Dec 01, 2021  
2017-2018 Course Catalog 
2017-2018 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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SOC 2993 - Research Methods for the Social Sciences

Credits: 4
Hours/Week: Lecture NoneLab None
Course Description: This course is one of two intended to prepare students to gather and analyze social and behavioral science data. It will introduce the methods social scientists use to gain knowledge about social relationships, settings, organizations, institutions, and the larger society. The course will cover the role of theory, forms of causal reasoning, modes of observation, units of analysis, operationalization, ethical questions in social research, and the analysis of narrative data.
MnTC Goals

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1021  with a grade of C or higher
Corequisite(s): None
Recommendation: SOC 2991  with a grade of C or higher. SOC 1020  or another social or behavioral science course with a grade of C or higher.

Major Content
  1. Construction and interpretation of indexes and scales of social phenomena
  2. Ethical issues in social and behavioral research
  3. Modes of observation in social and behavioral research: experiments and evaluation research, survey research, field research, unobtrusive research
  4. Necessary and sufficient causes for explaining social scientific phenomena
  5. Overview of qualitative data analysis
  6. Overview of quantitative data analysis: quantification of data, univariate and bivariate analysis, comparison of subgroups, multivariate analysis
  7. Principles of conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement of social scientific concepts
  8. Probability and non-probability sampling, populations and sampling frames, sampling designs
  9. Reliability and validity in social research
  10. Social and behavioral scientific paradigms
  11. The language of variables: attributes, independent and dependent, levels of measurement
  12. The role of theory in the social and behavioral scientific research process induction, deduction, and theory construction
  13. The time dimension in social research: cross-sectional and longitudinal studies
  14. Types of explanatory models employed in social and behavioral science nomothetic and idiographic, causality
  15. Units of analysis in social and behavioral science research
  16. Writing for the social sciences

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the processes of conceptualization and operationalization
  2. Describe the construction of indexes and scales, respectively
  3. Design a research study to answer a researchable question about an aspect of social life
  4. Demonstrate writing for the social and behavioral sciences, including such aspects of research proposals and reports as tone, organization, and appropriate use of sources
  5. Describe common sampling procedures
  6. Compare the respective advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative approaches
  7. Outline how social researchers confront ethical issues in their work
  8. Develop a researchable question about an aspect of social life
  9. Describe the role of theory in the research process
  10. Choose the most appropriate mode of observation for a given research question
  11. Describe the criteria of measurement quality

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