SOCIOLOGY 110 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Fall 2004 Instructor: Mary Ellen Donnan Office: McGreer 300 Telephone: 822-9600 ext. 2410 email: email@example.com 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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