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Introduction to Social/Behavioral Science Research

SOC 279W

Introduction to Social/Behavioral Science Research

SOC 279W

Course Description

Prerequisite: One of the following courses ECN 221, POL 103, POL 111, PSY 211, SOC 211, or permission of instructor. 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. Credit may be earned in SOC 279 or SOC 280, but not in both. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Formulate simple research questions and select an appropriate design for research.

Objectives:

  • Apply social scientific theory to the development of a research question and the definition of concepts.
  • Formulate a researchable hypothesis either deduced from theory or induced from empirical observations.
  • Differentiate between variables and constants.
  • Explain the criteria of causality (time order, association and control) and distinguish \between independent and dependent variables.
  • Select an appropriate, systematic, empirical method (such as survey, experiment, ethnography or existing data) to test the hypothesis.
  • Operationalize - finding valid and reliable indicators for each concept in the hypothesis (or hypotheses) to be tested.
  • Distinguish between applied research and basic research.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the ethical issues involved in social scientific research.
  • 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.

Conduct a basic review of the literature related to the question being studied.

Objectives:

  • Use the library to find information on a topic.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the utility of electronic data bases and the Internet.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the guides, indexes and information resources available in a modern library.

Collect data effectively which relate to the issue being studied.

Objectives:

  • Operationalize concepts selecting valid and reliable indicators whether using quantitative or qualitative methods.
  • Gather data effectively, systematically and ethically.

Analyze the data collected and draw useful conclusions.

Objectives:

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the strengths and limitations of empirical data.
  • Relate the findings to theory or, in applied research, to the possible solutions of the problem being studied.
  • Discuss the findings orally in an effective manner.

Use writing tasks to promote learning.

Objectives:

  • Practice critical writing skills within the subject.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of subject matter.