Introducing 6 New Releases!
Introducing 6 New Releases!
  • The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome

    Professor Gregory S. Aldrete, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome traces the breathtaking history from the empire’s foundation by Augustus to its Golden Age in the 2nd century CE through a series of ever-worsening crises until the empire's ultimate collapse. Over 24 lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin-reen Bay offers you the chance to experience a new history of Rome, incorporating the latest historical insights that challenge our previous notions of the empire’s decline.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome traces the breathtaking history from the empire’s foundation by Augustus to its Golden Age in the 2nd century CE through a series of ever-worsening crises until the empire's ultimate collapse. Over 24 lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin-reen Bay offers you the chance to experience a new history of Rome, incorporating the latest historical insights that challenge our previous notions of the empire’s decline.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Dawn of the Roman Empire
      Your course opens by setting the stage for Rome's transition from a Republic to an Empire. Octavian, overlooking the Ionian Sea after the ferocious Battle of Actium, has just secured victory in a civil war against Mark Antony. He will soon achieve what Julius Caesar could not: one-man rule over Rome. Delve into this major turning point in world history. x
    • 2
      Augustus, the First Emperor
      Meet the man who became Rome’s first emperor: Octavian, who took the title of Augustus, was relatively short and sickly, but clever and astute. His great political innovation—taking the title Augustus, gaining control of the military, and ruling Rome without inspiring his own assassination—is one of history’s most astonishing feats. x
    • 3
      Tiberius and Caligula
      Augustus may have been a tremendous emperor, but he failed in one key area: choosing a successor. After an almost comical series of events, he secured a male heir (a son of his wife's by a previous marriage) to take the throne. Witness the debacle of Roman leadership under Tiberius and then Caligula. x
    • 4
      Claudius and Nero
      The succession after Caligula continued to be a problem for the Roman Empire. Claudius, though physically challenged, was a good administrator. Nero, however, was depraved and self-aggrandizing, and nearly bankrupted the empire. Trace the strange, sad, and bloody story of their rule. x
    • 5
      The Flavian Emperors and Roman Bath Culture
      Following Nero, a quick series of emperors took power, ultimately ending with Vespasian, the first in the line of Flavian family emperors. After reviewing the story of these emperors, their accomplishments, and their shortcomings, Professor Aldrete offers insight into Roman bath culture and what it meant for the city. x
    • 6
      The Five Good Emperors
      Round out your survey of the early Roman emperors with a look at the rulers of the 2nd century, including Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. Get to know their stories; their approach to ruling; and their achievements, such as Trajan’s military conquests and Marcus Aurelius’s philosophical meditations. x
    • 7
      Hazards of Life in Ancient Rome: The Five Fs
      You might think of Rome as a grand city filled with shining marble and peopled with decadent-toga-clad citizens. In reality, the city was a swampy, stinking, disease-ridden mess with filth in the streets and a fire nearly every night in one of its buildings. See what life would have been like for Rome's ordinary citizens. x
    • 8
      Roman Art and Architecture
      Two of the great legacies of the Roman Empire are its art and architecture. You will reflect on the Etruscan and Greek influences on Roman portraits and sculptures, see how Augustus used art as propaganda, and learn about some of the many architectural and engineering innovations—including the Pantheon and the aqueducts. x
    • 9
      Roman Literature
      Roman literature had its roots in Greek influences, but by the time of the Empire, Roman writers had come into their own. The works you will study include the fiery rhetoric of Cicero; the poetry of Horace and Ovid; and Virgil’s epic about Rome’s founding, the Aeneid. You’ll also review histories, technical works, and writings on Christianity. x
    • 10
      The Ordinary Roman Speaks: Graffiti
      The traditional understanding of Rome was based on accounts by upper-class males, who wrote the primary sources historians relied on for generations. More recent historians have looked at new sources to gain a fuller sense of the city's history. You will examine graffiti preserved at Pompeii in order to hear directly from everyday Romans. x
    • 11
      Final Words: Burial and Tombstone Epitaphs
      Continue your study of everyday Romans with a look at the epitaphs on their tombstones. While elaborate tombs were reserved for the very rich, people of all social classes had their thoughts and stories inscribed on tombstones. You will also explore how the Romans buried their dead. x
    • 12
      From Commodus to Caracalla
      Marcus Aurelius may have been a wise philosopher, but he didn't act wisely when appointing his son Commodus as heir; who turned out to be a throwback to the megalomania of Caligula and Nero. Emperor Septimius Severus provided a short period of stability, but his son, Caracalla, was yet another unbalanced ruler. x
    • 13
      The Crisis of the 3rd Century
      The empire hit a low point with Elagabalus, who was arguably the worst Roman emperor of all—which is saying quite a lot. Then Rome teetered on the brink of total collapse due to a deadly combination of civil war, barbarian invasions, economic collapse, and natural disasters. x
    • 14
      Diocletian and Late 3rd-Century Reforms
      Just when the Roman Empire seemed on the verge of collapse, a series of hard-headed, practical emperors managed to rescue it. Follow the astonishing story of how these men, led by the reformer Diocletian, drove back the barbarians and stabilized the faltering Empire. x
    • 15
      Early Christianity and the Rise of Constantine
      Stability never lasted long in the Roman Empire. At the dawn of the 4th century, Christianity emerged as a major world force—made manifest by Constantine’s dramatic and unexpected conversion. Find out how and why Christianity developed and spread, and the role it played in subsequent political events. x
    • 16
      Constantine and His Successors
      Take a closer look at Constantine and explore his motivations for converting to Christianity. Learn about the Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicaea, which codified key aspects of Christian theology. Then see why Constantine founded a new capital city at Byzantium, and the state of the empire at the end of his life. x
    • 17
      Gladiators and Beast Hunts
      Gladiators dominate today’s popular imagination when it comes to ancient Rome—and indeed, the Romans loved their spectacles and sports. As you will find out here, gladiator combat was only one of many popular entertainments in the empire. Find out who the gladiators were and what their lives were like. Then turn to another popular contest: the beast hunt. x
    • 18
      Chariot Racing, Spectacles, and Theater
      Although gladiators dominate Hollywood films, chariot racing was actually the most popular sport in the Roman Empire. Go inside the Circus Maximus and learn about the factions and teams of chariot racers. Then shift your attention to the world of the theater, where plays, mimes, and music entertained the masses. x
    • 19
      The Roman Army
      No survey of the Roman Empire would be complete without a detailed look at one of its most central institutions: the military. Take a look at the organization of Rome's fighting forces. See what kind of equipment soldiers were outfitted with, how they trained, and what joining the military meant for farm boys in the provinces. x
    • 20
      Barbarians Overwhelm the Western Empire
      Administration is only half the battle in maintaining a tremendous empire. You also have to defend the borders, and from the 3rd to the 5th centuries, Rome experienced an increasing wave of invasions by outsiders. Here, Professor Aldrete introduces you to the Huns, the Visigoths, the Vandals, and other invaders who penetrated Rome's borders and plundered the empire. x
    • 21
      The Byzantine Empire
      While the western half of the Roman Empire had clearly collapsed by the end of the 5th century, the eastern Romans in the Byzantine Empire flourished for another thousand years. Visit the world of Constantinople, meet fascinating figures such as Justinian and Theodora, and see what made the Byzantine Empire so successful. x
    • 22
      When and Why Did the Roman Empire Fall?
      Generations of historians have struggled over—and disagreed about---the fundamental questions of when and why the Roman Empire fell. This lecture critically evaluates a wide range of possible answers to these complex and enduring questions. x
    • 23
      Late Antiquity: A New Historical Era
      Traditionally, historians have viewed the years 200 to 600 as a time of collapse and stagnation, the end of Rome and the arrival of the “Dark Ages.” Recent historians have taken another look at this era and seen a time of invigorating change, a vibrant mingling of cultures, and an exciting transition between antiquity and the Middle Ages. x
    • 24
      Echoes of Rome
      In this final lecture, consider the legacy of the Roman Empire, which influences us in innumerable ways, from our language to our legal codes. Because history is ultimately about people, Professor Aldrete closes with a few final voices to keep everyday Romans alive, and a reflection on what they might tell us today. x
  • What Darwin Didn't Know: The Modern Science of Evolution

    Professor Scott Solomon, PhD

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD
    Taught by Professor Scott Solomon of Rice University, this course follows the revolution in biology and genetics sparked by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. In Darwin’s day, there were many gaps and uncertainties in his theory—most of which were conclusively solved by his successors. Throughout, Dr. Solomon contrasts what Darwin knew with our tremendous increase in knowledge today.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Taught by Professor Scott Solomon of Rice University, this course follows the revolution in biology and genetics sparked by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. In Darwin’s day, there were many gaps and uncertainties in his theory—most of which were conclusively solved by his successors. Throughout, Dr. Solomon contrasts what Darwin knew with our tremendous increase in knowledge today.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  What Darwin Didn't Know: The Modern Science of Evolution
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What Darwin Knew and Why It Still Matters
      Retrace Darwin's path to his theory of evolution by natural selection, which appeared in his masterpiece The Origin of Species, published in 1859. Encounter collector Alfred Russel Wallace's astonishing, almost identical, key insight. Detail the types of evidence, not known to Darwin, that have accumulated in the century and a half since his time, deepening and extending his ideas to a remarkable degree. x
    • 2
      Inheritance: Darwin's Missing Link
      Missing from On the Origin of Species is any account of how traits pass from one generation to the next. Explore the work on genetic inheritance by Gregor Mendel, whose pioneering rules of heredity remained essentially unknown for 35 years. Follow up with 20th-century pioneers including Thomas Hunt Morgan, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and others, who established the “modern synthesis” of evolutionary biology. x
    • 3
      Genome Mutations: Evolution's Raw Material
      The arrival of genetics in the early 20th century addressed what Darwin did not know about inheritance, but there was more to uncover: how do genes function, and where do variations come from? Trace the discovery of DNA as the carrier of genetic information and the realization that mutations and other structural changes in DNA are a source of the modifications that underlie natural selection. x
    • 4
      Gene Flow versus Natural Selection
      Natural selection is not the only mechanism driving evolution. In this lecture, discover how the movement of individuals leads to gene flow between populations. Travel to the Galapagos Islands and neighboring Cocos Island to see how finches evolved into multiple species in the Galapagos archipelago but stayed a distinct species on isolated Cocos. Consider the implications for human evolution. x
    • 5
      Geology and Genes: The Geography of Life
      Trace the importance of geology in Darwin's thinking and his many observations that make sense only in light of the theory of plate tectonics, which was not developed until the 1960s. Chart the breakup, movement, and reassembly of continental plates that dispersed related flora and fauna all over the planet. Also look at the Wallace Line in Indonesia, which separates Asian from Australian species. x
    • 6
      Genetic Drift: When Evolution Is Random
      Explore how population bottlenecks and the founder effect lead to random changes in the frequency of genes, an independent mechanism of evolution known as as genetic drift. Darwin had an inkling of this process when he proposed that “spontaneous variations” play a role in evolution. But genetic drift has proved far more significant than he ever envisioned. For example, it has played a key role in human evolution. x
    • 7
      Rapid Evolution within Species
      Darwin thought evolution was an imperceptibly slow process, but it can happen remarkably quickly. Review Peter and Rosemary Grant's famous studies of Galapagos finches, along with the work of other scientists on guppies in Trinidad, moths in England, and foxes in Siberia. These show evolution playing out in real-time as creatures adapt to changing conditions within a few generations. x
    • 8
      Evolution in the Lab
      One thing Darwin never anticipated was that evolution would be observed in the laboratory. In this lecture, analyze lab experiments that shed light on the minute details of evolution, helping to settle a long-standing debate: Is the outcome of evolution random or predictable? Also cover digital life simulations, which inspire new ideas that can be tested with living populations. x
    • 9
      The Many Origins of Species
      Despite its title, On the Origin of Species does not fully address how new species arise. Delve into this complex problem by investigating what a species is. Consider definitions based on morphological, biological, phylogenetic, and genomic distinctions. Then examine the reproductive barriers, both before conception and after, that can lead to the origin of new species. x
    • 10
      Cambrian Explosion to Dinosaur Extinction
      Darwin was puzzled by the sudden appearance of complex, diverse flora and fauna in the fossil record roughly 540 million years ago, a period known as the Cambrian explosion. And Darwin had no idea that the history of life on Earth has included five big mass extinction events—including the demise of the dinosaurs—followed by accelerated periods of evolution that often took life in radically new directions. x
    • 11
      Reconstructing the Tree of Life with DNA
      Darwin envisioned the history of evolution as a great Tree of Life, in which all the branches are connected by ancestry. Explore the modern version of this idea, which has been revolutionized by DNA sequencing. Investigate the concept of phylogenetics and the surprisingly close link between single-celled microorganisms, plants, and animals. Also probe the phenomenon of “jumping” genes. x
    • 12
      Human Evolution in All Directions
      Zoom in on the branch of the Tree of Life that gave rise to our species. Fossil discoveries and insights from DNA have led researchers to abandon the iconic image of a linear progression from hunched apes to upright humans. In its place is a much more intertwined tree for humans and their closest living and extinct relatives, including Neanderthals and the recently discovered Denisovans. x
    • 13
      Evolution Doesn't Repeat, but It Rhymes
      Convergent evolution occurs when natural selection causes different species to evolve in similar ways. Does this mean that evolution follows a predetermined path? Focus on the recent debate between scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris. Gould perceived contingencies and unpredictability, but Conway Morris saw repetition and consistency. How do these views relate to human evolution? x
    • 14
      The Evolution of Extreme Life
      Life is even more adaptable than Darwin could have known. In this lecture, investigate extremophiles—organisms that flourish in extreme conditions. These have made biologists rethink the limitations of life on Earth. From bacteria existing miles underground that divide once every 10,000 years to creatures thriving next to superheated undersea volcanoes, life is programmed to adapt and survive. x
    • 15
      Imperfect Nature: Ad Hoc Body Designs
      While Darwin knew of inefficient anatomical features of humans and other animals, he didn’t consider these a distinct category of evidence for natural selection. Explore ad hoc body designs—from our imperfect eyes and sexual anatomy, to the bizarre faces of flounders and the false thumbs of pandas. Each adaptation shows evolution devising a solution that is “good enough,” even if it is not ideal. x
    • 16
      The Sterile Worker Paradox
      Why was Darwin afraid that ants might undermine his theory of natural selection? Delve into the sterile worker paradox: the puzzle of why ants and other “eusocial” species evolved to have large numbers of non-reproducing offspring. Since the ability to reproduce is central to natural selection, this feature, which is common among insects and also present in other animals, demands explanation. x
    • 17
      Coevolution: Peace Accords and Arms Races
      Darwin saw that natural selection not only leads to species that evolve to their mutual advantage, but to enemies that wage an evolutionary arms race that ends up benefiting both sides. Study coevolutionary cases—from the yucca plant and its symbiotic partner, the yucca moth, to the fastest animal on Earth, the cheetah, and its prey the springbok antelope, which has evolved to be almost as fast. x
    • 18
      Microbiomes: Evolution with Small Partners
      On the Origin of Species failed to account for a major part of the Tree of Life, namely bacteria and other microorganisms. These represent the original forms of life, and they have played a central role in the evolution of every species since. Study the symbiotic role of microbes in the functioning of plants and animals, and consider the view that all organisms are, in part, microbial. x
    • 19
      The Evolution of Brains and Behavior
      In Darwin’s lifetime, comparisons between the brains of different species were restricted to examinations of anatomy alone. Today, researchers use genetic tools to gain deep insights into how behaviors and sensory abilities evolve. Study behavior in creatures from fire ants to crows to humans, asking how did human brains get so large—and why are big brains so useful anyway? x
    • 20
      The Evolution of Sex and Parenting
      Darwin devised his theory of sexual selection to explain many traits that can’t be understood through natural selection alone—from the peacock’s gaudy tail to the elaborate constructions of bowerbirds. Probe deeper to discover why sexual reproduction exists at all, what causes individuals to develop into males versus females, and why some males take on the role of raising the young. x
    • 21
      The Evolution of Aging and Death
      Darwin's writings seem to imply that evolution through natural selection should always favor longer lifespans. So why don't we live forever (or at least for several centuries)? Consider ways that evolutionary processes account for aging and death. Weigh factors such as accumulated mutations, programmed cell death, and genes whose multiple effects are antagonistically at odds with one another. x
    • 22
      Evolutionary Medicine
      Explore one of the ultimate applications of evolutionary principles: harnessing evolution to benefit human health. Study diseases such as malaria, AIDS, influenza, and cancer that evolve rapidly to outmaneuver the body's changing defenses. Also contrast our modern lifestyle with the physiology we inherited from our prehistoric ancestors, who evolved to compete in a far different world. x
    • 23
      Gene Editing and Directed Evolution
      Darwin contrasted natural selection with artificial selection—the time-tested techniques for selective breeding that promote desired traits in plants and animals. See how far we’ve come with 21st-century tools such as CRISPR, which allows precise edits to the DNA sequence of any species. Evaluate the promise and perils of this technology, which lets us take evolution into our own hands. x
    • 24
      The Future of Human Evolution
      What does the future hold? Will we evolve into new species? Or have we reached an optimum state that will see minimal evolutionary changes? Weigh the impact of our ever-more-sophisticated technology and consider what will happen to humans who leave Earth for another planet with new physiological challenges. As you learn in this course, evolution isn't just possible; it's inevitable. x
  • Language Families of the World

    Professor John McWhorter, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    In Language Families of the World, Professor John McWhorter takes you back through time and around the world, following the linguistic trails left by generations of humans that lead back to the beginnings of language. Utilizing historical theories and cutting-edge research, these 34 astonishing lectures will introduce you to the major language families of the world and their many offspring, including a variety of languages that are no longer spoken but provide vital links between past and present.

    View Lecture List (34)

    In Language Families of the World, Professor John McWhorter takes you back through time and around the world, following the linguistic trails left by generations of humans that lead back to the beginnings of language. Utilizing historical theories and cutting-edge research, these 34 astonishing lectures will introduce you to the major language families of the world and their many offspring, including a variety of languages that are no longer spoken but provide vital links between past and present.

    View Lecture List (34)
    34 Lectures  |  Language Families of the World
    Lecture Titles (34)
    • 1
      Why Are There So Many Languages?
      There are over 7,000 languages in the world and many linguists believe they likely all developed from a single source language in the distant past. Get an introduction to the concept of language families, understand how languages change over time, and discover what linguistics can teach us about our own history. x
    • 2
      The First Family Discovered: Indo-European
      While the Indo-European family of languages was not the first group to be identified as related, it is the family that has received much of the research and classification that became the basis of modern linguistics. Uncover what defines Indo-European languages, which include Latin, English, French, Armenian, Latvian, Sanskrit, and many more. x
    • 3
      Indo-European Languages in Europe
      Begin a deep dive into the earliest roots of Indo-European languages with a look at Germanic, Romance, Balto-Slavic, Greek, Albanian, and Celtic languages. See how Indo-European languages contradict common notions about how language works and uncover some of the mysteries that are yet to be solved. x
    • 4
      Indo-European Languages in Asia
      One-fifth to one-sixth of the world speaks one of the Indo-European languages of India. Trace back to the branching of the Indo-European tree, when the European languages split from the Indo-Aryan varieties like Sanskrit that would become Hindi and others. Explore many variations that evolved and see why it can be so difficult to differentiate between a language and a dialect. x
    • 5
      The Click Languages
      Shift from Indo-European to some of the most endangered languages in the world: the “click” languages, formally known as Khoisan. Spoken in southern Africa, these endangered languages share a distinctive profile, and yet likely did not all come from a single family. Explore where they may have begun and how they work. x
    • 6
      Niger-Congo: Largest Family in Africa I
      The Niger-Congo family consists of anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 different languages. While they are part of the same family, they do not adhere to an identified pattern like Indo-European. What links this immense family together? What is the essence of the Niger-Congo? What can these languages tell us about migration patterns? Explore these questions and more. x
    • 7
      Niger-Congo: Largest Family in Africa II
      Look closer at some of the unique aspects of the Niger-Congo family, including the use of tone, and see how different languages can spring from the same original materials. Since the work of classifying languages is on-going, you may be surprised to see how many can develop in proximity and share words but be part of different groups altogether. x
    • 8
      Languages of the Fertile Crescent and Beyond I
      Follow the migration of peoples from Africa to the Middle East by looking at the language family that developed in the Fertile Crescent: Afro-Asiatic. This first look at this family focuses on the widely known Semitic branch, which includes Arabic and Hebrew. Examine what defines this group of languages and uncover the roots of the first alphabets. x
    • 9
      Languages of the Fertile Crescent and Beyond II
      Move beyond the Semitic languages to look at other subfamilies of Afro-Asiatic, including what some call the “Berber” subfamily and several other subfamilies spoken south of the Sahara, and see what they can teach us about the nature of language. Close with a look at Somali oral poetry and its complex use of alliteration. x
    • 10
      Nilo-Saharan: Africa's Hardest Languages?
      Afro-Asiatic languages are prevalent in the north of the African continent, and Niger-Congo in the south, with a narrow band of a third family running between: Nilo-Saharan. The Nilo-Saharan languages are immensely different from each other, so how do linguists know they are related? Examine the unique features of this family. x
    • 11
      Is the Indo-European Family Alone in Europe?
      Meet the other family of languages in Europe: Uralic, which includes Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian. Eccentric and tidy at the same time, this family stretches across the north of Europe and into Russia and parts of Asia. See why Turkish was once thought to be part of this family and how Uralic languages differ from Indo-European and others. x
    • 12
      How to Identify a Language Family
      How do linguists establish connections between languages and determine their common roots when it is nearly impossible to see a language change in real time? Take a look at the languages of Polynesia to see how changes can be followed backwards to reveal connections between different languages, then turn to the Indo-European and Uralic families. x
    • 13
      What Is a Caucasian Language?
      Named for the Caucasus mountains where they originate, the Caucasian languages are actually three different families: Northwestern, Northeastern, and a Southern one that includes Georgian. Explore these grammatically complex languages to better understand how they work and how so many different varieties can spring from a relatively small area. x
    • 14
      Indian Languages That Aren't Indo-European
      The “Big Four” languages (and many others) of southern India are not part of the Indo-European family but rather the Dravidian. Look at what the distribution of Dravidian languages says about where they come from and how they got where they are now—including some languages on the brink of extinction—and explore some of their unique features. x
    • 15
      Languages of the Silk Road and Beyond
      The languages called Altaic are spoken across Asia, from Turkey through Mongolia and to northeastern regions of Asia. Understand why there is some debate among linguists as to whether they comprise one family or are made of three separate ones as you look at how these languages function, including nuances like a mood known as “evidentiality.” x
    • 16
      Japanese and Korean: Alike yet Unrelated
      Are Japanese and Korean part of the Altaic family? They share some features of the other Altaic languages, yet some linguists believe they are separate. Take a brief foray through the fascinating Japanese writing system as you look deeper into the language. Then, turn to Korean, comparing and contrasting it with Japanese and other Asian languages. x
    • 17
      The Languages We Call Chinese
      Explore the Asian languages beyond Japanese and Korean, looking into several families along the way. See why Mandarin and Cantonese, though both considered Chinese, are a classic example of two different languages being mistaken for dialects—thanks in part to a shared writing system and cultural proximity. x
    • 18
      Chinese's Family Circle: Sino-Tibetan
      Chinese is one branch of the Sino-Tibetan family and the other branch, Tibeto-Burman, consists of around 400 languages spoken in southern China, northeastern India, and Burma. Look at features of languages from both branches and see what linguists can assume about the proto-language from which they may have sprung. x
    • 19
      Southeast Asian Languages: The Sinosphere
      How can languages that have very different origins still seem to be structurally related? To find out, look at the concept of a Sprachbrund and understand why contact is just as influential as origin when it comes to resemblances between otherwise unrelated languages—in this case, the influence of Chinese on other Asian languages. x
    • 20
      Languages of the South Seas I
      Journey to the South Seas to begin an investigation into Austronesian, one of the world's largest and most widespread language families. See what connects Austronesian languages to other families, as well as how they differ from European languages, and trace the way Austronesian languages have spread across far-flung locations. x
    • 21
      Languages of the South Seas II
      The languages of Polynesia are estimated to be some of the newest languages in the world, emerging only in the last millenium. Look back to the earliest cultures of the Polynesian islands to see how the languages likely originated and were disseminated, branching into separate sub-groups like Oceanic and the three that are all spoken on the small island of Formosa. x
    • 22
      Siberia and Beyond: Language Isolates
      How do some languages end up isolated amidst other, unrelated families? Look at pockets of language in Siberia, Spain, and Japan that are not related to those that surround them and better understand what the nature of language—and human migration and settlement patterns—can tell us about these unique places. x
    • 23
      Creole Languages
      Since all languages come from one original language, technically no one language is older than another. However, when two languages are forced into proximity, often a makeshift fusion of the two can emerge as a new language, known as a creole. Learn how a hierarchical, stopgap form of communication can become a true language. x
    • 24
      Why Are There So Many Languages in New Guinea?
      Turn your attention to one of the most linguistically rich places on Earth: the island of New Guinea, and discover why, thanks to its history and isolating terrain, it is home to hundreds of languages in a relatively small area. See how pronouns allow linguists to find connections between these languages, and explore some of their unusual traits. x
    • 25
      The Languages of Australia I
      Once the home of over 250 languages, Australia now only has about a dozen languages that will be passed to sizable generations of children. Take a look at some of the over two dozen language families in Australia and better understand how both separation from a common ancestor and proximity to a different language will cause a language to change in different ways. x
    • 26
      The Languages of Australia II
      Continue your examination of the languages of Australia, including the first Australian language to be documented by Europeans. Many of these languages present a case study in language obsolescence (as English dominates the continent) and language mixture (the emergence of creole languages due to European contact). x
    • 27
      The Original American Languages I
      Like Australia, North America was home to at least 300 distinct languages before English became dominant. Professor McWhorter takes you through some of the theories linguists have regarding the relationship of various Native American languages and the origins of humans and their varieties of speech on the North American continent. x
    • 28
      The Original American Languages II
      Zoom in on some of the larger families of North America and gain valuable insight into what they can tell us about language in general. You will get the chance to examine languages that are on the brink of extinction today, see which languages have contributed words currently used in American English, and more. x
    • 29
      The Original American Languages III
      Continue your journey through the languages of North America, including a language that uses no sounds that require the lips to touch. As you look at the unique grammatical features of languages across the continent, you will also consider what happens when languages die out and their complexities are lost to future generations. x
    • 30
      The Original American Languages IV
      Follow Native American migrations to encounter the language families that moved south to take root in Central and South America. From a language variety that incorporates whistling to some with object-subject-verb word order—and even one that resulted from a mass kidnapping—you will experience a range of fascinating linguistic developments. x
    • 31
      Languages Caught between Families
      The line between different language families is often blurred. Languages from different families that have been brought together can create a hybrid that belongs to both, and every combination happens in different ways and to varying degrees. Look at several examples of this phenomenon (which even includes English). x
    • 32
      How Far Back Can We Trace Languages?
      Embark on a quest that some believe may be impossible: tracing the relationships between the macro language families. See how the pursuit of evidence connecting the language families is complicated by time, accidental similarities, lost languages, and more, as you also look at several plausible theories that could offer solutions. x
    • 33
      What Do Genes Say about Language Families?
      The idiosyncrasies that show up in DNA allow us to trace back to common ancestors, much like language traits allow us to chart language-family relationships. Take a look at the concept of glottochronology and see what linguistic theories have been confirmed by genetics in places like Europe, India, and Polynesia—as well as some surprises. x
    • 34
      Language Families and Writing Systems
      What do writing systems tell us about language? Better understand why writing actually tells us more about human ingenuity in communication than it tells us about spoken language. Close with a consideration of the cultural importance of language, its preservation and loss, and the realities of a more linguistically homogeneous future. x
  • How to Build Your Own Furniture

    Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Designed for woodworkers at almost every level of experience, How to Build Your Own Furniture guides you step by step through several exciting furniture projects. Over the course of 10 lessons, master woodworker George Vondriska gives you the knowledge and confidence to build beautiful tables and chairs crafted to withstand everyday use—and that you can be proud of.

    View Lecture List (10)

    Designed for woodworkers at almost every level of experience, How to Build Your Own Furniture guides you step by step through several exciting furniture projects. Over the course of 10 lessons, master woodworker George Vondriska gives you the knowledge and confidence to build beautiful tables and chairs crafted to withstand everyday use—and that you can be proud of.

    View Lecture List (10)
    10 Lectures  |  How to Build Your Own Furniture
    Lecture Titles (10)
    • 1
      All about Wood
      Before you start a woodworking project, whether it's a picture frame or a table, you need to know the medium you're working with. How do you know which wood to use and when? What's the difference between particle board and plywood? What does hard" and "soft" wood even mean? What's the difference between wood that's plain sawn versus wood that's quarter sawn? How does lumber go from a tree to the individual plank you use for the job? How do you calculate board feet to make sure you purchase the right amount of material for your project? In this lesson, you'll come away with answers to these and other questions about wood. By the end, you'll have the knowledge to make more informed and economically-sound shopping decisions-and better, more professional woodworking projects." x
    • 2
      Mastering Mortise-and-Tenon Joints
      Mortise-and-tenon joints are commonly used in everyday tables and chairs of all sizes, which means it's important for the structural integrity of your project that you make your mortise-and-tenon joints correctly. With help from Mr. Vondriska, you'll learn tips and tricks to get your joints to the right size using a variety of tools so you can adapt to what you have in your workshop. You'll learn what it takes to get a plunge router set up to accurately cut mortises and explore how to use a bench-top mortiser to cut square holes into a piece of hardwood. You'll also look at how to use drill presses and router tables to produce accurate tenons. With all the insights in this lecture, you'll be able to make accurately fitting joints that stand up to the test of time. x
    • 3
      Must-Have Furniture-Making Skills, Part 1
      If you're going to make furniture like chairs and tables, there's some core information that you'll need to have to ensure your projects come out strong and looking good. Here, you'll tackle the must-have furniture-making skills needed to work ably with your skill level and the tools you have in your workshop. In the first of two lessons on these critical skills, you'll dive into topics including joinery, mortise-and-tenon joints, and loose tenons. Sidestepping a core project, this lesson focuses instead on practicing these skills using pieces of wood you might have just lying around. By watching these skills in action, and practicing them, you'll find yourself more than able to tackle making your own furniture like a master woodworker. x
    • 4
      Must-Have Furniture-Making Skills, Part 2
      In this engaging lesson on must-have furniture-making skills, turn to topics like tapered legs (both two-sided and four-sided). Mr. Vondriska then moves on to skills involving mitered and non-mitered corners, and talks about right ways to compose a solid wood tabletop that's smooth and flat. And when it comes to furniture making, gluing is just as important as joinery. You'll explore how to glue pieces edge to edge so they stick, stay flat, and look great. With all the many skills you'll cover in this lesson, you'll be able to customize them to fit your particular experience level-as well as the woodworking tools you have around you. With just a little patience and practice, there's no excuse for not being able to make your own furniture. x
    • 5
      Build a Sofa Table
      Your project in this lesson: a mission-style sofa table made from quarter-sawn oak that's held together by 24 mortise-and-tenon joints. Mr. Vondriska shows you ways to tackle the process of making a sofa table, from choosing the right wood to applying the last coats of stain. Along the way, you'll learn tips like these: Yellow glue dries faster than white glue and is easier to sand. Cut slats from an edge of 6/4 wood to get a quarter-sawn appearance. When using a table saw, build your dado head to slightly exceed the length of your tenon. Drill oversized holes in your shelf support to allow for the wood's seasonal expansion and contraction. Remove your table's top and shelf before you apply finish. x
    • 6
      Chair-Making Essentials
      It's true that a lot of woodworkers, even seasoned ones, are challenged by making chairs. Because there are few pieces of furniture in a house that have to tolerate stress like a chair, it's essential that the joinery is the best it can possibly be. Here, examine the essentials of chair making, with a focus on offset mortise-and-tenon joints (as there are 24 such joints that go into the chair you'll learn how to make). Additional features you'll create include a handhold that makes it easy to move the chair around, and book-matched back slats made of walnut. Plus, you'll get more help from an expert upholsterer who shows you all sorts of accessible tips and tricks for making attractive, professional slip-seats for your chair. x
    • 7
      Beautiful Bedside Table
      In this lesson, your project is a beautiful bedside table made of white oak that includes distinct features that will test your woodworking skills, including a full-extension drawer, leg and rail construction with mortise-and-tenon joinery throughout, two shelves that provide a unique opportunity to work with the expansion and contraction of solid wood, and a shelf bracket that's dadoed into the table legs. Mr. Vondriska takes you step by step through the process of making this table, instilling in you the confidence and knowledge to tackle a second table entirely on your own-because, of course, you'll need another table for the other side of your bed. x
    • 8
      Handkerchief Table
      Also known as drop-leaf tables, handkerchief tables may look complex. But with the tips you'll learn in this lesson, you'll be able to successfully complete one of these tables in your own workshop. One of the tasks you'll focus on is the joinery required to create the table's signature drop-leaf: a rule joint made with a match set of router bits specifically for drop-leaf tables. Other details you'll learn to make include the gate leg that swings not on a mechanical hinge, but a hinge you'll create using a dado head on a table saw; tapered legs that give the table a more delicate look; mortise-and-tenon joints at both 90- and 45-degree angles; and more. Never built a drop-leaf table before? Mr. Vondriska walks you through all the geometry and cool woodworking techniques you need. x
    • 9
      Design and Shape Cabriole Legs
      Join guest instructor David Munkittrick for a helpful, accessible look at how to design and build a classic style of leg-known for its s-curve and rounded foot-that goes all the way back to ancient Egypt and China. Like most complex woodworking projects, there are many ways you can go about shaping a cabriole leg, but Mr. Munkittrick simplifies the process so you can find the way that works best for you. Using a basic two-dimensional template, you'll built a Queen Anne-style cabriole leg that's 2-3/4 inches thick and 24 inches long. And the best part: Aside from a cabinet-maker's rasp, you won't have to spend lots of money on special tools to make this iconic leg. With just a little practice, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make a cabriole leg of your own. x
    • 10
      Finishing Essentials
      Nervous about finishing a woodworking project you've spent so much time and work on? No need to worry. In this lesson on the essentials of finishing projects, Mr. Vondriska teaches you what he's learned about finishing from his own mistakes. The goal: to give you the confidence level you need to finish your projects the right way-the first time. What finish should you use? What are the best tools for applying them? How do you avoid honey-like layers of finish that never want to dry? What are the benefits of lacquer, varnish, and urethane? What's the difference between natural bristles and synthetic bristles on particular types of finishing products (whether man-made or water-based)? Whether you're finishing a chair, a side table, or a picture frame, learn how to give your projects the great finale they deserve. x
  • The Skeptic's Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media

    Professor Roy Benaroch, M.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    As consumers of medical news, how can we know whether the article we just read is based on solid science or worthless trash? Professor Roy Benaroch of Emory University School of Medicine provides just the direction we need in The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media. In 24 fascinating lectures that address the most important health issues of our day, Dr. Benaroch shares six questions that will help us distinguish between good reporting and bad.

    View Lecture List (24)

    As consumers of medical news, how can we know whether the article we just read is based on solid science or worthless trash? Professor Roy Benaroch of Emory University School of Medicine provides just the direction we need in The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media. In 24 fascinating lectures that address the most important health issues of our day, Dr. Benaroch shares six questions that will help us distinguish between good reporting and bad.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Skeptic's Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Hormone Replacement Therapy
      For decades, the pharmaceutical industry and the press praised hormone replacement therapy as a panacea for menopausal symptoms and women's long-term health. But that all came to a screeching halt in 2002. Discover what the scientific studies that caused this sudden turnaround really said. And are men falling prey today to the same marketing tactics regarding testosterone? x
    • 2
      Concussions and the Future of Football
      What happens to billions of neurons when the gelatinous brain slams into the side of the hard skull? While the media has focused some attention on high-profile cases of concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, learn how selective reporting can lull us into believing an issue has been adequately addressed when that is far from the truth—and lives are at stake. x
    • 3
      New Drugs on the Block
      Is prescription drug “X” a wonder drug or a disastrous failure? It can be almost impossible to answer that question based on what’s presented in the press. Using two drugs as case studies, you’ll learn how to better understand and evaluate the media description of prescription drugs, and why institutional changes regarding data availability can make all the difference. x
    • 4
      Is It Time for Medical Marijuana?
      By examining the story of marijuana and our changing perceptions of its safety and usefulness, you'll learn how different stakeholders can affect media coverage, drive social change, and influence legislation. Given that the medical use of cannabis in the United States has not been driven by well-designed scientific studies, how can we best interpret the news reports addressing its efficacy and safety? x
    • 5
      The Media and Weight Loss
      The media focus on weight loss comes as no surprise. With two of every three Americans being overweight, we certainly need sound nutrition and weight-loss advice based on solid science. But is that what we’re getting? Learn how to read beneath the hyperbole-filled headlines—“Fats are Bad!”; “Fats are Good!”—to determine if an article’s content is really salient to your own health. x
    • 6
      Alternative Medicine in the News
      Millions of Americans every year turn to alternative-medicine approaches that have never been rigorously studied or have even been disproven. Learn why fish oil supplements are a $1.2-billion industry, despite research that shows no health benefit from their use, and why individuals continue to turn to stem cell “infusions” despite sometimes dire consequences. x
    • 7
      The Media's Take on Mental Health
      While mentally ill individuals are more likely to become victims of crime than to be violent perpetrators, their depiction in TV and film has skewed our perceptions of the risk they pose to society. The Associated Press has recently encouraged journalists to cover these issues more fairly and accurately. But as you'll discover by looking at related news articles, we still have a long way to go. x
    • 8
      The Media and the Internet
      You’d never believe people who told you they lived off air only, never eating. Yet one “Breatharian” couple received widespread media coverage on the internet, broadcast sites, and in print. Why are we so gullible? Learn how to think like a skeptic when reading news in any medium, remembering that while internet “clickbait” races continue to be faster and faster, real science is slow and steady. x
    • 9
      We Share Our World with Toxins
      While toxins are around us all the time and require a nuanced, sophisticated approach to understand, short and memorable headlines sell. Follow the fascinating media coverage of baby-food toxins and the new water system in Flint, MI, to discover the reasons for conflicting headlines and stories. Who got it right? And who got it so very wrong? x
    • 10
      Are Coffee and Wine Good for Your Heart?
      Learn why accurate reporting on the relationships between coffee, wine, and cardiovascular health—the number one cause of death in the United States—requires an understanding of real clinical endpoints as well as a desire to clearly explain the complicated answer to a seemingly simple question: Is this good for me or bad for me? With its ups and downs and missteps, the history of reporting on these topics is fascinating. x
    • 11
      Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality
      Why is life expectancy in the United States decreasing and infant mortality so high compared to other industrialized nations? Take a captivating look behind the scenes at the debate between scientists fighting for their individual points of view. Does the media explain the statistics behind their competing theories? If not, who suffers from the oversimplification of a “clickbait” headline? x
    • 12
      Is It Really OK to Stop Flossing?
      You might have seen a headline recently stating that flossing your teeth is a complete waste of time, or might have read that new guidelines mean your blood pressure might be high. But did you also read that many doctors do not agree with those changes? Probably not. Learn why health recommendations can suddenly change and how to determine if those changes apply to you. x
    • 13
      Does Cancer Screening Work
      We’ve all seen the stories about a cancer survivor whose life was saved by early screening—heart-warming stories that can make us want to run out and take every early-warning test in sight. But cancer screening is full of complexities that rarely make the news. Learn about the very real dangers of overdiagnosing, and how to determine which screenings are important for you. x
    • 14
      Drug Prices in the News
      In an ideal world, all medications would be available and affordable to those who need them. But the minutiae of prescription drug pricing can create a significant barrier. Learn about the unique role of the pharmacy benefit manager, how pharmaceutical companies work to keep generics out of the marketplace, and the ways in which gifts given by drug reps still influence doctors' prescribing habits. x
    • 15
      Selling Disease
      Discover how drug companies sometimes develop a drug first, and only then identify a disease the drug can address—think restless legs syndrome or chronic dry eye. Is the media helping us focus on our biggest health challenges, or pulling our attention over to the newest problems, problems potentially driven by pharmaceutical marketing? x
    • 16
      The Opioid Crisis
      Opioids had been around for a century before exploding into the crisis we have today. But the cause of the current crisis is not as simple as the story we often hear—greedy drug companies pushing greedy doctors to overprescribe. Learn what the most common cause of opioid death is today, and the role the news media can play with respect to educating families and creating pressure for policy change. x
    • 17
      Infections in the Headlines
      While the media has played an important role in educating the public about hygiene and the avoidance of disease, it has also been known to spread false rumors resulting in very real health consequences. Learn what the media got right and wrong in covering the recent outbreaks of Ebola and influenza. And our own take away? If we don't have time to read the full article, we shouldn't be skimming the headlines. x
    • 18
      Heath Risks in Our Environment
      Does your cell phone increase your risk for cancer? Does it really matter whether or not you use your seatbelt? Using your “Skeptic’s Toolkit,” learn how to examine the research that supports or (or doesn’t) the “risk” headlines to then make appropriate choices for you and your family. Exaggerating a risk might make for good “clickbait,” but it can lead to unnecessary fears and poor decision-making. x
    • 19
      Bad Science
      When doctors tragically rely on fraudulent or shoddy science published in reputable medical journals, patients can suffer. Even worse, explore the dark side of medical publishing, in which for-profit “journals” with worthy sounding titles publish trash articles reviewed by no one. When researchers’ work can be published for a fee, who really pays the price? x
    • 20
      Diet, Health, and the Power of Words
      From “superfood” to “pink slime” to acai, the media exerts a powerful effect on our concepts of food, diet, and health. Learn how to differentiate between nutrition-related scientific statements and marketing statements. When does the desire to eat whole, healthy foods become an unhealthy obsession? What role does the media play in influencing those choices? x
    • 21
      Genetics and the Media
      New information about the influence of our genes is released every day—but how does the press respond? With the example of genetic effects on obesity, you’ll discover how two antithetical headlines can result from the same scientific report. These overblown and overly simplistic headlines might attract readers, but they can muddy the waters of these complicated issues and even make readers skeptical of science itself. x
    • 22
      How to Stay Young
      Professor Benaroch will lead you through the exercise of finding solid, credible answers to a question on all of our minds: What's the best way to stay young and healthy? He'll illustrate how the skeptic's tools you've learned to use when reading or viewing media reports will help you answer this or any other health question. You'll be surprised where the research takes you! x
    • 23
      Cures for the Common Cold
      Use your “Skeptic’s Toolkit” to discover how to best address the common cold. What’s your best choice: Echinacea, good old chicken soup, vitamin C, vitamin D, or zinc? Will any of these options cure the cold or get rid of it faster than a placebo? You’ll find your answer by remembering that good journalism provides an honest headline followed immediately by solid facts and an accurate summary of the appropriate studies. x
    • 24
      The Media's Role in Improving Health
      Discover the positive role the popular media played in encouraging us to put our cigarettes down, our seatbelts on, and not mix drinking and driving. This is media at its best, working creatively and effectively in the interest of public health. What issues could the media address today to positively impact our public health? x
  • Effective Research Methods for Any Project

    Professor Amanda M. Rosen, PhD

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD
    Any good research rests upon, above all else, method. This brilliantly conceived course gives you a deep, detailed, and practical guide to proper research methods. As groundwork, you’ll grasp the features of good research and what defines it. You’ll then study research methodology, from the classic experiment to surveys, case studies, field research, and more. Finally, you’ll learn to analyze your data and communicate your findings.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Any good research rests upon, above all else, method. This brilliantly conceived course gives you a deep, detailed, and practical guide to proper research methods. As groundwork, you’ll grasp the features of good research and what defines it. You’ll then study research methodology, from the classic experiment to surveys, case studies, field research, and more. Finally, you’ll learn to analyze your data and communicate your findings.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Effective Research Methods for Any Project
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Research Methods Matter
      Begin by considering the fundamental purposes of research. Grasp the nature of research as systematic study to understand or explain the world. Learn important distinctions in research, starting with the notions of basic research vs. applied research. Then define exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research, and their implications, and examine the six steps of the scientific method. x
    • 2
      Characteristics of Good Research
      Take a thorough look at what distinguishes sound research from unsound research. Study important criteria for good research, useful both for evaluating the research of others and for structuring our own, noting how good research is systematic, objective, empirical, cumulative, and transparent. Also learn in detail how to spot poor research, and about potential pitfalls for researchers. x
    • 3
      Doing Research Ethically
      Assess the range of ethical considerations—codes, norms, and principles—that apply to doing research. Look first at the history of ethical violations, and regulations that now exist to govern research. Then review three key principles of ethical research. Delve into the matters of personal ethics in research, ethical review boards, and the process of obtaining consent for research. x
    • 4
      From Topic of Interest to Research Question
      Most research starts with an underlying topic. Examine different ways to select a topic for your research, and practice an exercise for topic selection. Note how it is vital to develop a compelling research question to focus your project, and how good research questions are “unanswered,” appropriate in scope, and empirical. Finally, study five tips for creating good research questions. x
    • 5
      What's Already Known? The Literature Review
      Here, discover why a literature review—a study of the scholarly literature related to your topic—is an essential first step in the research process. Take account of the many benefits that a literature review provides, and the dangers of skipping this step. Grasp how to find the scholarly sources you need, how to identify the core findings in the literature, and how to write your findings up. x
    • 6
      Generating Hypotheses and Theories
      Learn how theories drive research, when they're needed, and how to develop a theory, looking first at the literature. Then see how hypotheses function as testable statements that suggest an answer to your research question, and how theory and hypothesis closely intersect. Study four rules for writing a good hypothesis, and work with templates for writing hypotheses that follow these rules. x
    • 7
      Selecting a Research Design
      This lecture explores a range of approaches to research design, and how to choose one that is best for your project. First, examine both quantitative and qualitative research methods, from experiments and surveys to case studies and field research. Then study key considerations for research design, and see how different kinds of research questions lend themselves to specific methodologies. x
    • 8
      Measuring Concepts and Phenomena
      Grasp how sound research rests on the ability to measure the variables within your research study. Learn how to conceptually define your variables of interest, and how to “operationalize” and measure your variables prior to data collection. Look at four main levels of measurement, the need for precise data, and the importance of reliability and validity in your measurements. x
    • 9
      Choosing Populations, Samples, and Cases
      For your research design, investigate the population of cases or data points that apply to your project, and the sample or subset of this population that you will actually study. Delve into key issues in sampling, and learn to define the size of the sample you need. Finally, see how to determine which cases make it into your sample, and review two broad approaches to sampling. x
    • 10
      The Classic Experiment
      Look deeply into the procedure of the classic or “true” experiment, the hallmark of good scientific research. Study the four requirements or features of a true experiment, and consider the two types of validity that apply to experiments: internal validity and external validity. Then, review the three most common designs for a true experiment, and how they function in practice. x
    • 11
      The Value of Quasi Experiments
      Refine your understanding of the classic experiment by studying alternative research designs that are closely related. Observe the example of an impactful research study that did not fulfill the full requirements of a true experiment. Dig into the broad category of quasi-experimental designs which, though they fall short of the classic experiment, can still produce very valuable research. x
    • 12
      Designing and Conducting a Survey
      In the first of two lectures on surveys, observe how surveys are used to find out about peoples' opinions and behaviors. Look at the various kinds of surveys, which sorts of projects are most suitable for surveys, and evaluate the costs and benefits of different types of surveys. Then learn how to write a survey, highlighting five important principles for creating effective survey questions. x
    • 13
      Understanding Election Polls
      Focus now on election polling. First, delineate the critical difference between scientific and unscientific polling, and why scientific polling is much more reliable. Study five rules for good polling, which help us evaluate which polls we can trust. Apply these rules to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and gain insight into why the polling did not match the election results. x
    • 14
      Research by Case Study
      Case studies examine either one or a small number of cases, with the goal of in-depth understanding of their complexities. Take account of the wide range of uses of case studies in research, and when a case study is a good choice. Learn how case studies make use of multiple types and sources of data, and consider five categories of cases that lend themselves to the case study approach. x
    • 15
      Interpretivism and Field Research
      Learn how the “interpretivist” approach to research differs substantially from the “positivist” approach we’ve studied so far, highlighting subjective interpretation as opposed to positivism’s search for objective, rational truths. See how the interpretivist approach is applied to field research, and delve into the use of interviews and observation as methods of gathering qualitative data. x
    • 16
      Applied, Evaluative, and Action Research
      Explore “applied” research, which aims at applying knowledge to problem-solving. First study evaluation research, typically used to evaluate actions or programs in business and government. Then learn about action research, which seeks collaborative solutions to real-world problems, and how to do it. Look also at market and product research, used to determine what consumers want. x
    • 17
      Gathering and Preparing Data
      Take stock of the kinds of data we’ve looked at, such as data from experiments, interviews, surveys, observation, and the written record. Learn how to put your data into a practical format—most often, using a spreadsheet. Then study coding, the process of transforming raw data into usable categories. Then, look at data analysis programs you can use to help process and analyze your data. x
    • 18
      Using Statistics to Interpret Data
      Descriptive statistics are simple calculations that help us describe and understand our data. Learn how to use the three calculations of central tendency, which shows us the middle or center of our data, variation, showing how much variation there is in the data, and frequency, which shows how frequently each value appears. Note how the use of “z scores” gives further insights into your data. x
    • 19
      Statistical Inferences from Data
      Inferential statistics allows us to make inferences and draw conclusions from our data. Begin by studying some key principles for interpreting the implications of your findings. Then review three tests that researchers use to analyze their data and get answers: “Z tests,” “T tests,” and the ANOVA test, which are commonly used to compare statistical differences between groups. x
    • 20
      Assessing Correlation and Causation
      For your data analysis, study correlation, the relationship or association between two or more variables, and causation, the idea that a change in one variable causes a change in another. Learn how to identify whether a correlation exists between your variables, and to distinguish the form and strength of that relationship. Note that establishing correlation does not establish causation. x
    • 21
      From Bivariate to Multivariate Analysis
      In this final lesson on quantitative analysis, study three important analytic tools: cross-tabulation tables, which allow us to visually examine the relationship between two variables; chi-squared values, which indicate how likely it is that any pattern or relationship we observe is due to chance; and linear regression, useful in establishing whether one factor or variable causes another. x
    • 22
      Foundations of Qualitative Analysis
      Begin your study of qualitative methods by noting the differences between quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis, which usually involves identifying patterns and meaning in texts. Explore different scenarios where you may want to use a qualitative approach. Then study one overall, basic approach to qualitative analysis, and see how this approach works in practice. x
    • 23
      Qualitative Analysis Variations
      Observe how qualitative analysis is less linear than quantitative approaches, and can involve a re-ordering of the steps in the research process. Review several additional qualitative methods, from “grounded theory,” which looks at the implications of core concepts embedded in data, to methods used to interpret texts, conversations, personal narratives, policy, and decision-making. x
    • 24
      The Art of Presenting Your Findings
      As a final step in the research process, review the range of different approaches to sharing and communicating your findings, from formal to less formal. Take a detailed look at the structure and contents of a formal research report presenting your results, as well as the matters of peer review and the assessment of your work. Conclude with thoughts on the nature and goals of research. x