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Interdisciplinary Research Design

Interdisciplinary Foundations of Research Design in the Health, Behavioral, and Social Sciences—a new course available to graduate students and advanced undergraduates—aims to engage core issues in research design.

Led by the Advanced Methods at Purdue (AMAP) initiative with support from the Colleges of Liberal Arts (CLA), the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS), and the Innovation Hub, this new course was created to supplement specialized training that students may be receiving in their home disciplines.

“We’re great at training students in particular analytical techniques for research projects,” says Dr. James McCann, professor of political science and a co-director of AMAP. “Just as important, however, is training in the principles for setting up research projects in the first place. What is a good ‘blueprint’ for a research study? How do we make a valid causal inference or a good behavioral forecast? What are the standards for evaluating the measurements of key concepts for a research study? What does it mean for a finding to be ‘statistically significant?’ These are the kinds of questions we will be exploring in the class, which are common across so many disciplines.”

The course will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Spring 2024, from 12:00 to 1:15 p.m. Jeremy Foote, assistant professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, and Donna Xu, associate professor in the School of Nursing, are the instructors of record.  They will be joined by 13 different AMAP-affiliated faculty members throughout the semester representing ten academic departments. 

On Tuesdays, all students will meet as a group to consider themes in research design that span the social, behavioral, and health sciences. Then on Thursdays, social science-oriented students will meet in one group and health science-oriented students in another to discuss the applications of research methods in their respective disciplines. Student interested in the social science section should enroll in COM 682 and those interested in the health science section in NUR 599.

At the end of this course, students will be well prepared to enroll in the AMAP Graduate Certificate program, which is the only interdisciplinary research training certificate available for graduate students seeking to develop advanced skills covering the wide breadth of methodological approaches used in the behavioral, health, and social sciences. 

Students who would like more information about the course should feel free to contact Professor Foote (, Professor Xu (, or Professor McCann (