SO308 Prin of Social Research

for F2T 2012

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SO 308 Prin of Social Research


F2T 2012 DL


Medina, Phyllis


Senior Adjunct Professor


Ph.D., Psychology, Oklahoma State University
Managerial Position Analysis Questionnaire (MPAQ). Certified by PAQ Services, Utah.
Five-Factor Model of Personality. May purchase, administer, and interpret the NEO-PIR and the NEO-FFI.  Certified by the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies, Charlotte, N.C.

Office Location

On-line within the classroom posted under Course Home.

Office Hours

TBD -- Please e-mail a request for "Office Hours."  I am more than happy to call you at an agreed upon time.

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

10/22/12 - 12/16/2012

Class Days

Weekly Units run Monday - Sunday.

Class Time

Class is asynchronous and is open 24/7.


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


Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, 12th Edition, Wadsworth.
ISBN: 978-0-495-59841-1

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

During the course additional readings will be assigned. These readings will consist of articles from professional journals, and web based sources.  These readings will support your text materials and expose you to current research from within the diverse fields of the social sciences. 

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:

Teaching online is not about "lecturing." It is about guiding, supporting, and inspiring students to seek a deeper understanding of assigned course materials. It is about providing knowledge.
Strategies and Methods:

As an adjunct instructor, I have enjoyed teaching both undergraduate and graduate psychology courses. I have been teaching online for the past 10 years. During this time I have realized that, working within the online classroom requires students feel confident about their learning environment. I continually strive to instill confidence in my students by constructing and managing courses that incorporate Chickering and Gamson's (1991) “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.
• Encourage student-faculty contact

• Encourage reciprocity and cooperation among students

• Communicate high expectations

• Emphasize time on task

• Provide prompt feedback

• Encourage active learning

• Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

Within this course these principles will be applied and reinforced while each student is encouraged to explore the diversity of ideas, issues, and perspectives presented within the online classroom. Each student will engage in a variety of learning experiences (e.g., lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings) while in pursuit of meeting his or her personal goals for the course completion.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1991), Applying the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 47. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply research methodologies, statistics, measurements, guidelines, ethical standards, laws, and regulations to design, participate in, and evaluate research in a variety of contexts.
  2. Use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and where possible appropriate technology and the scientific approach to solve problems within the domains of the social sciences.
  3. Effectively communicate in writing.
Class Assessment:
See detailed instructions and rubrics for all assignments in the SO308 course shell at

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.]

Data Analysis Project (350 points total = 35%)
Each class member will participate in five common types of data collection and contribute to the final data set.  You will use the final data set as the basis for your data report.  Each of these data concern the general topic of prejudice and discrimination.  This topic was chosen for three reasons: (1.) it remains a topic of vital importance in all our lives, (2.) it was an historically important area of research for the development of social psychology as a field, and (3.) it illustrates the immediate importance for applied social psychological research.

1.  Experiment (40 points): participate in the experiment, administer that experiment to three other participants, and record and submit those data to your instructor in the form provided.  Write up a  brief (400 to 500 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of both taking and administering the experiment.

2.  Survey (40 points): participate in the survey, administer that survey to nine other participants, and record and submit those data to your instructor in the form provided.  Write up a  brief (400 to 500 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of both taking and administering the survey.

3.  Field Observation (40 points): select two different public locations where members of at least two groups interact with one another.  Each observation should last about 30 minutes and you should take copious notes. Write up and submit your detailed field notes in the form provided.  Then write up a  brief (400 to 500 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of conducting your field observations.

4.  Interview (40 points): administer the interview schedule to one person.  Your interview should take about 30 minutes to an hour.  Write up and submit your detailed interview notes in the form provided.  Then write up a  brief (400 to 500 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of conducting your interview.

5.  Artifact Content Analysis (40 points): select two cultural artifacts that you believe evidence prejudicial attitudes or discriminatory practices.  Scan or photograph the artifact (or copy the link, if it is a web page) and embed this in your data submission.  Write up and submit your detailed content analysis in the form provided.  Then write up a  brief (400 to 500 word) reflection on your findings and the experience of conducting your content analyses.

Report (150 points):
Each student will receive a subset of all the data collected by SO308 students.  You will receive samples from each of the five different data sources.  You must select three of the five data sources for your analysis in the following manner: (1.) one of either the experiment or the survey; (2.) one of the field observations, interview notes, or cultural artifacts; and (3.) any one of the remaining three data sources.  So, for example, you could choose the experiments, observations, and artifacts; or the experiments, surveys, and interviews; but not the interviews, observations, and artifacts.  There must be at least one quantitative and one qualitative data source in your analysis.  Which sources you choose will be dictated by your interests, the question you wish to examine, and your comfort with each type of data.  Once your have selected your data sources, you will find that there is still far too much to cover in this brief report.  Therefore, you will have to further focus your essay on one or two hypotheses or questions.  The best way to do this is to study your selected data sources to find similarities you can group as themes or variables.  Once you have done this, you are ready to dive into your analysis.  Your essay must be between 2500 and 3000 words (about 8 to 12 pages, plus any references) and must consist of the following parts:

(1.)  Description: Your first goal in each project is to identify patterns in the data, propose possible explanations that help you understand the patterns, and to justify your analyses and interpretations through reference to specific empirical evidence and logical arguments.  (See your brief guide to critical thinking handout for more details on how this is done.)Discuss only those aspects of the data or the data collection process that set up the issues you have chosen as the focus of your essay.  You do not have to discuss all of the data, every variable, or the entire data collection process — just pick those that are most relevant to the points you wish to make.  This is a short essay, so you must remain tightly focused.  Compare and contrast what is similar and different about you learn of your topic through all three data sources.

(2.)  Analysis: Your second objective is to attempt to make sense of your observations by analyzing them.  You do this through imputing underlying reasons, motivations, and relationships — always justifying your assertions with carefully collected data and thoroughly developed reason or logic.  In other words, you will construct a small theory to explain and interpret your data, and maybe even help predict future behaviors.  Be sure that all of your assertions can be justified through sound reason and empirical evidence gathered only from your assigned data sources and no others.  Use specific techniques for data analysis discussed in this class as your tools.  You cannot use every method, so choose wisely.

(3.)  Critique:  You must next critique the process by acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of your data and your methods.  A continual question in social and behavioral research is whether the data we have collected are valid and reliable or just an “artifact” accidentally created by the way in which we gathered our data.  For example, in those assignments based on survey or interview data, you may wonder whether the wording or ordering of the questions has caused subjects to refrain from revealing their true feelings.  What could be done so that if someone were to gather more of this data in the future they could be more confident of it?  Discuss how future investigations may be improved based on our experiences collecting and studying the data.

(4.)  Implications:  Finally, you should discuss how your findings might be applied to help us understand a real problem or issue better or more completely.  What sorts of policies or actions would your findings suggest?  What sort of personal decisions would result?  How would this better understanding change the world if is was generally understood?  Also, what are the dangers of overgeneralizing from these data?

Comprehensive Final Examination (150 points = 15%)
A 100 multiple choice question final examination comprehensive of all materials from the course text book.

Discussion and Participation (25 points x 8 = 20%)
Participate in all discussions each week, on time and according to instructions, for a possible 25 points each week.

Ethics Assignment (20 points = 2%)
Complete and submit the "Ethical Decisions Worksheet" on time and according to instructions for 20 points.

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

Total Points Possible = 1000

A >= 900
B = 800-899
C = 700-799
D = 600-699
F <= 599

All assignments must be submitted through the "Dropbox" in the online course shell for grading.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Please contact me if you are having difficulty with an assignment that may potentially result in a late submission. I am here to support you in meeting your goals for the course. To facilitate this process review assignment requirements early and ask questions when they arise. Through an established dialog I am confident your questions can be addressed propelling you towards successfully completing your work.

Late work will not receive full grade credit. Work not turned by the due date, but is turned in no more than 7 days late, will receive a 10% deduction from the score it would have received otherwise. Homework turned in 8-14 days late will receive a 25% deduction from the score it would have received otherwise. Homework not received within 15 days of the due date will not be scored. No work received after the last day of the term will be scored.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Here are some step-by-step thoughts about creating a sense of community in an online classroom.  It outlines my commitments to you and introduces rules of conduct we should consider.
Working within the online classroom, whether as a single unit or as a group will require you to feel confident about the environment in which you are learning.  In order to establish a sense of community within the online classroom, encouraging dialog and student-to-student feedback is a must.  In order to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of our online learning community the following should be considered.

Setting the Stage:  As your instructor, I am directly responsible for the management and success of our online classroom.  Managing the dynamics an online classroom (e.g., strong personalities, timid repliers, sporadic participation) can be a stimulating challenge. 

  1. A community is a living, constantly changing, dynamic force in which a number of people come together to exchange thoughts, ideas, resources, and social support.  Within an online classroom, our community will need to be able to discuss our objectives, assess ideas, make decisions, and work together. 
  2. A successful community will demonstrate several features.  One major feature is that class members must feel that they can communicate freely, while mastering the requisite skills and techniques needed to fulfill class requirements.  This will require establishing a balance among class members during discussions and group projects.
  3. Remember:  Each class member has something to offer. 

 Achieving Potential:

  1. There is no limit to the accomplishments a class can achieve when there is a strong sense of community.  I will provide you with challenging tasks.  You and your fellow classmates will reinforce each other's confidence while seeking to fulfill assignments.  The collective ability to explore and learn from each other is greater because you share a "combined brain power."  By harnessing this power, you will come to realize the reaped benefits from online instruction go far beyond just learning the course content. 

Working Collectively:

  1. All class members must understand that you need to support each other.  All personalities must, thereby, be encouraged to participate and collaborate in the class.  This will require me to monitor class discussions.  If I note that a student is withdrawing (i.e., not responding or participating) then I will do what I can to help draw him or her back in.

Understanding Course Objectives (Student Goals):

  1. Once a sense of community has been established, the next task is to get the class on track towards established course goals (assignments, activities, discussions, projects).  There is no substitute for good, clear goal setting.  To assist in the arena I will create activities that are challenging and doable.  I will provide you goals with clear set deadlines for each project or assignment.  I do this because fixed goals that are measurable will aid in keeping you and the rest of the class focused. 

Important for Us All to Keep in Mind:

In order to maintain a sense of community within our virtual classroom, it will be important to help class members find ways to use conflict constructively.  Remember everyone needs to have some fun (make a light hearted remark about the subject being discussed, or share a joke -- relevant or not) while participating in class discussions.

However, keep in mind that everyone thinks differently and patience and tolerance may on occasion be necessary.  This is true of any environment in which people are communicating, but online where responses are in print, all members of the class (including me) are at a disadvantage.  We do not have body language (eye contact, facial cues, body movement etc.) as a source of feedback telling us the deeper intent of the speaker’s words.  For example, if I were to tell you to "Have a good day!" I may mean several things.  One, I could mean just that.  I hope that you have a nice, enjoyable day.  Or, I could be inviting you to leave, exit, go away.  My vocal qualities and body language are what make such words unambiguous. However, online we are left with a certain level of ambiguity in our written communications.  Moral of this point:  Be thoughtful in, and conscious of, how your written responses my be interpreted by fellow students.  This is particularly important when commenting or providing feedback to another students work, ideas, responses, etc.

Dealing with conflict:

  1. As your instructor, I have an open-door policy.  Students need to feel they can address concerns or grievances freely.  Any classroom conduct that disrupts the learning environment in the opinion of the instructor, will be addressed directly.
  2. Those who present a problem to me must also bring me solutions.

Effective Communications Aid Sense of Community

  1. Strong communication links are vital to the well being of our virtual learning community.  The most effective links will occur naturally (you take note of each other and start you own dialogs - - chats sessions, responding to discussion topics).  Thereby, areas where students can meet and talk formally as well as informally will be established.  This will help encourage the free flow of communication amongst the class.

Class Successes:

  1. I will acknowledge, publicize, and celebrate our class' successes.  I will use the class announcements for this type of feedback.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

 Week Topic   Due
 1  Research Questions
 2  Design & Sampling
 3  Measurement  Survey
 4  Qualitative & Unobtrusive Research
 5 Survey & Experimental Research
 6  Concepts of Data Analysis
 7  Quantitative & Statistical Analysis
 8  Research into Practice

See online course shell for additional schedule information.

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
The class will complete an online tutorial to learn about strategies on how to avoid plagiarism.

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.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

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: .

Additional Information:

Time commitment:


Online courses are designed to mirror the time commitment of face-to-face courses. For example, if you spend 3 hours in a traditional classroom each week, you should plan to spend 3 hours in your online classroom each week. As in face-to-face classes, you will also need to allocate time outside of the online classroom to complete reading and other assignments. As a general rule, you should plan to schedule 2-3 hours outside of the classroom for every hour you spend in the classroom. 

Phyllis Medina: Academically I am a Ph.D. recipient in Psychology with an emphasis on research and  Industrial/Organizational issues. Areas of expertise include seminar development, career development, corporate research, and undergraduate and graduate instruction in Psychology, Sociology, and Business Management.

On a more personal note I enjoy spending time with my family and gardening.


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Last Updated:9/19/2012 10:24:37 AM