Covers what makes social science a science, the components of good research design, and what counts as valid evidence for sociological claims. Pays special attention to links between theory, research questions, and data. Offered: AWSpS.
The world is full of claims about what is going on in our society. Some say we need gun control and others say we do not. Some say sexism and racism are still major issues, others disagree. Some say we are safer than ever while others say we have never been more at risk.
Politicians, activists, and the media are all examples of the sorts of groups who have major agendas in making you think certain things are happening. But what is really going on in your society? The purpose of this class is to give you the tools you need to sort out the facts from the hype. By the end of this course, not only will you be able to decide for yourself what is going on in society, you will also know how to skillfully back up your own claims with evidence and logic.
Student learning goals
Know how to sort out solidly supported facts from opinion and bad social research
Understand what makes for a good social research design
Know how to effectively argue claims about society
Be able to read and interpret academic articles in the social sciences
General method of instruction
* short presentations * class discussions
Class assignments and grading
* short in-class exercises * 3 multiple choice/short answer quizzes