Sociology | Research Methods in Sociology
S370 | 20763 | Rosow


Research Methods in Sociology is the first in the Department of
Sociology’s required two-course sequence in Methods and Statistics.
It is often assumed that this course is technical, difficult, and
largely uninspiring.  I beg to differ, and in this course I hope to
relay my passion about research design and issues surrounding
research practice.  Instead, research methods can be one of the most
interesting and useful classes that you take—how we answer questions
can be just as interesting as the questions we choose to ask.  In
this course we will learn about how to do sociology through reading,
discussion, and classroom exercises.  This course will make you a
better evaluator and consumer of the research that surrounds you and
is used to construct the ‘facts’ that organize our lives.

The course is divided into three broad sections.  We will first begin
with an overview of general aspects of research methods in which we
learn how to develop research questions and hypotheses, how to
measure sociological concepts, and how to select an appropriate and
unbiased sample.  We will then cover a wide range of specific
methodologies starting with “quantitative” methods, such as survey
research, and moving on to “qualitative” methods, such as ethnography
and in-depth interviewing. In addition to covering the ‘how to’ of
these research methodologies we will explore three themes: 1) the
various advantages and disadvantages of these methodologies, 2) when
the use of one method is appropriate or inappropriate for the
research question, and 3) how to evaluate researchers’ claims on the
basis of the evidence they present.  We will finish the course by
considering the ethical, legal, and social implications of research.