Doctoral Research

Research is a cornerstone of the College of Doctoral Studies, empowering learners to collaborate and advance within all fields. Through a continual dialogue regarding research and ethics guidelines, we serve the advancement of Grand Canyon University's (GCU) doctoral programs and other academic communities. Explore our resources, designed to suit your needs and interests, including the Center for Innovation and Research Teaching (CIRT), the Journal of Instructional Research (JIR) and GCU's Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Research

What is qualitative versus quantitative research? Qualitative research is less structured and answers open-ended questions, providing subjective results that reveal bias but seek to explore and explain. Quantitative research, on the other hand, seeks to confirm a hypothesis and often uses numbers and statistical results. Quantitative research typically answers closed-ended questions, and is typically documented using objective language.

At the College of Doctoral Studies, we value both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Depending on your degree and your dissertation, you may find that using one method is more appropriate than the other.

Not only does GCU provide a clear and attainable path for doctoral learners, but they also provide goals, timelines and resources.

Michael Lee PhD in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology

Institutional Review Board

The IRB ensures that all GCU-conducted research meets the highest ethical standards and complies with federal regulations. The IRB provides timely and efficient processing, review, monitoring, tracking and reporting of all research protocols and IRB activities, and requires that all research conducted by researchers within the GCU community meets the following requirements:

  • Protects human participants
  • Develops and sustains an ethical research environment
  • Ensures that researchers are qualified
  • Ensures that research has the potential to add value to the academic community and society

All researchers within the GCU community who aspire to conduct research at GCU must submit their request to the IRB using the appropriate form. Guidelines for GCU researchers are provided in the Institutional Review Board Handbook.

Research Ethics

GCU enforces a strict and defined set of standards that challenge our scholars to practice ethical research. The principles that define our practices include those of the National Research Act, which ensures the protection of humans involved in research; the Belmont Report, which specifies basic ethical principles and their application in research; and the mandatory research ethics training prior to applying for IRB approval. Our uncompromised standards continue to facilitate excellence in field advancement and underscore the ethical code for which our university is known.

Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching

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We believe innovative research fosters creativity, critical thinking and learning. CIRT facilitates excellence in scholarship and instruction at GCU. A faculty-driven initiative, CIRT crosses teaching disciplines to foster an integrated community of educators. For more information on CIRT, visit

Canyon Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

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The Canyon Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies is an annual online publication coordinated by CIRT that highlights exemplary student and faculty research completed at GCU. For more information on CJIS, visit

Journal of Instructional Research

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JIR is an annual online publication produced by CIRT. JIR helps scholars enhance their understanding and the application of best practices in college teaching. Attain Research Ready certification and prepare to engage in scholarly research, apply for a variety of grants and find out how to submit your own research. For more information on JIR, visit

Journal of Non-Significant Differences

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The Journal of Non-Significant Differences is a student-led, peer-reviewed journal designed to highlight the value of non-significant research findings while providing learners with a comprehensive understanding of the research cycle and the publication process. For more information on the Journal of Non-Significant Differences, visit

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