SPRING SEMESTER, 2014
Instructor: Bruce B. Williams Office: 115 Vera M. Long
2:30-5:00 p.m. W Office Hours: 11:00-3:00 M; and
NSB 217 1:00-2:15 W; or by
This course is designed to facilitate the successful completion of your senior thesis. It is not a methods class; it is a proposal workshop. Hence, the emphasis is on the process of developing and finalizing a research proposal and honing your critical thinking skills in interpreting and analyzing your research data. Critical thinking is defined as the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and\or evaluating information gathered from or generated by observation, experiences, reflection, reasoning or communicating as a guide to belief and action. The goal is for you to complete enough preliminary work so that you can spend the summer and fall semesters concentrating on collecting and analyzing data and writing the thesis.
Mildred L. Patten. 2010. Proposing Empirical Research: A Guide to the Fundamentals, (4th edition). Pyrczak Publishing: California State University, Los Angeles
Galvan, Jose L. 2009. Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing.
Chapter 2: “Considerations in Writing Reviews for Specific Purposes.”
Chapter 7: “Guidelines for Writing a First Draft.”
Chapter 8: Guidelines for Developing a Coherent Essay.”
Johnson, Jr, William A., et al. 2000. The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual, 2nded., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Martin, Michael. “Understanding and Participant Observation in Cultural and Social Anthropology.” In Marcello Truzzi. ed. 1974. Verstehen: Subjective Understanding in the Social Sciences. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
Pyrczak, Fred and Randall R. Bruce. 2012. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, (7th edition). Pyrczak Publishing: California State University, Los Angeles.
Rodrigues, Dawn and Raymond J. Rodrigues. 2003. The Research Paper, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Salkind, Neil J. 2000. Exploring Research, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Snow, David A. and Leon Anderson. 1987. “Identity Work Among the Homeless: The Verbal Construction and Avowal of Personal Identities,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 92:1336-71.
Stier Adler, Emily and Roger Clark. 1999. How It’s Done: An Invitation to Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co
The Sociology Writing Group. 2008., A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers, 6th ed. New York: Worth Publishers.
Weber, Max. “On Subjective Interpretation in the Social Sciences.” In Marcello Truzzi, ed. 1974. Verstehen: Subjective Understanding in the Social Sciences. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
Williams, Bruce B. 1987. Black Workers in an Industrial Suburb: The Struggle Against Discrimination. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Annotated Bibliography Website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/
There will be not examinations or quizzes for the course. The final grade will represent a compilation of the following:
A. Those not using human subjects: (1) Completion of 28 assignments and homework (280); ( 2) On- time literature review (40 points); (3) On-time first draft (30 points); (4) On-time completion of research proposal (100 points). TOTAL POINTS: 450.
B. Those using human subjects: (1) Completion of 28 assignments and homework (280 points); ( 2) on-time literature review (40 points); (3) research questionnaire (50 points); (4) questionnaire pre-test (20 points); (5) Informed-consent and human subjects approval forms (40 points); (6) On-time completion of research proposal (100 points). TOTAL POINTS: 520.
After the first few weeks, class assignments are subject to change according to the needs of the class based on evaluations of your stated goals for your research. Therefore the scheduled topics are subject to change based on our weekly progress!
You are required to attend classes and complete assignments on the days and times scheduled. Reading assignments are to be read prior to their corresponding lecture dates so as to form a basis for class discussion. You are expected to complete your research proposal by the end of this semester. If you do not complete your proposal this semester, you MUST present me with a fully developed research proposal by the end of the first week of the fall semester (Friday, August 29, 2014). If you change your research topic over the summer, you still are responsible for submitting a new, fully developed, research proposal to me by that date. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN A ‘C-’ or ‘D’ GRADE FOR THE PREVIOUS PROSEMINAR SEMESTER.
PART I: CONCEPTUAL OVERVIEW
1. Jan. 22 Introduction to one another and the course.
2. Jan. 29 Introduction to the course.
- Readings: Patten, Topics 1-3.
- Assignment #1: Discuss possible research topics, your 20 possible reference sources and the exercises in Topics 1 thru 3.
3. Feb. 3 “Selecting a Problem and Reviewing the Research.”
- Readings: Patten, Topics 4-11
- Assignment #2: Submit your list of 50 research topic references and 20 annotated references.
4. Feb. 10 Selecting Researchable Topics and Questions
- Readings: Patten, Topics 12–19.
5. Feb. 17 Selecting Researchable Topics and Questions (continued)
- Readings: Glavan. Ch. 2; Annotated Bibliography Website.
- prepare a personal timetable and goals for completion of this course. Turn one copy in to me.
6. Feb. 24 Organizing and evaluating literature
- Readings: Salkind, Chapter 12
- Annotated Bibliography DUE.
7. Mar. 3 Research Plans and Methods (KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO)
- Readings: Patten, Topics 20-24 plus Parts F and G H and I.
8. Mar. 10 Qualitative Research and Questionnaires
- Readings: Two Student Proposals (Contact Holly in Vera Long)
- Literature Review DUE
9. Mar. 17 Human Subjects Consent Form
- Readings: Two student proposals (Contact Holly in Vera Long)
10. Mar. 24 SPRING BREAK
11. Mar. 31 Creating a Critical Bibliography
- Readings: Patten, Part J; Glavan Ch. 7
12. Apr. 7 Ethics and Social Research
- Readings: Adler and Clark, Chapter 4. First Proposal Draft Due!
- INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
13. Apr. 14 Qualitative Data Analysis Group.
- Readings: Martin; Weber. Glavan, Ch. 8. Questionnaires DUE.
- Class Assignment: Complete Subject Consent Form.
14. Apr. 21 Finalizing the Proposal
- Readings: Rodrigues and Rodrigues, Chapter 6.
- INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
15. Apr. 28 Brainstorming for the fall
- Assignment: Submit (a) Summer Research Timetables; (b) helpful hints to one another.
16. May 5 Presentations
- Final Assignment: Submit research proposals.
PROPOSALS AND SUMMER TIMETABLES DUE: 5:00 PM, MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014.
EVALUATION CRITERIA FOR MEASURING YOUR CLASS PERFORMANCE:
- Utilization of an approved writing style for a sociological research proposal.
- Effective utilization of sociological theories and concepts in framing a research proposal .
- Effective utilization of sociological research methodology.
- Completion of a high quality, sociologically grounded, senior research proposal.