SOCIOLOGY 110 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
                                     Fall 2004

Instructor:            Mary Ellen Donnan                  Office: McGreer 300
Telephone:             822-9600 ext. 2410                 email:
Office Hours:          Monday 3:00-4:00
                       Tuesdays 1:30-2:30, Or by appointment

I. General

Methods is a subject of pivotal importance for you in your training as social scientists. If you
work hard at understanding the concepts, central problems and question in this course you will
find yourself drawing many times over the next few years on the knowledge you take from this
course. The method of study that a researcher chooses has a very deep impact on what can be
learned about their subject. The skill and care with which research is conducted delimits the
quality of the results of all research effort.

The course begins with how sociological research questions are imagined and what kind of terms
researchers can use to communicate with each other or with the public about their research
topics. Some of the questions we will discuss during this course include: What are the various
research methods available to social scientists? What is the relationship of theory and method,
theory and politics, politics and method? What is the distinction, if any, between qualitative and
quantitative research methods? These are among the questions that social science researchers
deal with at some level on a daily basis in their working lives. There is no right answer to many
of these questions. Indeed, research methodology is very hotly contested academic terrain.

II. Reading Material

There is one required text as listed below. You are also responsible for additional reading which
is distributed or assigned during class.

Adler, E.S and R. Clark. How It’s Done: An Invitation to Social Research. Toronto: Nelson
       Thompson Learning, 2003.

III. Objectives of the Course:
1) To introduce the student to the critical study of research methodology

2) To familiarize the student with basic concepts, tools and a variety of techniques of qualitative
and quantitative research methods in the social sciences.

3) To encourage awareness among the students that we are all knowledge producers and that all
knowledge has political implications as it has implications for social change.

4) To identify the various ways of studying methods as a sociologist

5) To enhance student’s analytical skill and their ability to express themselves clearly.
IV. Evaluation:

A. Brief Assignments (30%)
       Three assignments, 10% each; numbers one and three are to be done individually,
       number two to be conducted as a group project.

Purpose: To give students actual experience in the conduct of social research in both of the real-
world contexts of group work and individual projects.

(I) The observation of social behavior in a variety of public places (ie: elevators, libraries,
classrooms, cafeterias, supermarkets, etc.). Your written report should indicate the regularities
(or consistencies) and/or unique types of behavior which occurred in the public places observed.
Individual assignment, Due Oct. 4

(ii) The development of a short survey instrument (interview schedule or questionnaire) for the
collection of data on a problem of your choice. The written report should include a statement of
the problem, the objectives and hypothesis, and the interview questions.
Small group assignment, Due Nov. 1

(iii) Development of a qualitative interview proposal for the topic of your choice. The written
report should include: a brief review of the literature, a statement of the hypothesis, an outline of
the plan for data collection including: methods and location for the research, topics for the
interview and a letter of introduction to research participants.
Individual assignment, Due Nov. 15.

B. Long Written Assignment: Research Proposal (35%) Due November 29

Proposal should be a group project. It is not expected that the study be actually carried out during
the term. It is expected, however, that some of the necessary background preparation will be
developed such as the statement of the problem for research, objectives, hypotheses, review of
relevant literature, and operational definition of concepts, ethical review procedures, sampling,
data collection procedures and other relevant decisions. Think carefully about what you wish to
do here and negotiate with your committee. Each group should select a topic in which you share
great interest as it will be to your advantage to continue to work with this same material in the
second semester Data Analysis (SOC 111) course.

Specific directions for your research proposals will be provided.

C. Examination

Mid Term: (25%) Oct. 25

D. Participation (10 %)
You will have numerous opportunities to get involved with active learning exercises throughout
the course. The informed, enthusiastic and cooperative nature of your participation in these
learning opportunities will be observed.

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