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Research Methods

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									           DEPARTMENT OF LATINO AND HISPANIC CARIBBEAN STUDIES
                Rutgers University – New Brunswick/Piscataway

                    Research Methods in Latino Studies (595:304:01)
                                    Spring 2009

Professor: Zaire Dinzey-Flores
Email: zdinzey@rci.rutgers.edu

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 PM or by appointment
Office: 239 Tillett Hall

Class Meetings: T, Th 5-6:20 PM
Class Location: LSH A121

I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of research methods that can be used in
Latino and Caribbean studies. The course aims to help you take your first steps in doing
independent research in the interdisciplinary field of ethnic studies, the social sciences,
and humanities. You will be introduced to the major issues that researchers face as they
embark upon a project; asking a proper research question, examining the background
literature, selecting the appropriate methods for addressing the question. Upon the
completion of this course, students will be able to:
 Identify a research topic
 Develop a researchable question
 Develop a plan of research.
 Develop a review of the relevant literature and consider ethical concerns in the
   research process.
 Apply a sample of multidisciplinary research data collection and analysis techniques,
   including historical, qualitative, and quantitative.
 Develop a research proposal and present results of the research.

Be aware that this course requires a lot of work and a significant time commitment.
More than teaching you examples of research, this is a course that involves DOING and
EXPERIENCING the actual research process. Therefore, you will be required to
complete a significant amount of work outside of the class meeting time and to come to
class ready to discuss the work you have done.

II. READINGS
All readings will be available in Sakai or will be handed out in class.

Although this is not a reading intensive course, it is very important that you do
complete the readings that you are assigned. They are important for understanding


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lectures and discussions during class, and essential for preparing you to adequately
complete the assignments.

III. REQUIREMENTS & GRADING
Attendance & Class Participation (25%)
Your attendance and participation in this course are essential. Absences will greatly
disrupt your progress and ability to keep the pace in the course.

I will take attendance at the beginning of each class. You will only be allowed one
unexcused absence. Any additional unexcused absence will result in five percentage
point reduction in the final grade.

Please do not e-mail or phone me about your absences or ask for a review of the material
you missed for whatever reason. You should consult with your fellow students. Only for
excused absences will I offer a brief review during office hours. The ultimate
responsibility for missed material belongs to you. The attendance policy is non-
negotiable.

Many class sessions will be dedicated to discussing your work. As such, you will be
required to be an active participant and frequently present your work. Be prepared!!

Assignments (50%)
The best way to effectively learn research methods, as well as the important
considerations to take in the pursuit of research, is to jump into the process. Therefore,
this course has weekly, and sometimes more frequent, assignments. In most cases, the
assignments will form the basis for discussions in the class. Therefore, assignments
should be ready to hand in at the beginning of class on the due date. All assignments
will be graded on a 10-point scale. The sum of assignments will be worth 50% of your
final grade.

Research Journal (10%) – DUE MAY 4
In addition to the assignments, you will keep a research journal which you will use as
your main notebook to take down notes in class, and to write down observations,
thoughts, and questions about your research project. You can also use the journal to
brainstorm and outline your research activities. I strongly recommend that you get a
bound notebook to prevent losing pages.

At the end of the course, you will hand in your journal. All journal entries should have a
heading that includes the date and time, and a title that identifies the lecture and
research event (e.g., interviewing X, observing at the mall). During the course of the
semester, I will give you further guidance of things you might consider including in
your journal entries for specific research events. You will hand in the journal at the end
of the semester and will receive a letter grade. The criteria for grading the journal will



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be: 1) completeness – whether there are journal entries for all required research sessions;
2) form – whether the journal entries conform and/or respond to the questions, ideas,
lessons, needs outlined in the class session; and 3) engagement –whether the journal
entries reflect a general engagement with the research enterprise.

In addition to the research journal, I recommend that you get an accordion folder to
keep research materials and course materials and readings.

Final Research Proposal (15%) – DUE MAY 4
As a final assignment, you will hand in a final version of the research proposal, in
addition to the collection of drafts and final versions for all assignments completed
during the term.

You will begin building your portfolio the first day of class, and you should insert copies
of all completed assignments in it.

You will need a binder with at least 3” rings, and at least 10 dividers with tabs. In each
section of the binder, you will include any drafts and final version of each type of
assignment. Be sure that you include the date on the heading of all work completed so
that the chronology is clear. Identify the final draft with the date and the words “FINAL
DRAFT” in the heading.

In addition, you will include a final research proposal that consolidates everything you
have learned throughout the course

IV. COURSE POLICIES
o Assignments are due in class on the dates indicated. Work submitted after the end of
    the class time is considered late and will be penalized two points, and two additional
    points for each day delayed. No assignments will be accepted after one week of their
    due date.
o There will be no make-up for missed in-class work.
o Electronic submissions of work (e.g., email) will not be accepted.
o I expect outmost academic integrity. That means that any type of academic
    dishonesty (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, not turning in your work) will not be
    tolerated. Plagiarism is defined by the Policy on Academic Integrity at Rutgers as
    “the representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic
    exercise. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation
    marks or by appropriate indentation and must be promptly cited in the text or
    footnote. Acknowledgement is required when material from another source is stored
    in print, electronic, or other medium and is paraphrased in whole or in part in one’s
    own words. Plagiarism can, in some cases, be a subtle issue. Any question about
    what constitutes plagiarism should be discussed with the faculty member.” Please




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    read the full policy on academic integrity at
    http://wp.rutgers.edu/courses/201/plagiarism_policy/
o   This course is meant for all of us to learn through the exchange of ideas and views.
    As such, we should all be ready to hear diverging views on different topics and to
    engage in fruitful discussion. Please respect your peers’ observations and opinions.
o   Please turn all cell phones or technological gadgets that might cause a disruption
    during class OFF=]\ba

V. COURSE SCHEDULE
DATE           TOPIC                                         *ASSIGNMENT
PART I: PLANNING A RESEARCH PROJECT
Tues
                      Introduction & Syllabus Review
Jan 20
Thurs                 What is Research?
                                                             Research Interests
Jan 22                Types of Research Questions
Tues                  Planning, Designing and Managing
                                                             Research Questions
Jan 27                a Research Project
Thurs                 Research Ethics and Human
Jan 29                Subjects
Tues                  Research Ethics and Human              Human Subjects
Feb 3                 Subjects (ctd.)                        Certification
Thurs
                      Elements of a Research Proposal
Feb 5
                                                             Research Proposal
Tuesday                                                      (Draft 1)
Feb 10                                                       Introduction; Research
                                                             Question; Plan
PART II: RESEARCH IN CONTEXT
Thurs
                      Library Research
Feb 12
Tues
                      Bibliographical Sources
Feb 17
Thurs                 Literature Review – Constructing a
Feb 19                List of References
                      Literature Review –
Tues
                      Annotated Bibliography                 100 & 30 Reference Lists
Feb 24

Thurs
                      Literature Review
Feb 26

Tues
                                                             Annotated Bibliography
Mar 3


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       Thurs                RESEARCH EXPOSE –
       Mar 5                CONTRIBUTIONS
                                                                 Research Proposal
       Tues
                            Historical Methods                   (DRAFT 2)
       Mar 10
                                                                 Literature Review
       PART III: RESEARCH METHODS PRACTICUM
       Thurs
                            Historical Methods
       Mar 12
       Mar 17               SPRING BREAK!!! – NO CLASS
       Mar 19               SPRING BREAK!!! – NO CLASS
       Tues
                            Quantitative Methods
       Mar 24
       Thurs
                            Census
       Mar 26
       Tues
                            Qualitative Methods Overview         Census Table
       Mar 31
       Thurs
                            Participant Observation
       Apr 2
       Tues                 Participant Observation Discussion    Participant Observation
       Apr 7                & Prep for Interviewing               Report
       Thurs
                            Interviewing
       Apr 9
       Tues
                            Discussion of Interviewing           Transcribed Interview
       Apr 14
       Thurs                Analyzing Qualitative Data –
       Apr 16               Content Analysis
       Tues
                                                                 Content Analysis
       Apr 21
       Thurs
                            Media & Research
       Apr 23
       Tues
                            Text Analysis                        Media Analysis
       Apr 28
       PART III: WRITING & PRESENTING RESEARCH
       Thurs
                            Writing & Presenting Research
       Apr 30
                                                                   RESEARCH JOURNAL,
        MAY 5                NO CLASS                              PROPOSAL, &
                                                                   PORTFOLIO
* Note that the assignment schedule is tentative and might change during the semester. All
  assignments will be discussed in class prior to their due date.




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