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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 317M • Introduction to Social Research

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47600 MW
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
BUR 224
BUR 124

Course Description

Sociology 317M is a general introduction to social research methods. It is designed to introduce students to the intent and procedures of contemporary research methods. The course is divided into five parts. The first four weeks (part 1) will consist of an introduction to scientific/systematic observation, which includes coverage of the nature and logic of scientific inquiry and the conceptual process researchers engage in prior to conducting research that guides the research process. In weeks 5 through 7 (part 2) the course will cover research design (i.e., modes of observation). We will discuss the factors determining the selection of particular data gathering techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, and the ethical and political issues that researchers may encounter during the research process. Operationalization, sampling, and data analysis will be covered in weeks 8 through 10 (part 3). Students will learn how to determine what to measure, how to measure it, among what or whom to measure it from, and how to analyze what was measured. Weeks 11 through 13 (part 4) are designed to allow students the opportunity to discuss and apply the material in a seminar-type setting. The final two weeks of the semester will consist of student presentations (part 5). Although particular emphasis will be placed on the building and confirming of theoretical models, the course is also appropriate for students interested in applied/problem solving research.

Grading Policy

Home work assignments 30%
Exam 30%
Final research project consisting of a paper (15%) and presentation (10%)
Lab participation 15%

A+ = 98-100; A = 94-97; A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-89; B = 84-86; B- = 80-83
C+ = 77-79; C = 74-76; C- = 70-73
D+ = 67-69; D = 64-66; D- = 60-63
F < 60

1) Comportment during discussions: Be courteous, respectful, challenging but helpful.
2) Grading Disputes: Put request in writing. Explain why your grade should be different.
3) Late Assignments: A point will be deducted for each day the assignment is late. No Exceptions.
4) The University of Texas Honor Code: The core values of the UT-Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each student is expected to behave with integrity.


Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research (11th edition, 2004, Wadsworth). It is available at the Co-op bookstore.


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