Syllabus for SOS-492

RESEARCH METHODS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Research Methods in the Social Sciences is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the different methodologies associated with research, principally qualitative and quantitative analysis.  

The biggest benefit that different research methodologies bring to a social scientist is the ability to develop firm correlations between the causes of observed phenomena and their consequences (an integral part of quantitative analysis) and to draw reliable causal explanations beyond mere correlations (the central focus of qualitative analysis).

You will also learn the practical knowledge and skills necessary for preparing robust social science research projects that can be applied in a variety of different settings. In particular, you will learn to create viable research designs, develop a research agenda, and match that agenda with the correct research tools and methodologies.

COURSE TOPICS

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Design and apply multiple research methodologies.

CO2        Collect and process data from variety of sources.

CO3        Analyze and apply the causal mechanisms that explain the interactions between variables that affect objective reality.

CO4        Create viable research proposals based on the selected research methodologies.

CO5        Conduct independent research on the topics of their interests by using the appropriate research designs and research methods.

CO6        Incorporate ethical considerations and standards into their research endeavors.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

Other Resources

This is a three-credit course, and this credit weight will be reflected both in a greater volume of assigned readings and in an increased workload. Required resources are listed in this BCO. These resources are included to provide the student with greater topic depth and to add currency beyond the scope of the textbook.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Research Methods in the Social Sciences is a three-credit online course consisting of four modules and a final project in the form of a research paper.  Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Please note: (1) Rewriting or resubmitting assignments is not permitted; (2) no assignments may be submitted after the last day of the course without an approved extension; and (3) extension requests must be approved by the mentor and submitted by the student to the Registrar's Office prior to the last day of the course.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum, you are required to participate in six graded online class discussions.

 

Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

 

All of these responses must be substantial. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate or your mentor, state and support your position.

 

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view, and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions: responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, mature, and respectful.

 

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

PowerPoint Presentation: Research Proposal Outline

As part of your activities for Module 3 you are required to create and submit a PowerPoint presentation that briefly outlines the main sections you intend to have in your Research Proposal that you will submit as your Final Project at the end of the semester.

You should consult with your mentor prior to submission of the PowerPoint presentation about the topics and content you want to pursue in your research paper.

Final Project: Research Proposal

At the end of the semester you are required to submit a Final Project in the form of a Research Proposal that is worth 30% of your final grade. Creating your proposal serves as an important exercise in how to design an independent social science research inquiry. It will give you ample opportunity to showcase the analytical knowledge and practical skills - critical in conducting social science research projects - that you gained during the course.

Consult the Final Project area of the course for full details.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All graded activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

Lateness Policy

Written assignments should be submitted no later than the due date unless prior arrangements are made with the mentor and a new due date is established. If a student submits an assignment after the due date without having made arrangements with the mentor, a minimum of five points (based on an assignment grading scale of 100 points) or 5% of the total points will be deducted for each week, or part thereof, that the assignment is late. Discussion forum assignments must be done in the week they are due or points will be forfeited.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at www.tesu.edu.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Plagiarism

Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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