Syllabus for SOS-492
RESEARCH METHODS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
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.
- Creating viable research designs
- Developing individual research agendas
- Selecting the most contemporary research tools
- Selecting proper research tools
- Matching the research agendas with the research methodologies
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.
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.
- Gravetter, F.J. and Forzano, L-A.B. (2016). Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. Cengage Publishing; 5th edition. ISBN: 978-1-305-10413-6
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.
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.
- Module 1: Research Methods in Social Science: An Introduction
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 3
- Module 2: Ethical Considerations in Research; Sampling and Validity
Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 3, 6
- Module 3: Experimental and Non-experimental Research Strategies and Designs
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3
- Module 4: Research Proposal and Strategies: Correlational and Causational Research Designs
Course objectives covered in this module: 2, 4, 5
BEFORE YOU START YOUR RESEARCH
One or more of the assignments in this course may involve original research. Research on persons other than yourself may require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Thomas Edison State University prior to beginning your research. Examples of research types that may need IRB review are questionnaires, surveys, passive observation of individuals, interviews, and experimental procedures. Research involving vulnerable populations will always need IRB review. An IRB review is designed to protect research subjects from potential harm.
The following links fully explain the purpose of the Institutional Research Board as well as how to determine if your research requires IRB review. If you are in doubt, always ask for guidance from the University.
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.
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.
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:
- Discussion forums (6)—30%
- Written assignments (4)—32%
- Final Project—38%
- PowerPoint Presentation: Research Proposal Outline (1)—8%
- Research Proposal—30%
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:
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:
- Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
- Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook and the School of Nursing Student Handbook. These Handbooks, which can be found by clicking the Student Resources tab in your course website, answer many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State University.
- All assignments, including discussion forums, are graded using a rubric. Be sure to consult the appropriate rubric in either the Evaluation Rubrics folder or the assignment submission link itself for the specific requirements of each assignment.
- Use the writing style guides for APA listed under Student Resources > Educational Resources > Writing Style Guides to help you use this format correctly.
- Online tutoring assistance is available through Smarthinking.com. See Student Resources > Educational Resources > Online Tutoring Resources.
- Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
- If you are not familiar with web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.
Consider the following study tips for success:
- To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
- Check Announcements regularly for new course information.
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.
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:
- Gaining or providing unauthorized access to examinations or using unauthorized materials during exam administration
- Submitting credentials that are false or altered in any way
- Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
- Forgery, fabricating information or citations, or falsifying documents
- Submitting the work of another person in whole or in part as your own (including work obtained through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Submitting your own previously used assignments without prior permission from the mentor
- Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others (including making tests, papers, and other course assignments available to other students, either directly or through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Tampering with the academic work of other students
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:
- Lower or failing grade for an assignment
- Lower or failing grade for the course
- Rescinding credits
- Rescinding certificates or degrees
- Recording academic sanctions on the transcript
- Suspension from the University
- Dismissal from the University
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