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Methods fa 09 - University of Mary Washington Sociology...

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1 University of Mary Washington Sociology Department Fall 2009 SOCG 364 Methods of Social Research (WI) LECTURE: MWF 10-10:50 (Trinkle 106A) LAB: R 11-12:15 OR 12:30-1:45 (Annex B 106) Instructor: Debra Schleef Office: GW Hall 205 Office Hours: MWF 9 to 10, TR 2-3 and by appointment Phone: 654-1505 Email: [email protected] See One … Do One … Teach One This course is like no other that you have or will take in sociology – it is focused not on substantive knowledge, but on learning about activities used to gain substantive knowledge. In common medical school parlance, to learn fully one must “see one, do one, teach one.” In order to become a bona fide sociologist – to appreciate the sociological imagination – you must know how to investigate social reality empirically, including the use of statistical packages to analyze quantitative data. However, you also must first watch someone else “perform the operation” before you can do it yourself, much less teach the procedure to others! To that end, the bulk of the semester will be spent in observing and assisting practical social research. See one… What you can expect from me Gathering data to meet the needs of a community organization is a more immediate, timelier, and ultimately more rewarding way to be engaged in social research and social activism. This semester we’ll be working with District 16’s Probation and Parole office. We will consult with our community “client,” develop a sample and write a survey predicated on their needs, and begin writing a research proposal for the organization. We will examine literature reviews, hypothesis development, survey instrument construction, and sample design, going over these areas in class and the rationale behind them. We will then proceed to collect and analyze data. We will also analyze secondary data in several SPSS data sets. There is a certain amount of basic information that you must be exposed to. This means that there are times during the course during which I will simply have to lecture. However, this should never be an attention to relax and become passive. I can offer you my valued expertise, which runs the gamut of sociological research methods and topical areas. I’ve worked for three large-scale survey projects, on the workforce of mental hospitals, school reform in Chicago, and poverty in Philadelphia neighborhoods. I’ve done ethnographies of law and business schools, interviewed neighborhood activists about gangs, analyzed data for studies of high-powered corporate executives and the parents of critically ill newborns. I’ve even content analyzed messages posted on the Internet. Studying research methods can be fun, but also sometimes intimidating. Please make full use of my office hours and our class discussions. As the semester proceeds and as I deem necessary, I will also make myself available in the computer lab for optional lab work.
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2 Do one… Assignments The Portfolio of Seven Assignments 50% I want you to focus on learning and using
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