From capacity building to performance-based metrics, our MPA students are trained in state-of-the-art research, skills which they share with the community through their applied Masters' Projects. Our students meet with area residents; line and case workers, managers, and board members of nonprofit agencies; stakeholders; taxpayers; advocates; public servants; and, elected officials in all phases of their research - from problem definition to data collection. Buffalo State's public administration program encourages mixed methods research, which is a combination of quantitative (e.g. statistical analysis of attitude-based questionnaires, census data, performance data, social network analysis) and qualitative (e.g., open-ended and semi-structured interviewing, participant-observer techniques such as thick description, storytelling/narrative, focus groups). Many different types of studies are conducted such as needs assessments, program evaluations, and policy analyses in the public and nonprofit sectors. Our second-year MPA students are proficient in the use of SPSS for statistical analysis.
All MPA student research involving human subjects (questionnaires, focus groups, interviews) must be approved through the IRB process. All MPA students must complete an online course in Ethics in Human Subjects Research with a grade of 80% or above (the CITI training course).
Our MPA program requires a rigorous research sequence - PAD 680 (Research Methods), PAD 681 (Data Analysis & Presentation), and PAD 690 (Master's Project). These courses are open only to students matriculated in the MPA degree program. Students conduct research in the community, either in a nonprofit or public agency. Students present their findings at the end of the semester to their peers and PAD faculty.
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