Sociology 493

SOCY 493

Catalog Entry

SOCY 493. Practicum in Sociology.
Field or laboratory course: variable hours per week (3).

Prerequisites: SOCY 110, or SOCY 121, or permission of instructor.  Students participate in a semester-long team-based practice experience led by a faculty member.

Note(s): Can be used to fulfill the Sociology major practice experience requirement.  May be repeated when topics vary for a maximum of 12 hours credit.   

This course provides experience in all aspects of a field or laboratory research project in sociology.  It is taught when field sites or laboratory work are available. It may be repeated when topics vary, for a maximum of twelve hours credit.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

This course will allow students to work collaboratively on particular research projects supervised by the sociology faculty. The maximum number of credit hours will require a commitment to a project, and will include students in the process of developing a research design, fieldwork, analysis, and writing of a particular project. Fewer hours of credit will be allotted for more focused work on a subset of these stages of a particular project. The course will be taught when field sites or laboratory work are available and appropriate for sociological research.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Faculty and students will work as colleagues in developing the parameters of the research project, and their roles as researchers in it. For example, in a community-based research project, students might participate in literature review, sampling, developing questions for the field experience, role-playing interviewing techniques, debriefing field experiences, computer-based (and non computer-based) pattern-seeking analysis techniques, drafting writing, and final product writing. (For fewer credits, a subset of these activities might be assigned to students.)

Goals and Objectives of Course

The course provides experience in all aspects of a field or laboratory research project in sociology. Students participate in research design, fieldwork or laboratory work, analysis, and writing, or a subset of these stages, for a particular project. Students will learn to carry out the field/laboratory techniques integral to their particular research project. For all projects, students will learn how to read sophisticated literature as background for primary data collection research. They will learn the practical, as well as the theoretical aspects of sampling. They will learn analysis techniques that aid in discovering patterns and themes. When writing drafts and final products, students will learn how to state themes and marshal evidence to support those themes. They will have a good deal of practice with use of the computer, both as a word-processing and as an analysis tool.

Assessment Measures

Student work will be evaluated on its quantity, quality, and timeliness with regard to how well it serves to meet the project goals. Students will be informed when they have strayed from basic principles of good sociological practice by the directing faculty member. Final assessment will judge whether these lessons have culminated in changes that produce a better final product. It is anticipated that final products will be of grant report or professional paper quality, and will be graded with this outcome as the goal.


Other Course Information

The examples given above are derived from student-faculty collaborative projects in ethnographic research. When other types of sociological projects are undertaken, the skills learned will be somewhat different and appropriate to the specific type of research. The overall principle of collaborative research with student involvement in as many phases as possible will be the same in all projects, however.

Review and Approval

February 2009, Dr. Paula Brush, Chair, Department of Sociology

April 23, 2014