordinary and generalized least squares; multicollinearity; selection of predictors; interaction of variables and non-linear regression; panel and time-series data; measurement error; path analysis; recursive and non-recursive structural equation models. Applies statistical computing packages (e.g., SPSS) to social science data. Students may not receive credit for both SOC 586 and PSYC 406. Prerequisite: SOC 485 or equivalent.

SOC 587: Advanced Social Statistics II

4 hours

Examines social science applications of discrete and continuous multivariate analysis; topics include: analysis of categorical data (loglinear modelling, probit analysis, etc.); geometric interpretation of matrices; factor analysis and index construction; canonical analysis; discriminant analysis; unobserved variables and structural equation models; issues in model specification and estimation. Applies statistical computing programs such as ECTA and LISREL to social science data. Students may not receive credit for both SOC 587 and PSYC 407. Prerequisite: SOC 586 or equivalent.

SOC 581: Survey Research Methods I

4 hours

Advanced course in the design of social surveys and collection of social survey data; covers stages from questionnaire construction to preparing data for statistical analysis; issues in survey design involving cross-national, longitudinal and multi-group research. Prerequisite: SOC 485 or equivalent.

SOC 582: Survey Research Methods II

4 hours

Laboratory course in survey research methods to provide students with advanced training and experience in problem formulation and computerized data analysis using statistical packages, e.g., SPSS; under staff guidance, a student will select a topic and write a professional-level paper. Three to ten hours of laboratory time per week.

Spatial Statistics and Analysis

UP 519: Advanced Applications of GIS

4 hours

Advanced course in geographic information systems emphasizing application of GIS to problems involving spatial analysis. Building upon fundamental concepts, students learn to use GIS software frequently found in planning practice. Also prepares students to use GIS in research requiring management and analysis of geographic data. Extensive use of computing workstations. Prerequisite: UP 418 or consent of instructor.

GEOG 470: Intro Quant Methods in Geog

4 hours

Introduction to statistical, numerical, and mathematical techniques used in geographic research; introduction to computer usage in geographic research. Prerequisite: GEOG 280, one year of college mathematics, or one course in statistics, or equivalent.

ACE 562: Applied Regression Models I

2 hours

Application of simple regression methods to problems in agricultural and consumer economics with emphasis on foundational probability, random variable, and distribution concepts, development of the simple, two-variable regression model; estimation of model parameters; hypothesis testing; and prediction. Prerequisite: ACE 261 or equivalent; one of MATH 220, MATH 221, MATH 234.

ACE 564: Applied Regression Models II

2 hours

Application of multiple regression methods to problems in agricultural and consumer economics with emphasis on extensions to the simple, two-variable regression model, development of the multiple regression model; and problems created by violations of basic model assumptions. Prerequisite: ACE 562 or equivalent.

GEOG 570: Advanced Spatial Analysis

4 hours

Advanced techniques of spatial analysis, including spatial autocorrelation, trend surface analysis, grouping and regionalization procedures, and point pattern analysis. Prerequisite: GEOG 470 or equivalent.

ACE 592: Special Topics: Spatial Econometrics

4 hours

Group instruction on a special topic under the direction of one or more members of the faculty.

Multivariate Statistics

EPSY 581 / PSYC 581: Applied Regression Analysis

4 hours

Emphasis on educational research applications of correlational techniques; special attention to issues in principles of research design underlying appropriate uses of such techniques as multiple, partial, and part (semipartial) correlation and factor analysis; and illustration of techniques by examples drawn from published studies and projects conducted on this campus. Emphasis will be placed on application and interpretation of techniques rather than on theoretical rationales. Same as PSYC 581. Prerequisite: EPSY 580 or equivalent; consent of instructor.

EPSY 584 / PSYC 588 / SOC 588: Covar Struct and Factor Models

4 hours

Introduction to covariance structure models, linear structural equations, and factor analysis; identification and parameter estimation problems; assessing goodness-of-fit; use of up-to-date computer software implementing current estimation methods; applications to a wide variety of social and behavioral science modeling problems. Same as EPSY 588, SOC 588, and STAT 588. Prerequisite: PSYC 594, STAT 571, or SOC 587.

EPSY 587 / PSYC 587 / STAT 587: Hierarchical Linear Models

4 hours

This course provides an overview of the use of multilevel models. Students will learn the techniques and theory of hierarchical linear models and apply the methods to data from studies in education, psychology and social sciences. Topics covered include multilevel analyses, random intercept and slope models, 2- and 3-level models, hypothesis testing, model assessment, longitudinal (repeated measures) data, and generalized hierarchical models for categorical variables. Same as PSYC 587 and STAT 587. Approved for both S/U and letter grading. Prerequisite: EPSY 581 and EPSY 582, or PSYC 406 and PSYC 407.

EPSY 589 / PSYC 589 / STAT 426: Categorical Data in Ed/Psyc

4 hours

Concepts and methods for analyzing categorical data with an emphasis placed on building and applying models in education, sociology and psychology. Generalized linear models covered including logistic and Poisson regression models, loglinear, logit, and probit models, and models for ordinal data. Same as PSYC 589 and SOC 579. Approved for letter and S/U grading. Credit is not given for both EPSY 589 and STAT 426. Prerequisite: EPSY 581 or PSYC 507.

ACE 592: Special Topics: Spatial Econometrics

4 hours

Group instruction on a special topic under the direction of one or more members of the faculty.

Research Design

ACE 561: Adv Research and Scholarly Communication

4 hours

Seminar intended for Ph.D. students who have completed written preliminary examinations. Develops a comprehensive understanding of the research process. Discussions include identification of research topics, structure of research proposals, review of literature, effective communication, management of research activities, and contributions to scholarly debate. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

EPSY 574: Quasi-Experimental Design

4 hours

Intermediate course for graduate students in education and related fields. Goal is to prepare students to design and conduct quasi-experimental studies and critique the work of others in an informed, systematic way. Students will read and discuss foundational and contemporary issues in design, validity, sampling and loss, regression artifacts, analysis and causal inferences. Prerequisite: EPSY 580 or equivalent.

HCD 590: Advanced Research Methods

4 hours

Overview of positivist, interpretive, and critical research paradigms and their quantitative and qualitative methodologies; critical evaluation of current social science literature; students develop their own research proposals.

UP 553 / ACE 553: Topics in Regional Development

2 hours

Examines current regional economic development research topics, methodological issues, and policy debates. The course focuses on research design, and students identify questions and effective approaches for their own research papers.

UP 558 / ACE 558: Advanced Regional Research

2 hours

Simulates the peer review process and culminates in submission of a revised paper to an appropriate journal. Designed for students intent on publishing original research, this course combines the formal guidance of research design and writing courses, the opportunity to present and discuss research papers, and the experience of journal submission and editorial review. Emphasis is on social science or policy research in which the regional or spatial dimension is important, such as regional and environmental economics, land use, transportation, and regional development planning, and economic and population geography. Students learn about the publication and review process and how to write and interpret referee reports and respond constructively and positively to critical comments.

UP 589: Research Design and Methods

4 hours

Prepares students to embark on thesis research and independent grant proposals. Introduces the phases of research design process, including literature review, identification of the research problem, statement of research objectives and questions, establishment of the conceptual framework, and selection of methods, sampling strategies, measurements, and analyses that are most suitable to address the research questions. Provides an overview of the commonly used quantitative and qualitative research methods, e.g., survey, quasi-experiment, and case study. Guides students through the process of writing and reviewing a research proposal and providing feedback to others. Prerequisite: Enrollment in a PhD program or consent of instructor.

Planning Methods Cluster: Modeling and Simulation

ACE 565: Modeling Dynamic Econ Systems

2 hours

Computer simulation modeling as a tool for studying the behavior of dynamic economic systems with an emphasis on applications of the dynamic simulation approach to problems in resource economics and management. STELLA, a computer simulation software, is used in the course. Prerequisite: ACE 562 or ACE 563, or equivalent.

ACE 563: Math Program App Econ I

2 hours

Application of mathematical programming methods to discrete models in agricultural economics; Kuhn-Tucker theorem, Lagrange multipliers, duality, simplex method as applied to linear and quadratic programming, and input-output analysis models in agriculture. Prerequisite: MATH 124; one of MATH 220, MATH 221, MATH 234.

ACE 567: Math Program App Econ II

2 hours

Advanced mathematical programming methods with particular emphasis on applications in agricultural and consumer economics. Covers nonlinear programming, sector modeling, risk modeling, and methodological issues in mathematical programming modeling of agricultural systems. Prerequisite: ACE 563 or equivalent.

CEE 512: Logistics Systems Analysis

4 hours

Planning, design and operations of complex logistics systems: logistics costs; production, transportation and distribution systems; lot-sizing; traveling salesman problem (TSP) and vehicle routing problem (VRP); transshipments; facility location problem; supply chain management and inventory control; order instability; analytical methods and practical solution techniques. Prerequisite: CEE 310 and IE 310.

UP 430 / CEE 417: Urban Transportation Planning

4 hours

Role of transportation in urban development and planning; characteristics of urban-person transportation systems and methods of analysis and forecasting of urban-person transportation demand; transportation systems management and capital improvement programming; and emphasis on the needs and activities of metropolitan planning organizations. Same as CEE 417.

UP 585: Advanced Modeling in Planning

4 hours

Seminar on formal models used to analyze planning problems and planning behavior. Includes static and dynamic, linear and non-linear, and deterministic and stochastic optimization models. Derivations of models and methods for solution treated in depth, but the emphasis is on applications to planning problems such as transportation, land use, and environmental management. Specific themes change from year to year. Prerequisite: UP 505 and UP 508, or consent of instructor.

Planning Methods Cluster: Regional Analysis

ECON 552: Computable General Equilibrium Modeling

4 hours

Discusses problems and methods of building social accounting matrices and computable general equilibrium (CGE) models; provides hands-on experience with CGE models with a series of PC-based exercises. The exercises demonstrate a number of techniques for constructing CGE models and show applications of these models to a variety of economic policy problems in developing countries such as food subsidies, international trade restrictions, foreign debt, and sectoral investment priorities. Prerequisite: ECON 500 and ECON 509 or equivalent; MATH 220 or MATH 221, or equivalent.

SOC 488: Demographic Methods

3 or 4 hrs

Introduction to statistical and mathematical procedures in population analysis; the gathering, processing, and evaluating of registration and census data; the life table model; and procedures of mortality and fertility analysis and population projections. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: SOC 380 and either SOC 274 or SOC 270, or consent of instructor.

UP 505: Urban and Regional Analysis

4 hours

Frameworks and methods for analyzing cities and regions as economic, social and ecological systems in order to understand how they work and to imagine scenarios of change that include plans and actions within these systems.

UP 555: Economic Impact Analysis

2 hours

Examines the theories and limitations of input-output models, sources and weaknesses of the data, and validity of selected impact studies by researchers in universities, government, and the private sector. Combining economic theory, county-level data, and state-of-the-art software, students build an input-output model and carry out a professional impact study. Students pick their topics and regions, think through the economics of a scenario, figure out how to make the scenario mesh with the peculiar economic logic of the input-output model, and complete a regional impact study with a sound knowledge of the inherent theoretical and data issues. Same as ACE 555.

UP 556 / GEOG 556: Regional Science Methods

4 hours

Examines models of regional growth and development, including export base, input-output and econometric, cohort component and spatial interaction; emphasizes socioeconomic impact analysis and forecasting subnational economic and demographic change. Same as UP 556. Prerequisite: UP 506 or consent of instructor.