This chapter outlines the book’s research strategy. It reviews the rationale for the book’s approach, features of the sample, and the nature of the measures, including the coding process and the form of analysis. All of these factors are designed to answer the basic three questions of this book: (1) how to measure and operationalize the OLC, (2) how to identify differences across institutions in dimensions of their learning contracts and (3) how do differences in OLCs affect indicators of individual and institutional effectiveness? Three institutions were studied in depth. Two are new colleges, and one is established. They are matched in terms of discipline and student and faculty input quality.
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