«SOCY 11 Research Methods Spring Quarter 2015 Class Meets in 113 Silsby Hall, 10A: TR 10:00–11:50pm (X-hour: W 3:00-3:50pm) Professor Janice McCabe ...»
SOCY 11 Research Methods
Spring Quarter 2015
Class Meets in 113 Silsby Hall, 10A: TR 10:00–11:50pm (X-hour: W 3:00-3:50pm)
Professor Janice McCabe
Office: 105 Silsby Hall
Office hours: Thursday 12-1 or by appointment
Socy 11 is a required course for Sociology Majors 2015s and later. As such, it may be simply a
requirement that you seek you check off or a course that you are dreading. In contrast, I believe that Research Methods is one of the most important courses you will take and that it can be one of the most interesting and most fun. I am excited about research methods and hope you will be too! In this course, you will learn about and get hands-on experience doing sociology.
This course is designed to provide students with the practical tools of doing social science research and the theoretical background for critiquing and designing research on social issues.
We focus specifically on qualitative methods, engaging in a wide range of methods throughout the term—including interviewing, content analysis, and ethnographic observations—and enabling students to design a research project addressing specific and testable questions. Like Socy 10, this course focuses on developing the skills necessary to interpret, critique, and conduct social science research.
Course Goals and Objectives:
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Read, interpret, and critically evaluate social research.
2. Identify, explain, and apply the basic concepts of research, such as variables, operationalization, sampling, reliability, and validity.
3. Recognize the ethical issues involved in research, and practice ethical research standards.
4. Identify and explain the difference between quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research and what types of research questions can be answered with each method.
5. Use theory and previous research to create research questions and hypotheses and to identify and analyze the appropriate method and variables needed for research questions.
6. Use a variety of research methods through hands-on experience.
7. Construct a coherent research proposal that includes an abstract, introduction, literature review, research questions, ethical considerations, and methodology.
Course Requirements and Evaluation:
READINGS: The following required books are available at the Dartmouth Bookstore and Wheelock Books. They also are on 2-hour reserve at Baker Berry library; links to this information is on our course Canvas site, under “Library Reserves.” Khan, Shamus, and Dana R. Fisher. 2014. The Practice of Research: How Social
Scientists Answer Their Questions. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN:
Weiss, Robert S. 1994. Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. New York: The Free Press. ISBN: 0684823128 Additional readings are available on our course Canvas site, under “Additional Readings.” As you’re completing the readings, pay special attention to the “methods” sections in articles.
Optional Reading (any edition):
Babbie, Earl. The Basics of Social Research. Cengage.
PARTICIPATION AND ATTENDANCE: This is absolutely necessary if a seminar is to be successful. Participation will help you better process and understand the material we cover while also increasing our collective understanding. Active involvement in class discussions and activities also make up 10% of our course grade. You should come to class prepared to ask questions, generate ideas, and discuss the assigned readings. If I sense that students are not completing the readings carefully, I may institute pop quizzes, which will factor into your participation grade.
You can miss up to three classes without penalty, no questions asked. If you use them all up and then get sick, I cannot excuse you. Only hospitalization, serious illness, and serious family emergencies will qualify as excused after you miss three classes. If you miss more than three days of class, your course grade will decrease by one whole letter grade, and decrease by one step (e.g., B to B-) for each additional absence.
In the event that you miss a class for any reason, you are responsible for getting class notes for that class from another student. As a general policy, I do not make my notes available. After you review your classmate’s notes, I would be happy to meet with you to talk about the material or answer questions about anything that is unclear.
LAB ASSIGNMENTS: Because this is a hands-on course, you will be engaged in “doing sociology” throughout the term. One way that you’ll be doing this is through a series of lab assignments. Parts of these assignments will be done in class and other parts will be outside of class (note that there is not a separate “lab” section to the course). I will provide detailed feedback on some of the assignments, and more limited feedback on others. Grading rubrics are included with the assignments to provide more detail about the expectations of each lab. Please ask if you have questions about my comments or expectations.
You may need additional resources to complete some of the labs; for example, you will need audio recorders to complete the interviews, and transcription software will make transcribing the interview easier. Audio recorders are available for check out at Jones Media Center. Express scribe, which is free to download, will help with transcriptions.
On Canvas, I have posted proposals from three students who took this class in a previous term.
One proposal earned an A, one earned a B, and one earned a C. You’ll notice many ways that they differ, including the detail with which they describe their methods. Reading these examples should be helpful as you write your own. Please note, however, that the assignment may have shifted slightly since these students wrote their proposals; use the current term’s assignment sheet and rubric as you write your proposal.
Course Guidelines and Policies:
Honor Principle: Assignments will be conducted in accord with the principles of academic honor detailed in the Dartmouth Organization, Regulations and Courses. I encourage you to discuss ideas from class with your classmates. However, unless otherwise noted, assignments should be completed independently and all work turned in should be your own. If your topic for the research proposal is one that you’re exploring in another class, independent study, or other academic work, you must let me and the other professor(s) know. Your work in assignments and the research proposal should include citations to ideas and direct quotes from course readings as well as outside sources. I encourage students to read Dartmouth’s statement on Sources and
Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities enrolled in this course and who may need disability-related classroom accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me as soon as possible, and no later than the end of the second week of the term. All discussions will remain confidential, although the Student Accessibility Services office may be consulted to discuss appropriate implementation of any accommodation requested. Information about Student Accessibility Services is available at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~accessibility/ Late Submissions: The submission of assignments is expected on the indicated “due date” during that day’s class meeting (unless otherwise stated). Requests for extensions should be made prior to the due date. Please note that grades on non-approved late submissions will be penalized. Any work turned in more than 10 minutes after the start of class is considered late and the grade will be reduced by one step (for example, from a B to a B-). The grade will be reduced by an additional step for each day it is late. Work turned in after class begins is considered one day late. Work turned in the day after class is considered two days late.
Classroom Etiquette: Disruptions to class negatively affect everyone’s ability to learn. If you must arrive late or leave early, please notify the instructor in advance and sit by the door to minimize disruptions. It is inappropriate to use cell phones or use laptops for activities outside of taking notes (such as email or facebook). Disruptions will reduce your participation grade.
6/8, 8am - FINAL PROJECT DUE (Hard copy to Prof. McCabe by 8am) 6