Undergraduate Research at
Sinclair Community College
Katherine R. Rowell
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning
Professor of Sociology
Tonya Barnes, Student, Sociology and Social Work
23,000 credit students Percentage of
35,000 – 40,000 31%
65,000 individuals City of Dayton
Other Montgomery County
served through non- Out-of-County
60% female 20% minority
Most work while
32% evening and taking classes
41% between the
ages of 20-29
35% are taking less
than 6 credit hours
Fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission
of the North Central Association
– Associate of Applied Science
– Associate of Arts
– Associate of Science
– Associate of Technical Study
– Associate of Individualized Study
Short Term Technical Certificates
Why a Research Course at the
Community College Level?
American Sociology Association and SSDAN
along with NSF Funding…
The Integrating Data Analysis Project (IDA)
We know this helps students learn!!!!
The major impetus is that research in the
undergraduate curriculum increases student
For the past five years, the departments
has intentionally been integrating data
analysis throughout our curriculum
Students who have had this experienced
asked for an opportunity to have a
Description of the Class
10 students registered for the course
All had at least one course with me and
had experienced an integrating data
We do not have a major in two year
degrees, most were liberal arts majors and
one was business
4 of the 10 were honors students
Why did students take the
Since there is no guarantee that a new
course will transfer, students knew this up
They had developed a real interest in
All of the students were actively involved
in the class.
As sociologists, we conduct research for the primary
purpose of providing trustworthy information and
evidence about society. There are two types of
sociological research-academic and applied. Academic
researchers typically work in a university or college
setting and conduct research to primarily focus on
research to help expand the scientific understanding of
human society. Applied Research is research that
focuses on meeting the research needs of an
organization like a business or social agency. Research
is an important part of any career.
Course description continued
This course will provide you as a student a basic
introductory understanding of how to conduct
survey research and use secondary data
analysis to understand the society and world
around us. Students will have an opportunity to
complete an academic research project, applied
research project, and write a research proposal
for a future research project.
Course Objectives Part I
Understand the scientific research method and the types of research
methods used to study society.
Develop social responsibility and an ethic of service: attitudes and
understandings needed to live in society as responsible citizens and
to contribute to building a caring and just society.
Demonstrate critical thinking thru the use of the sociological
perspective of the major social institutions, and social change
Demonstrate professional effectiveness and teamwork by exhibiting
leadership, cooperation, and making productive contributions to
group written and oral assignments. Students must also
demonstrate a respect for diverse view points within the group.
Interpret statistical tables, graphs, charts as they apply to an
understanding of the major institutions and social change.
Course Objectives Part II
Calculate and interpret the measures of central tendency as a
means of processing data sets.
Learn the basics about survey research including sampling, survey
construction, anonymity, confidentiality.
Examine the rules of ethics in research and how to effectively deal
with the Institutional Review Process.
Develop and understanding of both academic and applied research
through experiences in both types of research.
Increase understanding of information literacy including how to use
the library to search for academic resources and how to read journal
Examine the role of institutional planning and research and grants in
higher education and how research is used on a college campus to
Learn how to enter data into SPSS and Microsoft Excel.
Major Course Projects
House of Bread Service Learning Project
Replication of an Academic Study
Each student developed a research
3 Secondary Analysis Projects
Learned SPSS and Excel
We filmed the experience
House of Bread: Lessons Learned
Overall, this project was the most successful of the projects
completed in the course. Our findings helped the House of Bread
make a case with the City of Dayton for homeless assistance.
Face to face interviewing was difficult for some students. Some
students were better at conducting interviews than others.
We learned that to get participants we had to give interviewees
something. We ended up giving each interviewee a personal hygiene
product gift bag.
Qualitative Data is time consuming to enter and analyze
Direct participation in a research project is a great way to learn how
to do research and we felt that our research made a difference.
Study We Chose to Replicate
“Comparative Study of Traditional and Nontraditional
Students, Identities and Needs”
Authors: Mary Scheuer Senter and Richard Senter, Jr.
NASPA Journal Volume 35, no. 4, Summer 1998
Authors were kind enough to share a copy of their survey with
Original study examined the differences between traditional
and nontraditional students on a 4 year campus
We hypothesized that there might be differences if we
examined nontraditional students at a community college
Original study found that traditional students had as many
needs as nontraditional students (there was more to this
study). Our class thought we might find different outcomes if
we studied nontraditional at a community college.
Brief Findings of Replication Study
Our study sample includes a total of 135
University and Community College
98 Sinclair Community College Students
37 Wittenberg University Students
96 White, 24 African American, 14 Other
29 Males and 106 Females
90 Students Identified as Traditional
42 Students Identified as Non-Traditional
Academic Replication Study:
Our survey asked way too many questions (we added to
many to the original)
Entering all that data by hand is very tedious and time
Finding students to take our survey seriously and take
the time to complete it was difficult because of the length
of the survey
We did not find any significant findings due to problems
with the sample and many students not completing the
Research Proposals developed in
Lisa O’Hearn— Unlearning Prejudice in Situations of Project
Deborah Wenger—Effective Teaching Strategies for Young Latino Immigrant
Colleen Lim—Selling Obesity on the Campus of Sinclair Community College
Caroline Jentleson—Self Image of Children in Poverty
Tonya Barnes—The Effectiveness and Outcomes of Church Outreach
Mathew Eviston—Barriers to Health Care
Gary Scott—Juvenile Attitudes towards the Police in the Inner City vs. the Suburbs
Brandon Fennell—Prejudice Against Body Art and Modification in the Work Place
Jessica Emmrich—Changing Religious Attitudes Among College Students
Three students completed research proposals
they developed in the next quarter
Tonya Barnes went on to complete a research project
and worked with another faculty member on Achieving
the Dream Data. She presented at STARS and the North
Central Sociological Association
Lisa O’Hearn went on to complete her research project
Winter Quarter 2009 and presented at the STARS
Gary Scott went on to complete his research project
Winter Quarter 2009 and presented at the STARS
Tonya Barnes shares her experiences with
research over the past two years while at
Sinclair Community College
Why did she get involved?
How has it been beneficial?
Has it affected her future plans?
Institutional Issues at
IRB ( Five years ago we did not have an IRB because of
the department interest in undergraduate research, we
now have an IRB)
Funding for student travel ( I was able to find funding
through Honors Program and STARS program in Ohio)
Academic culture that seems to suggest research should
be saved for third and fourth year students
Future of a Research Methods
We are focusing on integrating data
analysis in all our courses
We would like to offer a research methods
course but the issue of transferability with
4 year institutions is problematic
Will continue to offer it every other year
Why is it worthwhile to faculty?
Why is it worthwhile to students?
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