SO308 Prin of Social Research

for F1B 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.


SO 308 Prin of Social Research


F1B 2012 BL


LeBeau, Deborah


Senior Ajdunct Faculty


Ph D, Anthropology, Rhodes University
MA, Anthropology, San Diego State University
BA, Anthropology, San Diego State University

Office Location

Contact me by email or phone if you have additional concerns/ questions

Office Hours

outside the classroom or we may discuss before or after class

Daytime Phone

Must dial (1915) 988-2550 (Call any day from 9am-9pm)


Web Page

Semester Dates

August 20, 2012 to October 14, 2012

Class Days


Class Time

7:30 - 10:10 PM


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



Babbie, E.R. (2010). The Practice of Social Research (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning-Wadsworth, ISBN-10: 0495598410. (Bundled by MBS with the SAGrader Methods Course Pack from IdeaWorks.)

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Additional Readings as necessary and workbook on Development Africa.

SAGrader Methods Course Pack from IdeaWorks (bundled with textbook by MBS).

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

Most, if not all, materials will be made available through eCompanion

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.
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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

Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy is that students are an integral part of the learning partnership between teacher, student, and the information they are to learn. Student grow to understand the place of research and statistics in sociology during active learning through classroom discussions, lectures, readings, assignments, group work, hands-on use of research techniques, and writing. Each student will be required to analyze, criticize, and synthesize presented information. Each student will be required to demonstrate these skills through the written word. I will engage your learning in the course through interactions and feedback within each component. Feel free to ask questions as you have them.

Instructor Learning Outcomes:
1.         Describe and illustrate each step in the research cycle, both for laboratory and field research; and discriminate among the choices that must be made at each stage. [core assessment, final exam];
2.         Apply the principles of the scientific method to social science research. [data analysis, core assessment, final exam];
3.         Operationalize a theoretical question or practical concern as a testable hypothesis. [data analysis, core assessment];
4.         Critically analyze and evaluate a research literature and then to build new research upon the foundation it provides. [literature review, core assessment];
5.         Apply the fundamental aspects of measurement and construct variables based on those principles. [data analysis, core assessment, final exam];
6.         Identify and differentiate basic research designs and determine which is appropriate for a given research problem. [data analysis, core assessment, final exam];
7.         Identify the principles of probabilistic, nonprobabilistic, and multistage samples, and determine which is appropriate for a research problem. [data analysis, core assessment, final exam];
8.         Explain and justify the use of quantitative, qualitative, and multimethod data gathering techniques. [data analysis, core assessment, final exam];
9.         Apply the principles of ethical research. [ethics assignment, core assessment, final exam];
10.       Gather interactive and nonreactive data. [data analysis];
11.       Analyze quantitative and qualitative data. [data analysis, final exam];
12.       Collect, analyze, and critically evaluate empirical data. [data analysis];
13.       Present research results to specific audiences. [data analysis, ethics assignment, core assessment].

Class Assessment:

See detailed instructions and rubrics for all assignments at

Research Proposal (Core Assessment)

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. 500 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. 500 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.

Data Analysis Project:

Each class member will participate in five common types of data collection and contribute to the final data sets. You will use the final data sets as the basis for your final exam.

1.         Unobtrusive Research/Identifying your Research Topic: This is a brief (500 to 600 word) overview of your research topic. This assignment 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 topic. You will need a minimum of two academic references cited from the internet to support your statements: at least one reference will need to be data collected and reported on your research topic. You will analyze and evaluate the data; and then write about and elaborate in detail your observations and conclusions of the data.

2.         Field Observation:
Select two different public locations where members of at least two groups interact with one another. Each observation will last a minimum of 30 minutes and you will take copious notes. Write up and submit your detailed field notes in the format provided. Then write up a brief (500 to 600 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of conducting your field observations.

3.         Experiment: Participate in the experiment, administer that experiment to three other participants, and record and submit those data to your instructor in the format provided. Write up a brief (500 to 600 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of both taking and administering the experiment.

4.         Survey: Participate in the survey, administer that survey to nine other participants, and record and submit those data to your instructor in the format provided. Write up a brief (500 to 600 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of both taking and administering the survey.

5.         Interview: Administer the interview schedule to three person. Your interview will take about 30 minutes to one hour. Write up and submit your detailed interview notes in the format provided. Then write up a brief (500 to 600 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of conducting your interview.



Your grade will be based on; five take-home assignments (worth 10 points each), 40 points for the core assessment and final exam, and 10 points for class participation. Thus:

50 points = 50% Regular Assignments (10 points per assignment): data collection and interpretation assignments.
10 points= 10% Participation (1.25 points x 8 weeks): Participate in all discussions each week by asking thoughtful questions and providing relevant discussion.
40 points = 40% Core Assessment: Research Proposal and final exam.

An extra credit Discussion Thread will be available each week through eCompanion. It is highly recommended that you participate each and every week.

Total Points Possible = 100
A >= 90
B = 80-89.9
C = 70-79.9
D = 60-69.9
F <= 59.9

See attached file (2008Rubric.pdf) and the online eCompanion course shell for additional details.

NOTE: Assignments and Core Assessment paper (Research Proposal) must be submitted through the “Dropbox” in eCompanion.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
 Late work is accepted with prior approval. You should begin work on your assignments early enough to cope with those unforeseen circumstances that inevitably arise. Any assignments that are more than two late from the due date will not be graded. YOU WILL GET A ZERO (0) FOR THESE ASSIGNMENTS. I may make accommodations for extreme circumstances, but you must discuss these with me as early as possible (beforehand, if possible, or immediately after the fact, in unforeseen circumstances).

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Please, put your cellphones on vibrate during class. STUDENTS CAUGHT SURFING THE INTERNET DURING CLASS WILL BE ASKED TO CLOSE THEIR COMPUTERS THE FIRST TIME, AND ASKED TO NOT BRING THE COMPUTER BACK TO CLASS AFTER THAT. Your contributions should be respectful and substantive. Disagreements should center on ideas and not individuals. Violations of basic classroom decorum will not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary actions. If you have a laptop computer, it is highly recommended that you bring it to class with you to facilitate data transfers, etc.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

 Week 1                            Intro to Course, Paradigms & Theories, and Ethic
                        Babbie            Chapter 1: Human Inquiry and Science
                                               Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research
                                               Chapter 3: The Ethics and Politics of Social Research
                                               Ethics in Research Discussion Thread
Week 2                              Research Design
                        Babbie            Chapter 4: Research Design
                                               Chapter 11: Unobtrusive Research
                                               Assignment 1: Unobtrusive Research/Identifying Topic
Week 3                              Qualitative Research 
                        Babbie            Chapter 10: Qualitative Research
                                               Chapter 13: Qualitative Data Analysis
                                                Assignment 2: Observations data due
Week 4                              Experiments
                        Babbie             Chapter 8: Experiments
                                                Assignment 3: Experiment data due
Week 5                              Survey Research, Measurements & Sampling
                       Babbie             Chapter 5: Conceptualization/Measurement
                                               Chapter 6: Indexes, Scales, and Typologies
                                               Chapter 7: The Logic of Sampling
                                               Chapter 9: Surveys
                                                Assignment 4: Survey data due
Week 6                              Concepts in Data Analysis
                        Babbie             Chapter 14: Quantitative Data Analysis
                                                Chapter 15: The Elaboration Model
                                                Chapter 16: Statistical Analysis
                                                Assignment 5: Interview data due
Week 7                               Quantitative & Statistical Analysis
                                                Core Assessment due by Sunday
                                                Review for final exam
Week 8                                    Final Exam 
                                                Final exam on Tuesday
                                                Feedback on Thursday

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 95-96

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 95

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 98

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:7/10/2012 2:25:15 PM