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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Wanda Martina Morris
CS&SS 320
Seattle Campus

Evaluating Social Science Evidence

A critical introduction to the methods used to collect data in social science: surveys, archival research, experiments, and participant observation. Evaluates "facts and findings" by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that produce them. Case based. Offered: jointly with SOC 320/STAT 320.

Class description

This is a course in social science argument. It is an introduction to the critical skills you need to evaluate the data used to justify claims about social issues. We focus on the logic and procedures of empirical research, using a case-based approach to learn about the four methods of data collection in social science contexts: field observations, historical archives, surveys, and experiments. We learn about the methods by reading a case study in detail; using it to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different types of data, and to evaluate the application of the methods in this case. This is not an introduction to statistical estimation and inference. Rather, it is a general introduction to social science methodology intended to make you a more discerning consumer of social science research.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

3 lectures, 1 quiz section per week

Recommended preparation

None required

Class assignments and grading

5 books read over the course of the quarter -- about 50 pages/wk.

Quiz section assignments focus on web-based information retrieval and evaluation.

2 short (3-5 page) papers, evaluting an article.

Midterm and Final.

Quiz section assignments, papers and midterm/final contribute equally to the final grade (1/3 each).


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 Wanda Martina Morris
Date: 11/05/2001