PS308 Principles of Social Research

for S2SS 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


PS 308 Principles of Social Research


S2SS 2012 RA


Schwartz, Kenneth L.


Adjunct Professor


M.A., Psychology
B.S, Psychology

Office Location

Randolph AFB, TX

Office Hours

any time via e-mail or phone

Daytime Phone

(210) 565-3139

Other Phone

(210) 296-1736


Semester Dates

19 Mar - 13 May 2012

Class Days


Class Time

4:55 - 7:35 PM


Introductory social science class (i.e., SO141, PS101, CJ 100, or SW 205) and SO 307 or equivalent

Credit Hours



Babbie, E. R. (2010) The Practice of Social Research, 12th Ed  ISBN: 978-0-495-59841-1

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

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Course Description:
PS 308 Principles of Social Research: Surveys the range of quantitative (experiments,Surveys,etc) and qualitative (observations, interviews, etc.) methodologies commonly used in social scientific research. Critically examines issues related to formulating research questions, evaluating social scientific literature, sampling, measurement, design, analysis, interpretation, and communication pf results. Involves completion of data analysis projects and a research proposal. 3:0:3 Pre-req: PS101 and PS307.

Educational Philosophy:
In my education philosophy learning requires a focused engagement of the material.  Education does not consist of just taking in information but it requries the learner to interact actively with the material.  I see the professor's role to facilitate, stimulate, clarify, motivate, hold accountable, and provide feedback that enables a student to accurately assess his or her level of understanding, comprehension, and mastery.  The key to this type of course is to study the concepts and then apply the concepts in practical projects.

Class Assessment:

Class attendance and participation: 16 classes @ 12.5 points = 200 points

Quizzes: 14 – (4@ 10 points & 10 @ 11 points = 150 points

Research Report Structure Summary: 100 points

Research Question & Hypothesis: 50 points

Literature Review: 100 points

Data Analysis: 100 points

Survey/Questionnaire: 100 points

Core Assessment: 200 points

Class attendance: Points will be awarded based on portion of class you are in attendance.  If you arrive late or leave early you attendance points earned will be assigned proportionately. Missing class, even for excused absences, will receive no points since you missed that learning portion of the class.

Quizzes: Will be taken at the beginning of the class as an introduction to the reading.  The quizzes will be open book but timed so you need to come to class having read and being familiar with the material.

Assignment #1 - Research Report Structure Summary: The purpose of this assignment is to select three peer-reviewed research articles on any topic and identify the typical parts of a published research study.  You are to identify the general areas key subparts of each area; describe the purpose of the each section and why it’s needed; and explain how it contributes to a reliable and valid research study.  Use journal articles that will support your proposed research topic so they can also be used for future assignments.  This paper will be a maximum of three double-spaced pages using 12-point Times New Roman type in APA format (not including Title Page and References).

Assignment #2 - Research Question & Hypothesis: For this assignment you are providing an overview of the research question you are selecting for your proposed research study.  In this paper you will  introduce your research question, justify the value of your research question, identify the key variables in the study, and explain their hypothesized relationship.  Cite a minimum of two peer-reviewed journal articles to support your statements and the reasoning why the research is useful.  The paper will be a maximum of three double-spaced pages 12-point Times New Roman in APA format (not including Title Page and References).

Assignment #3 - Literature Review: When a researcher is considering a potential research project and beginning to form the ideas of his or research design, the researcher needs to understand what other studies have been conducted that are related to the proposed project.  The purpose of research is to build on and contribute to the scholarship of the discipline.  Understanding what others have done guides researchers in their own research design.  They may want to replicate something that has already been done to see if they will obtain the same results.  In replicating a study researchers may attempt to expand the discipline’s understanding and insight into the results.  Researchers may want to broaden some existing research or apply findings from a previous study to a slightly different application.  Previous research reports often provide suggestions and clues of ways to improve the experimental design and overall study.  Using the references from Assignments #2 and #3 as a starting point, conduct a review of what has been done in the past, how it’s been done, what outcomes are supported by the findings support, how were the findings validated, what way ahead for a new study is suggested and supported by the findings, etc.  Use at least five references and develop a literature review that is a maximum of five double-spaced pages 12-point Times New Roman in APA format (not including Title Page and References).

Assignment #4 – Survey/Questionnaire. You will develop a survey instrument that could be used to collect data for your research proposal. You will need to decide on a sampling approach and the wording for at least 15 questions.  You will decide on on whether to use open or close ended questions, the format for the questions, the answer key, and the administration design.  You will turn in a copy of your survey and a summary explaining your design plan, purpose of your instrument, theoretical justification for the effectiveness of your instrument, and your administration plan.  Include the survey as an attachement. The paper will be a maximum of three double-spaced pages 12-point Times New Roman type in APA format (not including Title Page, References, and Survey/Questionnaire attachment).

Assignment #5 – Data Analysis. I will provide you with a dataset for which you will construct a descriptive analysis and a test of association between a couple of the variables.

Core Assessment

You will develop a research proposal that will consist of the following parts:

A.    Problem Statement

B.     Literature Review

C.     Ethics & Conduct of Research

D.    Design & Procedures  

The Problem Statement and Literature Review will be primarily based on your earlier assignments.


Total Course Points: 1,000
A: 900 -1000
B: 800- 899
C: 700 - 799
D: 600 - 699
F: Less than 600

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Homework must be placed in the dropbox on the day of the class period it is due.  Five points will be deducted for every day it is late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Class participation is expected and attendance will be taken for each class.  Classes missed for legitimate reasons (personal/medical emergencies are excusable, but the sutdent will not receive the class participation points for that class.  Points will be deducted from class participation points for being late or leaving early in proportion to the portion of the class period missed.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1
Class 1 – Mon 19 Mar – Ch 1 Human Inquiry and Science; Ch 1 Quiz

Class 2 – Wed 21 Mar – Ch 2 – Paradigms, Theory, & Social Research and Ch 3 – Ethics and Politics of Social Research;
Ch 2 Quiz & Ch 3 Quiz

Week 2

Class 3 – Mon 26 Mar – Ch 17 – Reading and Writing Social Research; Ch 17 Quiz

Class 4 – Wed 28 Mar – Ch 4 – Research Design; Ch 4 Quiz & Research Report Structure Summary Due

Week 3 

Class 5 – Mon 2 Apr – Ch 14 – Quantitative Data Analysis; Ch 14 Quiz

Class 6 – Wed 4 Apr – Ch 16 - Statistical Analysis; Ch 16 Quiz & Research Question and Hypothesis Due

Week 4

Class 7 – Mon 9 Apr – Ch 9 – Survey Research, Ch 9 Quiz

Class 8 – Mon 11 Apr – Ch 5 - Conceptualization, Operationalization, & Measurement; Ch 5 Quiz & Data Analysis due

Week 5

Class 9 – Mon 16 Apr – Ch 7 – Logic of Sampling; Ch 7 Quiz

Class 10 – Wed 18 Apr – No Reading Assignment; Due: Literature Review

Week 6

Class 11 – Wed 23 Apr – Ch 8 Experiments; Ch 8 Quiz

Class 12 – Mon 25 Apr – No Reading Assignment, Due: Survey/Questionnaire

Week 7

Class 13 – Mon 30 Apr – Ch 11 Unobtrusive Research; Ch 11 Quiz

Class 14 – Wed 2 May – No Reading Assignment; Due: Core Assessment

Week 8 

Class 15 – Mon 7 May - Ch 12 – Evaluation Research; Ch 12 Quiz

Class 16 – Wed 9 May – Ch 15 – The Elaboration Model, Bringing It All Together – Research Proposal Principles; Ch 15 Quiz

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:2/17/2012 7:55:55 PM