SO306 Writing for Social Sciences

for S1B 2012

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SO 306 Writing for Social Sciences


S1B 2012 BL


Talavera, Victor S.

Office Hours

Will meet before or after class upon request.


Semester Dates

January 16, through March 11

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 7:30 PM

Credit Hours



APA (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, American Psychological Association.

Strunk & White (2000). The Elements of Style, 4th edition, Boston: Allyn & Bacon (paper).  ISBN:  020530902X

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Course Description:
SO 306 Writing for Social Sciences: Course emphasizes translating social sciences jargon and research findings into clear and appropriate language for a variety of common consumers of social science results, including professional, practitioner, and lay audiences. Topics also include APA style, conducting a literature review and evaluating sources, balances and complete presentation, and professional authorial voice. Common forms of social science writing, such as research proposal, data summaries, and research reports are introduced. This course will satisfy the EN 306 requirements for Sociology and Social Psychology.3:0:3 Prerequisites: SO 141 or PS101 or other introductory social science course ;(SO 220 recommended), EN 105, EN 106, passing the WCT and 60 accumulated hours.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate competency with APA style.
  2. Describe the roles of evidence and theory in social science writing, and differentiate this from mere opinion.
  3. Conduct a literature review of original social science research reports or articles.
  4. Translate social scientific findings for designated audiences.
  5. Assess and edit social scientific writing.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to write for designated venues and lengths.
  7. Formulate balanced and well-supported arguments using social science findings.
Class Assessment:

Class Work


Quiz #1: Multiple choice questions on basic social science research components.

Quiz #2: Identify the following in the article assigned: (1) the problem studied, (2) the hypothesis and or theory that was evaluated or tested, (3) the independent variable(s) under study and analysis, (4) the dependent variable(s) under study and analysis, and (5) the type of study conducted-was it qualitative or quantitative, (6) the population studied and the sample size, and (7) the conclusion of the study.

Quiz #3: On the components of quantitative research.

Quiz #4: General writing requirements for the social sciences.


Assignment #1: Select topic related to the social sciences that interests you, and justify why more research should be focused on this one social topic, explain it’s importance, identify the independent and dependent variables you would focus on, there predicted relationship and effect, and your hypothesis. You must source and cite a minimum of three references, all three of which must be a published book, or social science journal. You may source other references if necessary (Assume the perspective of a research proposal). 

Assignment #2: Locate an article from a social science journal, print it, and read, evaluate, and analyze the article. Type a summary of the study conducted and identify clearly the following: (1) the problem studied, (2) the hypothesis and or theory that was evaluated or tested, (3) the independent variable(s) under study and analysis, (4) the dependent variable(s) under study and analysis, and (5) the type of study conducted-was it qualitative or quantitative, (6) the population studied and the sample size, and (7) the conclusion of the study. The fully printed article must be turned in along with your written assignment or no credit will be given. 

Assignment #3:  To fully understand what is written in the social sciences, and in particular topics that we are interested in we need to understand what others have researched and published. For this project you must find three more peer-reviewed academic articles or books to support the three references cited on the topic you selected for assignment number one. Read the articles including the ones cited before and summarize each one in a few paragraphs including the previous references cited. There will be a total of size academic sources reviewed. Think about what other researchers have done? What knowledge contribution did they make to the topic studied?  The variables studied…etc. Summarize your thoughts at the end.

Assignment #4: Compare and Contrast the two articles you collected and printed. Provide a short summary of both, then go on to compare both studies, their strengths, their weaknesses, the variables studied in both, their conclusions, their methodology used in gathering their data, the samples or articles studied, etc. What are the similarities in both? What are the differences in both? Make direct comparisons and decide which studied employed was most effective and accurate based on their conclusions. Finally, decide if one or both made a true knowledge contribution to the topic/subject studied. 

Assignment #5: Applied Research: If the research with the hypothesis and variables you propose were to be conducted, articulate how the results obtained from such a study could be applied to the real world? Explain in detail the way in which the data can be applied motivate social action or address a social dilemma for the population in question. 

Assignment #6: “One Side” persuasive essay. Social science research often has political and policy related applications. Develop the best case you can from the perspective you chose to pursue on the topic you have selected. Support your position with the best possible evidence and arguments you can find. You may use sources outside of social science journals or published books that have been approved by your instructor to help support your perspective. You must bring two printed copies to class.  

Bibliography-Reference sheet draft and introduction of topic to class. Must touch on the following-describe the topic selected and why it should be researched further, your hypothesis, and the variables you are focused on.

In Class Participation


Grade based on in class participation to include in class discussions, class presentation when required, and completion of weekly discussion questions.

Core Assessment


Core Assessment
Research Proposal: The Core Assessment for this class requires you to write a detailed argument for research you believe needs to be conducted on a topic you selected.  You will not actually do this research on a large scale, but your proposal should be a convincing enough to influence funding organizations and social scientists to submit formal research proposals and fund or conduct further research on the topic you selected.  The research proposal will consist of four sections:

1.    Problem Statement: An overview of the topic.  It introduces and justifies your research question, key variables, their hypothesized relations, and your guiding theoretical perspective.  It explains in detail why this is a significant issue requiring further research that will add to the store of human knowledge. It must be theoretically justifiable and testable, practical and feasible to research, ethical and respectful of human rights, and builds on existing knowledge in the field. Your justification, your hypothesis, the variables studied, and their predicted influence on one another must be clearly stated. 

2.    Literature Review: A critical summary of the previous research done on the topic you selected.  Your review will evaluate at least six other relevant research projects from original sources in reputable, peer-reviewed journals or books.  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 why you feel more knowledge needs to be generated on this topic (minimum 8 academic sources).

3. Persuasive Argument: Justify why this needs to be studied. What is the social importance? What are the negative aspects to society that may result if ignored and what are the positives?

4. Applied Research: If your hypothesis is proven true, how could the results been applied to the real world? Explain in detail the way in which the data can be applied to the real world. 



 Assignments: 50 points each-total 300 points.

Core Assessment: 200 points.

Final Exam: 150 points.

Quizzes: 25 points each. Total 100 points

In class discussion/participation exercises: 50 points each. Total 100 points.

Bibliography-Presentation: 150 points.

Total points: 1000 points

900 points and higher = A

800-899 = B

700-799 = C

600-699 = D

599 points and lower = F

Late Submission of Course Materials:

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: IMPORTANT-PLEASE READ

All final assignments are to be typed. Assignments will be typed in 12 font, with one inch margins, double spaced. All completed assignments including the core assessment will be completed in APA style format. There are no exceptions on these guidelines. There are several sites on the APA format that can be referenced online including:

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.

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.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Mon.-Jan. 16: (1) Review Class syllabus and assignment schedule. (2) Topic selection-Assignment #1.

Wed.-Jan. 18: (1) Lecture 1: Components of social science research.

Mon.-Jan. 23: (1) Lecture 2: Principles of Social Science.

Wed.-Jan. 25: (1) Lecture 3: Qualitative Research (2) Quiz #1, (3) Begin on Assignment #2. (4) Assignment #1 due.

Mon.-Jan. 30: Out for Government Review. (1) Online Discussion on eCompanion. (2) Completion of Quiz #2 on eCompanion.

Wed.-Feb. 1: Out for Government Review. (1) Online Discussion on eCompanion. (2) Completion of eCompanion class participation assignment. (2) Assignment #2 is due.

Mon.-Feb. 6: (1) Begin on Assignment #3 (2) Begin literature review for your core assessment-first bibliography/reference sheet (3) APA Feedback/workshop

Wed.-Feb. 8: (1) Lecture 4-Quantitative Research.

Mon.-Feb. 13: Out on Business travel. (1) Online class discussion on eCompanion. (2) Completion of Quiz #3 on eCompanion.

Wed.-Feb. 15: Lecture on overall writing for the social sciences.

Mon.-Feb. 20: (1) Begin on Assignment #4 (2) Assignment #3 due. (3) Lecture 5-Unobstrusive research. (4) Quiz #4.

Wed.-Feb. 22: (1) Lecture on Persuasive arguments. (2) Assignment #4 Due. (3) Begin on Assignment #5

Mon.-Feb. 27:  (1) Assignment #5 Due. (2) Lecture 6-Ethics & Politics in Research (2) Begin on Assignment #6.

Wed.-Feb. 29: (1) Core Assessment and bibliography presentation/review (2) Assignment #6 due.

Mon.-March 5: Core Assessment due.

Wed.-March 7: Final Exam.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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: .


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Last Updated:11/15/2011 2:24:36 PM