SOC 317M • Intro to Social Research
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Every study involving human beings - whether social, psychological, medical, or market research - involves certain principles of research. This course serves as an introduction to how sociological research is conducted. Sociology is an empirical discipline - meaning it concerns arguments and conclusions drawn on the basis of observable evidence. Sociologists ask how the lives, ideals, and actions of the people we study can help us better understand human action, beliefs, cultures, and societies in general. There are different ways, however, in which we collect data about the social world. We will look at several different ways, but will pay most attention to survey research.
In the course we begin with a general overview of social research before getting specific about issues of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis. Since sociology is not always about data, and since even research has un-empirical foundations and commitments, we will often take a step back and look critically at ways of doing sociological analysis and drawing conclusions. Can we really suspend our values and look at social events or behavior from a "neutral" position?
The course will require students not simply to recall information about which they have read, but to apply skills we will develop in class and engage in higher-order learning skills of application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and effective communication.