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2022 Spring

RESEARCH METHODS IN SOCIAL SCIENCES - SOC290 Spring 2022


Course
Gerald Power
For information about registration please contact our admissions.

Lessons

Here is the course outline:

1. Introduction to Research

A discussion of the essential aspects of the course content and procedures. What is good research?

2. The Research Question

What makes a good research question? How we ‘read our way’ to a good RQ; the problem of ‘reinventing the wheel’ in our research.

3. Quantitative Research

The major features and applications of this approach, including questions of ontology and epistemology.

4. Qualitative Research

The major features and applications of this approach. Mixed Methods research: combining qualitative and quantitative methods.

5. The Role of Theory

What is the role of theory in successful research? The linkages between theory and the literature review.

6. Research Design

Progressing from interest in your topic to a strategy for project completion. ‘Conceptualization’ and ‘operationalization’.

7. Getting the data

Different kinds of data. Good practice for data collection.

8. Mid-Term Exam

Take-home exam. See Assignments and the Syllabus for more details.

9. Humanities Research

How different is humanities research from the social sciences?

10. Historical Research

How does history fit into the positivist versus interpretivist debate we have already noted in the social sciences?

11. Literary Research

What considerations are in play when we attempt to interpret literature?

12. Group Presentations I

Having already split the class into four groups, each will deliver a 25-30 presentation on a major method in the social sciences and humanities, including an overall description of the method’s characteristics, and a detailed example of the method in use. Each presentation will be followed by questions and feedback. Group A will discuss content analysis. Group B will discuss case studies.

13. Group Presentations II

Group C will discuss grounded theory. Group D will discuss comparative analysis.

14. Final Exam

An open-book, take-home exam will take place in Class 14. Each student will receive by email, by the beginning of class, a unique question, to which they must compose an essay-style response by the end of class. Answers must make concrete reference to at least one Group Presentation reading and one concrete example of the method in use. The question will be on one of the group presentation topics, excluding whichever topic that student co-presented on. The answer is to be submitted to the instructor by email by the end of class.

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