Dec 07, 2022  

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SOC 280W - Introduction to Social/Behavioral Science Research/Project

Credits: 4
Introduces social and behavioral research utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. Shows how to formulate research questions, search the literature, select a research design, collect and analyze data, and draw useful conclusions. Requires a research paper. Credit may be earned in only one of SOC 280W, SOC 280HW , or SOC 279W .

Prerequisite(s): None
Corequisite(s): SOC 281W  and one of the following courses: ECN 221W , POL 103W , PSY 211W , SOC 211W , or permission of instructor.
Lecture Hours: 60 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Social Science
Pass/NoCredit: No

Outcomes and Objectives
  1. Formulate simple research questions and select an appropriate design for research.
    1. Apply social scientific theory to the development of a research question and the definition of concepts.
    2. Formulate a researchable hypothesis either deduced from theory or induced from empirical observations.
    3. Differentiate between variables and constants.
    4. Explain the criteria of causality (time order, association and control) and distinguish between independent and dependent variables.
    5. Select an appropriate, systematic, empirical method (such as survey, experiment, ethnography or existing data) to test the hypothesis.
    6. Operationalize - finding valid and reliable indicators for each concept in the hypothesis (or hypotheses) to be tested.
    7. Distinguish between applied research and basic research.
    8. Demonstrate an appreciation for the ethical issues involved in social scientific research.
    9. Distinguish among levels of measurement of variables such as nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio and appreciate the significance for drawing conclusions from the analysis of data.
  2. Conduct a basic review of the literature related to the question being studied.
    1. Use the library to find information on a topic.
    2. Demonstrate an appreciation for the utility of electronic data bases and the Internet.
    3. Demonstrate an awareness of the guides, indexes and information resources available in a modern library.
  3. Collect data effectively which relate to the issue being studied.
    1. Operationalize concepts selecting valid and reliable indicators whether using quantitative or qualitative methods.
    2. Write questions at various levels of measurement which serve as valid and reliable indicators when surveys are used.
    3. Understand the problems and opportunities of participant observation as well as efficient handling of qualitative data using ethnographic methods.
    4. Gain an appreciation of the availability of resources, such as the Census, and the particular problems of secondary analysis of data using the ethnographic method.
    5. Gather data effectively, systematically and ethically.
  4. Analyze the data collected and draw useful conclusions.
    1. Use the basic techniques of data analysis appropriate to the method selected. For example, in survey analysis, the student will able to use simple percentage tables and correlations to discover associations and draw conclusions.
    2. Demonstrate an appreciation for the strengths and limitations of empirical data.
    3. Relate the findings to theory or, in applied research, to the possible solutions of the problem being studied.
    4. Discuss the findings orally in an effective manner.
    5. Present the findings of the research effectively in a written research paper using the style and techniques appropriate to the discipline.
  5. Use writing tasks to promote learning.
    1. Practice critical writing skills within the subject.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of subject matter.

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