Sociology 380

SOCY 380

Catalog Entry

SOCY 381. Introduction to Research Methods
Three hours lecture

Prerequisites: SOCY 110 or SOCY/ANTH 121 and STAT 200 or equivalent

This course provides an introduction to basic procedures and techniques used in social research. Emphasis is placed on measuring instruments, as well as major methods and designs employed in social research.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The purpose of this course is to prepare students to design and evaluate sociological research. The major areas to be considered in this course are as follows:

1. Scientific Epistemology
2. Steps in the Scientific Method
3. The Nature of Causation
4. Ethics in Social Research
5. Problem Selection, purposes of research, and sources of topics/problems
6. Focusing the Research, reviewing the literature, identifying concepts and variables, and the formulation of hypotheses and research questions
7. Measurement and operationalization of variables
8. Accuracy and precision
9. Reliability and Validity
10. Levels of measurement
11. Means of measurement
12. Research Designs and attributing causation
13. Surveys, Experiments, Field Studies, Unobtrusive research, and other techniques
14. Evaluation research and applied techniques
15. Sampling and probability
16. Data processing and analysis
17. Statistical applications
18. Reporting the results of research


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The conduct of this course will include lecture and class presentations, media presentations, guest lecturers, in-class exercises and out-of-class exercises. In addition, laboratory periods will focus on practical problems in research and will be designed to involve students in actual research activities.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will be able to:

1. understand the logic of social research;
2. design and initiate an independent research project;
3. become competent consumers of published research;
4. understand the various modes of social research, including survey research, experimentation, field research, unobtrusive measures, evaluation research and applied research;
5. demonstrate the elements of ethical design and conduct of research.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include in-class tests, a final examination, quizzes, laboratory assignments, class preparation and participation, a laboratory practical examination, and a final project that requires the design of a research proposal.


Other Course Information

The instructor will use the campus mainframe computer to present some assignments, and students will be expected to learn to use the computer, including Wordperfect, SAS, and SPSS-X software packages.


Review and Approval

January, 2004 Reviewed Peggy A. Shifflett

March, 2009