Degrees & Programs

Inquiry Methodology

The domain of education is comprised of complex sets of social activities, coordinated both locally and globally. The complexity continues to increase. Understanding educational phenomena demands a commitment to inquiry. Such inquiry might involve examining large-scale data on multinational exams, or investigating how it is we can know when our findings are significant to warrant changes in education practices, or taking a close look at teacher and student relationships. There are a myriad of phenomena one could be interested in. In our program, we take students inside and underneath those interests to explore the basic theoretical, methodological, ethical, and practical principles involved in conducting social science research in education. You will be able to contribute to the advancement of methodological theory and practice so that research endeavors in education might profit. Apply online today!


Our program is unique in that it enables students to focus on quantitative research, qualitative research, or an integrated program of study. Our flexible curriculum enables you to delve deeply into your chosen area of interest, from statistical modeling to ethnography, from discourse and narrative analysis to psychometrics and assessment. Yet our program is rigorous enough to ensure that all graduates are able to meaningfully contribute to the study of social and behavioral research. It is a unique opportunity to focus on methodology through theory and practice that cuts across a divide in qualitative and quantitative methods. We are dedicated to advancing the understanding of social inquiry, especially with respect to the field of education, and we imagine these possibilities to be necessarily inclusive of methods typically disenfranchised from one another.


The IU School of Education offers the following degrees in Inquiry Methodology:

M.S.Ed. in Learning and Developmental Sciences (Inquiry Methodology Track)

Students specializing in Inquiry Methodology complement their learning and developmental sciences studies with a focus on how approaches to inquiry are utilized for the study of learning and development. For example, a student might study educational and psychological measurement, and how research might be evaluated.

Degree Requirements

Detailed degree requirements may be found in the Bulletin section of the Inquiry Methodology program specific Student Portal. Course descriptions can be found in the current School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

Ph.D. in Inquiry Methodology

Inquiry into research methodology requires understanding the conceptual, philosophical, and technical aspects of conducting studies. You will develop the capacity to think through research problems at the theoretical, methodological, and practical levels. Our program is sufficiently broad so as to include interests in research design, qualitative inquiry methodology, statistics, educational and psychological measurement, critical theories of meaning, social philosophy, and the use of computers in data analysis and data base management. Read our faculty pages to get a sense of the variety of interests expressed through our work and our courses. What binds this diversity of possibilities together are commitments to understanding core philosophical concepts associated with inquiry, such as validity, to getting underneath common divisions based on methods (quantitative or qualitative, for example), to rigorously explore the intersection of methods, methodology, and practice, and to reflecting on methodology from critical, ethical perspectives so as to advance educational inquiry in directions which are more likely to produce outcomes that benefit society.

This 90-credit hour degree program requires students to spend at least two consecutive semesters on campus. Up to 30 credit hours may be transferred from another institution.

A 12-credit hour minor is also available to doctoral students majoring in other disciplines. Minor students must complete 12 credit hours of research course work and take a qualifying examination, supervised by their minor advisor. Minor courses may not be double-counted with the minimum courses in Inquiry that are typically required by all departments in the School of Education.

Degree Requirements

Detailed degree requirements may be found in the Bulletin section of the Inquiry Methodology program specific Student Portal. Course descriptions can be found in the current School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

At some point in their studies, students need to develop understandings of the reasons why they engage in particular study and practice of inquiry, their purposes, and the assumptions they make in the process. Without strong philosophical and theoretical foundations, it would be impossible for students to articulate coherent and credible rationales for what they do or to question the new orientations they may want to consider.

Inquiry methodology students can opt for a qualitative, a quantitative or an integrated track combining both qualitative and quantitative courses. For the qualitative and quantitative tracks the students must select a reasonable sequence of courses (30 hours minimum) or their equivalent in other Indiana University–Bloomington schools or departments. At least 18 hours have to be selected from the track of emphasis, and at least two courses must be taken in the opposite track course listing (not to include courses listed as common to both tracks – which may be taken as part of the 18 hours in the track of emphasis or as electives). For an integrated track, students must select at least 12 credit hours in the qualitative track and 12 credit hours in the quantitative track.

Qualifying Examination

At the completion of course work and before the dissertation, doctoral students specializing in Inquiry Methodology will need to pass a qualifying exam in the form of portfolio of work and an oral examination. This examination is tailored to the student's program of study. All students with a minor in education must also take a minor qualifying examination. Some departments outside of the School of Education waive the minor qualifying examination, under certain conditions.

Dissertation (15 cr.)

Students take a dissertation preparation seminar or independent study course to work on developing the dissertation proposal. They then take 12 hours of dissertation credit to complete the thesis. They present ande defend their dissertation research to the appropriate committee.

  • At least three (3) credit hours of Y795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation
  • At least twelve (12) credit hours of Y799 Doctoral Thesis in Inquiry Methodology
Our Faculty

The Inquiry Methodology faculty consists of quantitative and qualitative methodologists with a historical involvement in the professional organizations that define our field, including the Division of of Evaluation, Management, and Statistics of the American Psychological Association; the American Statistical Association; the Psychometric Society, the Division of Measurement and Research Methodology of the American Education Research Association; the National Council on Measurement in Education, the American Anthropological Association, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the Oxford Education and Ethnography group, and the Qualitative Inquiry Interest Group.



  • David Flinders, Professor of Curriculum Studies
  • Robert Gonyea, Associate Director
  • Bradley Levinson, Professor of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Latino Studies
  • Mary Ziskin, Senior Associate Director, Project on Academic Success



The demand for qualified research methodologists is at the highest it has been in a long time. Faculty positions in this area go unfilled because of the very small pool of candidates nationwide and the fierce competition between institutions to recruit the best candidates.

Graduates from the Inquiry Methodology program are employed as faculty members in higher education offering research methodology courses and researching methodological issues,as consultants to educational researchers, and as research specialist in research centers and laboratories, testing organizations, and state education agency.


For more detailed program information, please contact:

Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology
201 North Rose Avenue, Suite 4000
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Phone: (812) 856-8300