MUSC 598 01: Research in Music Education

MUSC 598 - Research in Music Education

2023 Spring Syllabus, Section 01, CRN 19723

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

This syllabus describes the requirements and procedures for MUSC 598 - Research Methods in Music Education

Times and Location

MW 9:30am-11am in TBA

Instructor Information

Dr. Whitney Mayo


Office: HFAC 216

2023 Spring Office Hours:
MW 1-2 pm CST or by appointment (email to schedule)

Office Phone: (701) 777-2728

Cell Phone: 254) 317-7561 (cell for emergencies)

Course Description

An introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methodology relative to music education.

This course will provide an overview of research methods in music education, including qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We will explore theoretical frameworks and their applications, various research designs, and develop skills in reading, conducting, and disseminating research. Students will be asked to document and explore wonderments throughout the course and will have the opportunity to explore future research trajectories. Doctoral students will be expected to have a completed (or in-progress) research study at the end of the course. Masters students will be expected to have a thorough review of literature with potential applications for future projects. 

My intent is that this course will introduce you to new ideas, complement prior knowledge, expand your thinking, and be useful as you pursue your goals. Talk to me (email, meeting, etc) if you would like to propose an alternative to an assigned project.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to: 

  • Discuss the use and purpose of research in music education. 

  • Explain qualitative and quantitative approaches to music research and determine appropriate use for each. 

  • Apply theoretical and conceptual frameworks to research design and analysis. 

  • Develop an understanding of philosophical, historical, and mixed methods research methods. 

  • Analyze published research to understand method, results, discussion, and applications. 

  • Generate a potential research trajectory and foster curiosity in music research. 

  • Design (and execute) a research project to investigate a topic of interest. 

  • Present information at a graduate level using methods including a lightning talk, research poster, and written manuscript. 

Course Materials

Required Texts 

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Sage. ISBN: 1506386709 

Phillips, K. H. (2008). Exploring research in music education and music therapy. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0195321227 

Supplemental Texts: 

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association. ISBN: 143383216X 

Patten, M. L., & Newhart, M. (2018). Understanding research methods: An overview of the essentials (10th ed.). Routledge. ISBN: 0415790522 

Technical Requirements/Assistance

You will use Microsoft Word and/or Google docs to complete assignments. All assignments are submitted as a word file or a .pdf.  

Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. Visit the Office 365 Email Webpage for information on your UND email and how to download/install a free version of Microsoft Office. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) Website for their hours, help documents, and other resources. 

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard functions like submitting an assignment, posting and responding to discussion boards, and locating resources
  • Download and open electronic documents, including using the “track changes” and comment features 
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Visit the Knowledge Base for additional supports and information about general tech requirements for students including information about devices, operating systems, software, internet connection, and major-specific tech requirements. 

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard. To get started with the course, please go to: and log in with your NDUS.Identifier, Username and Password. If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account page on the UIT website.

Course Overview

This is a seminar course: we will all read, present, listen, and discuss material. We will have a lot to talk about over a very short period of time. The active participation and preparation of every class member is crucial. We will start promptly and end on time.  

How to Engage 

Readings are a central element of this course, and each has been carefully and purposefully selected. I do not believe in busy work and will not ask you to complete any task that does not have a purpose. Please engage with the readings at a depth appropriate for a graduate seminar. Readings are listed in the course calendar below and will be posted to Blackboard in advance of the week. (In the event that a reading is missing from Blackboard, please notify me so I can correct the situation.) 

Please take time, reading diligently and actively, taking lots of notes for further discussion. What resonates with you? What confuses you? What does not settle with you? What would you like to explore with the group? Where do you see connections with your practice? What do you see as reflections with or disconnects from current music education practices and trends? Be ready to reference and talk about these notes in class. 

Verbal contributions in class are expected. Our class meetings will be heavily discussion centered. We will talk in class about ways to participate. 

Where Do I Find Information in Blackboard? 

On the left side course menu in Blackboard there is a “Weekly Folders” tab. Inside “Weekly Folders” you will find non-textbook readings, PowerPoints (uploaded after each class), assignments, and any supplemental materials organized by week. 

You will also notice a tab labeled “Research Design Book Presentation.” You’ll find information about this project in this tab.


UND cares about your success as a student. For more information, visit the Student Resources Page for additional information. Students have access to assistance from the UND Writing Center, Tutoring and Learning Services, Testing Services, and more.  

Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within Blackboard to better equip you in navigating the course and Educational Technology including Yuja, VoiceThread, Discussion Boards, Riipen, Smart Thinking, Proctoring, etc. 

Course Requirements/Expectations


Always use professional language (no netspeak) in your assignments and emails. Please always be respectful of others, even if you disagree with their ideas or do not get along. Here are a few basic points to remember when communicating in this course:  

  • Be scholarly. Use proper language, grammar, and spelling. Explain your thoughts, justify opinions, and credit the ideas of others by citing or linking to scholarly resources. Avoid misinforming others when you are unsure of the answer.  When discussing something and supplying a guess, clearly state that.  

  • Be respectful. Respect the privacy of others. Do not share personal or professional information about others unless permission has been granted. Respect diversity and opinions that differ from their own. Be tactful when you communicate. 

  • Be professional. Everyone should strive to give their best impression online. Truthfulness, accuracy, and running a final spell check are appropriate expectations for university students. Writing in a legible font and limiting the use of emoticons is considered professional behavior. Profanity and participation in hostile interactions are unprofessional as well as disruptive. 

  • Be polite. Students should be addressing professors and instructors by the appropriate title or requested name. Students should interact online politely, just as they would be expected to do in a physical environment. Sarcasm, rudeness, and writing in all capital letters should be avoided. 

For more information, read the Top 12 Be-Attitudes of Netiquette for Academicians. 



Outside of class, our primary mode of communication will be email. Students are expected to check their UND emails daily (excluding weekends) and should promptly respond to class-related emails. Professional communication is expected (no netspeak or text-like communication).  

As the instructor, I will also check my email frequently and work to respond within one-two business days. Please note that I will not check/respond to emails after 8 pm CST during the week and may not respond during weekends. I will share assignment feedback via email within one week following the assignment, and will communicate when those timelines may be varied due to holidays, conference travel, or other circumstances.

Assessment Summary

This course is made up of a series of assignments and assessments to assist you in achieving the course learning objectives/outcomes. 


This course is made up of a series of assignments and assessments to assist you in achieving the course learning objectives/outcomes. We will approach the course content using an ungrading approach, which I discuss in the Grading section. All due dates and deadlines are included in the course calendar, which is posted to Blackboard. 


In this course your learning will be assessed in the following ways:  

  • Participation and Class Activities 

  • Research Wonderings List 

  • Topic Presentations 

  • Research Design Book Presentation 

  • Final Project and Presentation 

Participation and Class Activities 

Active participation in class activities, which includes discussions, reading, writing, group work, and class assignments, is expected. Class activities and assignments should be completed prior to the class meeting for which they are assigned. Please be sure to bring all assignment materials, reading notes, and questions to each class meeting. 

Research Wonderings List 

Throughout the semester, you will generate a running list of research wonderings. These should include topics of interest and will grow throughout the course. As the semester progresses, you will revisit your earlier entries to consider potential research questions, investigation designs, and potential analysis strategies for each idea. At the end of the semester, you should have at least 16 wonderings (one per week).  

Topic Presentations 

For each assigned topic, you will give a 10-15 minute presentation with a visual aid/handout to guide your audience. For all presentations, you will need instructor approval to ensure there is no duplication. All presentation topics must be approved at least one week before the presentation. 

  • Theoretical Framework - Select a theoretical framework and provide greater depth than was covered in class. You may also suggest a framework that was not covered in class (subject to approval). Explain the foundations of the framework (with appropriate citation) and suggest potential research applications.  

  • Lightning Talk - Present a lightning talk (format of your choosing). You may choose to present about your ongoing class project or suggest another topic of interest. The focus should be a research project, including literature review, design, plan for analysis, and potential implications. 

Research Design Book Presentation 

Select a specific research method you are interested in using for a research project. In consultation with Dr. Mayo, select a (or “THE”) book on that method. Prepare a 30-minute presentation/discussion on that author’s approach to research design, execution, and writing, including imagining a study utilizing that approach and providing notable exemplars from education and/or music education literature. Dr. Mayo will provide a detailed rubric and make suggestions for books. 

Final Presentation 

The final project for this class will be a research proposal for a hypothetical research project (Note: Ph.D. students in music education will complete an empirical study. I suggest a survey or brief qualitative study). You will develop a literature review (around 10-15 sources) AND draft an overview of how you could study this topic in your own classroom/teaching setting. This overview should include aspects such as research question(s), research design, sampling, timeline, and proposed analysis. You will present this proposal on the last day of class and should use a visual aid (Powerpoint, Prezi, etc). 

Throughout the semester, there will be various check-in points for this project designed to help you map it out. Please talk with Dr. Mayo early in the semester to set up a plan of action for this project.


This course will focus on qualitative not quantitative assessments, as this is the type of assessment I want you to employ within your own teaching and with your future students. We will discuss this at length during class, both with reference to your own work and to education more broadly. While you will receive a final grade at the end of the semester, as required by university policy, I will not be grading individual assignments. Rather, I will ask questions and make comments that engage your work (and invite you to do so as well) instead of simply evaluating it. You will be reflecting, carefully and often, on your own work and the work of your peers. You will be actively involved in deciding your final grade for this course, and this process will occur throughout the semester. The intention here is to help you focus on working in a more organic way and allow you the space to work creatively and in ways that make the most sense towards your goals, as opposed to working as you think you are expected to.  

Please note that you are expected to complete assignments on time and to the best of your ability, so as to reap the full benefits of the learning experiences in this course. Deadlines and completion will factor into our collaborative discussions regarding your in-progress and final grade in the course. I have included the university grading scale below as a guide, and it will serve as the criteria by which we determine your final course grade. 

If for any reason this process causes more anxiety than it alleviates, feel free to see me to confer about your progress in the course to date. If you are in any way worried about your grade, your best strategy should be to join the discussions, do the readings, complete the assignments, and participate fully in class. You should consider this course a “busywork-free zone.” If for some reason an assignment does not feel productive, we can discuss it to find ways to modify, remix, or repurpose the instructions. 

For more information about upgrading, please see: 

Blum, S. D. (Ed.) (2020). Ungrading: Why rating students undermines learning (and what to do instead). West Virginia University Press. 

Feldman, J. (2019). Grading for equity: What it is, why it matters, and how it can transform schools and classrooms. Corwin. 


University Grading Scale 

4 - Marked Excellence 

3 - Superior 

2 - Average 

1 - Passing but low 

0 - Failure

Course Evaluation 

Near the end of the semester, you will be asked to complete an online course evaluation form (SELFI). Your feedback on the course is extremely valuable to me. I read my students’ comments carefully and use them to improve the course the next time I teach it. 

  • When the time comes, please let me know which aspects of the course helped you learn—and which aspects might be modified to help future students learn more effectively.  

  • Please note that the course evaluations are anonymous and that I won’t see the results until after the grades for the course are submitted, allowing you to provide honest and constructive feedback.  

  • Throughout the semester if you have concerns or feedback, please reach out to schedule a time to discuss.

Course Policies

Attendance Policy

You are professionals and I expect professional conduct—you’ll be in class, on time, and prepared. If you can’t be, it will be for a good reason, you’ll give appropriate notice, and you’ll find a way to submit the required work and get the information from class. More than two (2) absences will be cause for concern and will negatively affect your grade. Exceptions to this policy may be granted on a case-by-case basis for documented, extreme circumstances such as hospitalization or death of an immediate family member. Text immediately if you are having connectivity or other internet issues.

Assignment and Late Work Policy

Credit/No Credit: Credit will be awarded for complete, concise, thoughtful, assignments written at a graduate level. The intent of credit/no credit is to allow flexibility and opportunities for feedback. The gradebook in Blackboard will be used to track complete/incomplete work and should not be considered a representation of overall grade.  

Late Assignments: If you do not submit an assignment by the beginning of the class during which it is due, it is considered late, even if you are absent from class that day. This is so I can provide you with timely feedback to support your course progress. Assignments that are submitted late are not guaranteed to receive instructor feedback. If you submit an assignment on time and you are not satisfied with it, you may resubmit it for feedback within two weeks of receiving the initial feedback. In-class assignments and presentations are not eligible to be made up without prior communication and will factor into the grading discussion between the student and teacher. 


It is expected that students will complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, an incomplete grade may be assigned by the instructor when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor. More information regarding UND’s Incomplete policy can be found on The Grading System webpage.

Resolution of Problems

Should a problem occur, you should speak to your instructor first. If the problem continues to be unresolved, go to the department chair, and next to the college dean. Should the problem persist, you have the right to go to the provost next, and then to the president.

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171;; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).