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Quantitative Training for Research in Social Sciences

Gulliksen, Harold O.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Mathematics Education, Research Skills, Researchers, Social Science Research, Social Scientists


Quantitative training appropriate for the person who does original research is the topic of this paper. Training in mathematics through differential equations is essential, as is elementary matrix theory. Two years of undergraduate college training in mathematics is required. The prospective researcher should also pass courses in college algebra, trigonometry, analytical geometry, differential calculus, and integral calculus. A course should be given on the development and function of mathematical models. It would include a survey of models already developed and drill in new model development. Probably a minimum of 13 years of work would be necessary to cover the properties of measuring instruments. This includes test theory, specifically reliability, validity, factor analysis, and psychological scaling methods. One or two years of work in statistics should be obtained. Special courses should be arranged in each social science so that students have additional mathematics, statistics, or applications relevant to their field of specialization. University administrators should understand that further training is desirable for social science majors. Outlines, syllabi, and textbooks should be designed for the individual course and student. (SGK).

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