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SO 308 Prin of Social Research
Talavera, Victor S.


Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

Course

SO 308 Prin of Social Research

Semester

U1B 2010 BL

Faculty

Talavera, Victor S.

E-Mail

victor.talavera@park.edu

1talavera@netscape.com

Class Days

--T-R--

Class Time

5:00 - 7:30 PM

Prerequisites

Introductory social science class (i.e., SO141, PS101, CJ100, or SW205) and SO307 (Statistics) — MA120 allowed for students under 2006 and previous catalogs.

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:
Babbie, E. R. (2007). The Practice of Social Research, 11th ed. Thomson Learning-Wadsworth.
(Bundled by MBS with the SAGrader Methods Course Pack from IdeaWorks.)

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:
SAGrader Methods Course Pack from IdeaWorks (bundled with textbook by MBS).
https://www.sagrader.com/

Additional Readings as necessary.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.


Course Description:
SO 308 Principles of Social Research: An application of the scientific method to social science with the focus on hypothesis formulation, research design, data collection and data analysis. Replication of research studies or completion of a research problem, or both. 3:0:3 Prerequisite: SO307

Class Assessment:
See detailed instructions and rubrics for all assignments in the SO308 course shell at http://parkonline.org.

Core Assessment (200 points = 20%)
Research Proposal: The Core Assessment for this class requires you to write a detailed proposal for research you could conduct.  You will not actually do this research (though it might form the basis for a senior research project or some research relevant to your job), but your proposal should be a “blueprint” detailed enough that you could hand to others and guide them through its successful completion.  The research proposal will consist of four sections:
1.    Problem Statement: (max. 1500 words) an overview of the topic your research will investigate.  It introduces and justifies your research question, key variables, their hypothesized relations, and your guiding theoretical perspective.  It explains how your planned research is unambiguous in its goals and methods, concerned with a significant issue that will add to the store of human knowledge, theoretically justifiable and testable, practical and feasible to implement, ethical and respectful of human rights, and builds on existing knowledge in the field.
2.    Literature Review: (max. 1500 words) a critical summary of existing research your project will build upon.  Your review will evaluate at least five other relevant research projects from original sources in reputable, peer-reviewed journals.  The lit review discusses previous research, as it influences the proposed project.  It evaluates the methodological, theoretical, or substantive strengths or weaknesses of those studies and explains how they shape your research plans.
3.    Ethics & Conduct of Research: (max. 1500 words) summarizes potential ethical dilemmas, political consequences, and practical challenges associated with designing, conducting, implementing, and disseminating your research.  It explains where your research process might go wrong and the safeguards you will put into place to minimize those risks.
4.    Design & Procedures: (max. 2000 words) describes and justifies your plans for measurement, sampling, design, analysis, and interpretation of results.  It explains which data you would collect, when you would collect it, and what you would do with it to make sense of your topic and shed new light on your research question — and how and why.  This section is a set of “how to” instructions for actually turning your “good idea” into a real plan for scientifically answering your original question.
Your research proposal is a carefully constructed argument for why your question should be answered and how a valid and reliable answer might be obtained.  It should be a meticulous set of instructions for generating an answer according to the rules of scientific method, and it should make the case to interested parties for how such an answer can be achieved.
[You may submit unlimited drafts of your proposal through the online SAGrader system for detailed feedback.]

Grading:

Total Points Possible = 1000

A >= 900
B = 800-899
C = 700-799
D = 600-699
F <= 599
 
Comprehensive Final Examination (150 points = 15%)
A multiple choice question final examination comprehensive of all materials from the course text book.

Core Assessment Project (200 points = 20%)

Assignments/Projects (50 points X 7 = 350 points-35%)

Discussion and Participation (25 points x 8 = 200 points-20%)
Participate in all discussions each week, be on time and complete exercises according to instructions, for a possible 25 points each week. Your in presence in class is considered participation. Unexcused absences will result in minus 10 points.

Consent Form Assignment (20 points = 2%)

Weekly Quizzes (10 points x 8 = 80 points- 8%)
Complete each of the eight multiple choice quizzes on time and according to instructions for a possible 10 points each.
 
 

Late Submission of Course Materials:
 

Missed quizzes. If you are absent and miss a quiz, you have until the next class period to make up the quiz unless you have made other arrangements with the instructor. No exceptions…failure to make up a quiz by the next class period will result in a zero for a grade.

Late assignments. All assignments turned in late will be penalized. FOR LATE ASSIGNMENTS YOU WILL LOSE 5 POINTS AUTOMATICALLY OFF OF YOUR FINAL GRADE FOR EACH DAY THAT IT IS LATE. No exceptions. If your assignment is late I recommend you e-mail it to me as soon as possible instead of waiting until the next class period to avoid losing further points.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
 

Class Rules/Assignment Guidelines:

All final assignments are to be typed. Assignments will be typed in 12 font, Times New Roman, with one inch margins, double spaced, with a cover page. All completed assignments including the core assessment will be completed in APA style format. There are no exceptions on these guidelines. 

ALL cell phones are to be turned off after class. No texting during class. First offense will receive a warning. The ensuing offenses will result in losing 25% percent of your in class participation grade for each offense.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

 

June1-Tuesday: (1) Review class schedule & expectations, (2) Hand out and review core assessment examples.

June: 3-Thursday: (1) Chapter 1-Human Inquiry & Science, (2) Assignment #1-Research Question & Hypothesis.

June 8-Tuesday: (1) Chapter 2-Paradigms, Theory, & Social Research. (2) Quiz on Chapter 1.

June 10-Thursday: Due: Assignment #1. (1) Chapter 3-The Ethics & Politics of Social Research, (2) Assignment #2-Literature Review, (3) Quiz Chapter 2. 

June 15-Tuesday: (1) Chapter 4-Research Design, (2) Quiz Chapter 3.

June 17-Thursday: Due: Assignment #2. (1) Chapter 5-Conceptualization, Operationalization, & Measurement, (2) Quiz chapter 4.

June 22-Tuesday: (1) Chapter 10-Qualitative Field Research, (2) Assignment #3-Interview, (3) Quiz on Chapter 5.

June 24-Thursday: (1) Consent form assignment, (2) Assignment #4, (3) Chapter 13-Qualitative Data Analysis, (4) Quiz on Chapter 10.

June 29-Tuesday: Due Assignment #3, (1) Chapter 11-Unobstrusive Research, (2) Assignment #5, (3) Quiz on Chapter 13.

July 1-Thursday: Due: Consent form, & assignment #4, (1) Chapter 9-Survey Research, (2) Assignment #6 & #7, (3) Quiz Chapter 11.

July 6-Tuesday: Online assignment and discussion for chapter 9

July 8-Thursday: Online assignment and discussion for chapter 14. 

July 13-Tuesday: Due: Assignment #5, (1) Chapter 14-Quantitative Data Analysis

July 15-Thursday: (1) Due Assignment #6 & 7, (2) Replacement Quiz for chapters 9 & 14.

July 20-Tuesday: (1) In class work on core Assessment.

July 22-Thursday: Core Assessment Due. Final Exam.
 

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS:

1.      Assignment #1: Research Question and Hypothesis. (50 points) This is an overview of the topic your research will investigate not unlike what will be required of you for the core assessment that is due at the end of the session. This introduces your research question, justifies why your proposed research question is necessary, clearly identifies key variables, and their hypothesized relationship. Your research question must be a sociological or criminal justice topic. Minimum 2 academic references cited to support your statements and the reasoning whey research is required.

2.      Assignment #2: Literature Review. (50 points) In general, before we start a research project, we need to understand what others have done and how they have done it. That helps us decide how to do our own research. For this project find four more academic references to support the references already cited on the topic you selected for assignment #1. Although you may have more, for this assignment you will have a minimum of 6 academic sources for your literature review. Read the articles/books and summarize each one in a few paragraphs including the previous references cited. Think about what other researchers have done and what you would do if you were investigating this topic.  Would you replicate what others have done, or break new ground? 

3.      Assignment #3: Interview. (50 points) For this project, we will practice talking and listening to people. I want you to find either A: a person who has lived in El Paso/Juárez for at least 3 years or, B: a person who has moved away from this region for at least 3 years and returned. You should speak with this person for at least an hour about their experiences (why they left or why they like or dislike El Paso, what they do, what they plan to do in the future, who they are, what are their thoughts, concerns, etc.) First, make a list of questions you are interested in asking, but leave room for questions that might come up in the middle of your interview. Either record the interview and turn in the tape/mp3 file or type out the questions you asked and summarize the respondent’s answers. Do not use the respondent’s real name, but do include the socio-demographic information such as age, ethnicity, education, gender, etc. You will need to ask a minimum of 12 questions but do not include the questions you will ask to collect the socio-demographic data. You should analyze your interview to demonstrate what you learned. Do you think your interviewee is typical or not? How many people do you think you would need to talk to understand what is happening with this group? Summary of questions asked and ensuing analysis should be turned in with the consent form.

4.      Assignment #4: Ethical dilemmas/challenges in conducting your proposed research project: (50 points). You will summarize the potential ethical dilemmas, controversies, consequences, and other practical challenges associated with designing, conducting, implementing, and disseminating your research. Predict and explain where your research process might go wrong and the safeguards you would put into place to minimize those risks. 

5.      Assignment #5: Unobtrusive Research (50 points): You are to search the internet for the Uniform Crime Report posted by the FBI. You will search for table 1 which lists the totals for all violent crimes committed in the United States from 1989 to 2008. You will analyze, evaluate the data, identify trends you may see from 1989 to 2008, and make your conclusions about what is happening over all with violent crimes in the United States during this time period. Write about and elaborate in detail your observations and conclusions of the data you have observed, and discuss on how what you have observed and concluded is reflected or not reflected in the media when they discuss violence in America and or cover incidents of violent crimes in the evening news, and in prime time news shows. 

 

6.      Assignment #6: Survey/Questionnaire design and construction. (50 points) You will construct a survey instrument that can be used to collect data for your research proposal. You will need to decide on a sampling frame and the wording of at least 15 questions. Once your questions have been constructed you will decide on whether they are to be open or closed ended, decide on a format, answer set, and design your own survey instrument. Each of you will turn in a finalized copy of your survey instrument.

7.    Assignment #7: Design and Procedures (methodology): (50 Points): Describes and justifies your plans for measurement, sampling, design, analysis, and interpretation of results.  It explains which data you would collect, when you would collect it, and what you would do with it to make sense of your topic and shed new light on your research question.  This section is a set of “how to” instructions for actually turning your “good idea” into a real plan for scientifically answering your original question. You will discuss in detail the type of survey instrument you will be using, and what each questions hopes to measure and how. Also elaborate on how you will collect your sample and the size of the population you propose to study. Your research proposal is a carefully constructed argument for why your question should be answered and how a valid and reliable answer might be obtained.  It should be a meticulous set of instructions for generating an answer according to the rules of scientific method, and it should make the case to interested parties for how such an answer can be achieved.  

Consent Form Construction: (20 points) You will construct a consent form for your proposed research project using the guidelines provided to you by me.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

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Last Updated:4/7/2010 12:44:08 PM