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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Dana Prince
BIS 312
Bothell Campus

Approaches to Social Research

Deals with the why and how of social research. Covers two main themes: the epistemology of social science and the logic of research design. Students learn to assess the strengths of various methodologies, evaluate research results, and initiate future inquiries of their own.

Class description

This course is brings together the theory and practice of critical, indigenous, and anti-oppressive approaches to social science research involving individuals, families, groups, institutions and communities. The course focuses on working in small research teams to constructing a small scale research study in entirety, including: research design, gathering, analyzing and interpreting data, communicating findings, and utilizing results for action and social change. Designed to strengthen knowledge and skills related to understanding and conducting research, this course aims to engage students in learning community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles and approaches particularly as it relates to promoting social justice, multiculturalism and social change. Studens design and implement research on a topic of chosen interest.

Student learning goals

Develop a working knowledge of a variety of paradigms of knowledge (or “world views”) and how ontological, epistemological, and methodological positions, assumptions, and beliefs are embedded in/inform research.

Develop a working knowledge of the terminology and components of social science research.

Develop skills to critically evaluate social science research for the potential to counter –or perpetuate—oppression against vulnerable populations, e.g. groups that have historically been marginalized, oppressed and/or disenfranchised.

Develop skills to work in small groups or pairs to design a small-scale qualitative research project including identification of a research topic; development of research question and aims; participant recruitment; develop appropriate methodology and data collection methods; analytic procedures; findings; impacts; and ethical considerations.

General method of instruction

Lecture; Group Work

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Successful learning in this class is predicated on active in-class participation, weekly currency with the required reading and a commitment to student peer teaching. The grading will be based on (a) demonstrated understanding of the core principles and concepts of research paradigms; (b) their application to your research projects, including gathering data and interpreting your findings and their implications; and (c) effective communication of your results (both oral and written).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Dana Prince
Date: 02/13/2014