SO308 Prin of Social Research

for U1H 2013

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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


U1H 2013 BU


Failing, Maria G.


Adjunct Faculty



Office Location

Park University, MCAS Beaufort

Office Hours

By appointment only

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

03 June 2013- 28 July 2013

Class Days

M & W

Class Time

7:35 - 10:05 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. (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).

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.
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Course Description:
SO308 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:
Not all people learn the same way, for that reason, I believe in using a variety of  instructional methods which include interactive lectures, readings,  as well as the use of technology to achieve the learning outcomes. This provides a balanced learning environment in which students are open to exploring the ideas and concepts being discussed.

Class Assessment:

Your grade is based on class participation, timely completion of your biweekly homework assignments, a research proposal and two exams. 

Discussion and Participation (10 points per week = 80 points total or 16%)

Biweekly Homework Assignments (40 points each= 160 points total or 32%)

Week 2 Due on: 12 June 
Week 4 Due on: 26 June
Week 6 Due on: 10 July
Week 8 Due on: 24 July 

For each homework assignment you will need to complete a small data gathering project in the following order: 
1.  Experiment: 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: 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: 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: 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.

Midterm and Final Examinations (50 points each= 100 points total or 20%)
One exam will be on week 4 (24 June 2013), the final examination will be on week 8 (24 July 2013). Both examinations will consist of multiple choice questions. 

Research Proposal (160 points= 32%)
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:  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: 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: 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: 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.

Total Points Possible = 500

A >= 450
B = 400-449
C = 350-399
D = 300-349
F <= 299

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late work will only be accepted with prior approval from your instructor, so once you become aware of a situation, personal or employment-related which may prevent you from submitting your work on time, make sure you communicate this to your instructor.  All late work must be submitted one week from its' original due date. Final exams and all work due on week 8 cannot be made up, unless in case of emergencies, which must be documented.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Please be on time, attend class for the entire 2.5 hour period, turn off your cell phone or other devices and be ready to learn. Class attendance and communication with your instructor are essential to your success in this class, keep your instructor informed of illnesses, family emergencies, or other responsibilities which may keep you from attending any class meeting. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

 Week Topic 
 1  Introduction, Theory, Ethics
Chapters 1-3 

 2 Research Design , Measurement, Scales
Chapters 4-6
Homework 1
 3  Sampling, Experiments, Survey Research
Chapters 7-9

 4 Field, Unobstrusive, and Evaluation Research
Chapters 10-12
Homework 2
Midterm Exam
 5 Qualitative & Quantitative Data Analysis
Chapters 13-14

 6 Statistical Analysis Chapter 16 Homework 3
 7 Writing Social Research Chapter 17
Research Proposal
 8 Summary & Review
Homework 4 
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 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 97

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 2012-2013 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 2012-2013 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:



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Last Updated:5/1/2013 6:49:22 PM