SOCI4403 Social Research Methods

Course Description

SOCI 4403 is a four hour course in research methods. The course provides a comprehensive overview of social science research methods, with considerations given toward methodology, measurement strategies, and research designs. A strong understanding of research methods is a vital aspect to understanding how we come to measure and understand the social world, and this course will provide you with many skills toward that understanding.

This course includes a one-semester credit hour lab that focuses on the steps undertaken in the completion of a research paper. The course will progressively work toward the development and writing of a research proposal. This proposal may serve as a basis for future research, such as your senior research project.

The writing component of this course is considerable, but I do not expect you to come in as an expert. Rather, we will focus on developing the skills necessary to write academically, and the combination of my comments, editing of your own work, and editing your peers’ writing will go a long way toward to honing your writing skills. 

Course Credits: 3

Prerequisites: SOCI 3317 or CHLD 3301 (Introductory Statistics) and at least one additional course in sociology. You are also highly recommended to be either a junior or senior to take this course.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Show that research is a reliable process for acquiring information that contributes to making good decisions.
  • Identify the role of critical thinking in the conduct of research and in the consumption of research knowledge and information.
  • Identify the nature of research as an empirical and evidence-based science that offers provisional knowledge which is subject to challenges, improvements, and change and help to conduct research
  • Explain the uses of quantitative and qualitative research data, and identify which is appropriate to address your research question.
  • Describe the different data collection techniques which researchers use such as experiments, surveys, content analysis, existing statistics, ethnographic field research, and historical-comparative techniques.
  • Distinguish between exploratory, descriptive, explanatory and evaluation as the four major purposes of research.
  • Analyze the orientations of basic and applied research.
  • Construct a research proposal, including understanding how to write an Introduction, Literature Review, & Hypothesis section.
  • Explore topics relating to research ethics, and thereby gain firsthand experience in developing and writing one’s own research proposal for submission to the Institutional Review Board
  • Identify the process of survey construction and conduct peer review of other students’ surveys