Office Hours: Monday, 9:00 – 10:00 and by appointment
I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
The goal of this course is twofold: (a) to teach students the basic concepts of social science
research and (b) to equip students with skills on how to apply research concepts in practice.
Major topics include research design, data collection, measurement, survey design, bias,
qualitative and quantitative research, clinical research, data management and data analysis,
research implementation, interpretation, and dissemination. Students will develop skills in
framing empirically answerable questions, locating data relevant to those questions, critically
evaluating such data, and applying it to practice situations. Special attention is given to the
ethical issues that arise in social science research, issues related to race, ethnicity, culture,
class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability or illness, age, national
origin and oppression.
II. ACADEMIC POLICIES
Students are expected to complete exams, presentations and written assignments. Violations
of academic integrity (e.g., plagiarism) will result in notification to the Dean. Please review
and adhere to the entire set of guidelines in the Honor Code. If you feel that you have
encountered special learning difficulties or serious problems that interfere with your studies,
please make an appointment with UNYT Counseling Center, Dr. E Cenko
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the Academic Support Center, Dr. A Canollari
(email@example.com). For more information, please contact me and or your
III. REQUIRED READINGS
Bryman, Alan. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University
Booth, Wayne C., Colomb, Gregory, G., & Williams, Joseph M. (2008). The craft of research (3rd
ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Miller, J.E. (2006). How to communicate statistical findings: An expository writing approach,
Chance, 19(4), 43-49. http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/miller/Chance06.pdf
Miller, J.E. (2007). Organizing data in tables and charts: Different criteria for different tasks.
Teaching Statistics. 29(3): 98-101. http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/miller/tasks07.pdf
Miller, J.E. (2007). Preparing and presenting effective research posters. Health Services
Research. Volume 42(1):311-328, with appendixes online.
Declaration of Helinski: http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/
Other readings will be distributed or assigned in class.
IV. ORGANIZATION OF THE COURSE
We will cover course content through readings, electronic resources, peer-review exercises,
individual and group exercises, exams, presentations, and discussions. I will provide
handouts, additional readings, and supplementary materials in class where appropriate.
Attendance, peer-review, and discussions of research as current event topics count toward
active participation. The instructor may also call upon students to lead class discussion based
on the readings assigned for the week. This course outline serves as a guide and is subject to
change if necessary.
V. ROLE OF INSTRUCTOR AND STUDENTS
The instructor will prepare and deliver course material; be available to students after class
and by appointment for consultation; and provide timely feedback on student performance.
The instructor expects students to: attend each class on time; complete all assignments in a
timely manner; come to class prepared, having read all assignments; participate in class
discussions; be courteous to the instructor and fellow students; seek any necessary
clarification regarding course expectations from the instructor; and provide the instructor
with feedback about the effectiveness of the course. Any problems with attendance, meeting
deadlines, or completing assignments should be discussed promptly with the instructor.
Email is the best way to reach me.
All written assignments must be double-spaced, typed with a Times New Roman 12-point
font and have 1-inch margins. Text citations and references list must be in correct APA
format. Ideas, information, and concepts that originated with any other source must always
be noted as such. Assignments should be carefully proof-read for spelling and grammar.
Students are strongly encouraged to use the assistance and services of the Writing Center.
Policy on Late Assignments: The instructor will accept late assignments for an extreme
emergency, such as death in the family. Health-related issues will need to be documented
with a certificate from the doctor attesting to the student’s ill health. Except under
extremely unusual circumstances, papers must be turned in at the beginning of class on the
due date. Late assignments will result in a deduction of 5% per day for each day late
(including weekends) off.
Professional Use of Technology During Class: The instructor retains the right to ask
students to not use computers during portions of the class. At all times, students are
encouraged to consider the impact of their in-class use of computers on the learning
environment for themselves, their classmates and the instructor. Texting, checking e-mail or
using the computer or internet for personal or non-class related purposes during class time is
never appropriate and will be immediately addressed by the instructor.
VI. ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING CRITERIA
There will be four types of assignments:
Mid-term exam: The exam will cover the material addressed to that point in the semester.
The exam will consist of multiple choice, true/false and short essay items.
In-class exercises: There will be several in-class exercises. For instance, students will be asked
to summarize and critique journal articles and design instruments. Further guidelines will be
provided in class.
Research projects: Each student will work on a research project and present it in class at the
end of the semester. The research project will include the following components: topic
selection, justification of importance of topic, review & summary of existing knowledge on
topic, identification of gaps in the literature, research aims and questions; methodology
(research design, sampling); measurement (data collection instruments); data analysis;
dissemination plan; and ethical issues involved. Further guidelines will be provided in class.
Presentation of research projects: Students will present their research projects in class. This
exercise will give them the opportunity to present their projects to their classmates and
obtain feedback. Their presentations will be evaluated on content as well as presentation
skills. Further guidelines will be provided in class.
Active participation: Attendance and active participation are expected. Active participation
includes being on-time for class, being prepared for class, having read all assignments prior
to class, leading and engaging in thoughtful classroom discussion of the content matter, and
actively participating in group and in-class exercises.
Submitting Assignments: Please submit assignments via email as well as bring a hard copy
with you in class. Please label your files as follows: Your last name_name of assignment.docx
Weighting for course grade
Mid-term exam: 20%
In-class exercises: 20%
Research projects: 40%
Presentation of research projects: 10%
Active participation: 10%
96-100 A, 90-95 A-, 87-89 B+, 83-86 B, 80-82 B-, 77-79 C+, 73-76 C, 70-72 C-, 67-69 D+,
63-66 D, 60-62 D-, 0-59 F
VII. COURSE OUTLINE
Week Topics Readings Assignments
1 • Course overview
• The nature and process of social
Bryman (chapter 1)
2 • Social research strategies
• Planning a research project and
formulating research questions
• Getting started: Reviewing the literature
• From topics to questions
• From questions to problems
Bryman (chapters 2, 4 &
Booth et al. (chapters 3
In-class exercise: How to
Using library resources at
3 • Research designs Bryman (chapters 3) In-class exercise: How to
decide on a research
4 • The nature of quantitative research
Bryman (chapters 7 & 8) In-class exercise: How a
project looks like
5 • Structured interviewing
• Self-completion questionnaires
• Asking questions
• Structured observation
Bryman (chapters 9, 10,
11, & 12)
In-class exercise: Conduct
an interview with your
peer or design your own
6 • Content analysis
• Secondary analysis and official statistics
• Quantitative data analysis
Bryman (chapters 13,
14, & 15)
Booth et al. (chapters 7
Questions about the midterm
7 • Mid-term exam Mid-term exam (in class)
8 • The nature of qualitative research
• Sampling in qualitative research
Bryman (chapters 17 &
9 • Ethnography and participant
• Interviewing in qualitative research
• Focus groups
Bryman (chapters 19,
In-class exercise: Read a
journal article and critique
it. Bring your critique in
10 • Documents as sources of data
• Qualitative data analysis
Bryman (chapters 23 &
Discuss your research
project with your peer
11 • Breaking down the
• Mixed methods research – combining
quantitative and qualitative research
• Communicating evidence visually
Bryman (chapters 26 &
Booth et al. (chapter 15)
In-class exercise: How to
combine quantitative and
12 • Using evidence to inform policymaking Liebman; Choi et al. Discuss your research
project with your peer
13 • Ethics and politics in social research Bryman (chapter 6)
14 • Presentation of research projects Power point slides
15 • Presentation of research projects Power point slides