Social Diversity and Inequality Research


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This research assignment helps students to achieve two major objectives in an introductory sociology course: 1) identifying the causes and consequences of inequality in society and 2) demonstrating an understanding of the role of evidence in qualitative and quantitative research. The assignment has two parts: an interview and a research paper. First, each student conducts one interview with a fellow undergraduate student. Then, students analyze all of the data collected by their classmates and write up their findings on how students of different races or genders experience their university differently. The assignment allows students to see the relevance of the course material in their everyday lives, to test theories about racial and gender inequality with empirical evidence, and to have hands-on experience with a complete research project at a level appropriate to an introductory-level course. It implements best practices through active learning, using modeling to teach skills, encouraging student collaboration, and giving students some control over the learning process.


Resource Type(s):
Stephanie Tze-Hua Chan 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Introduction to Sociology/Social Problems 
Class Level:
College 200 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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Timeline: 1. Students may conduct the interviews at any point in the term prior to when you need to organize the data for teaching analysis. 2. One class period is required to teach students how to analyze the data. 3. The paper should be due after you have covered content on...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
1) Identify the existence of social divisions and inequalities in society.
Assessment 1:
1) Identification of social divisions and inequalities is assessed in the "Results" section of the research paper.
Goal 2:
2) Demonstrate the use qualitative and quantitative methods in sociological research.
Assessment 2:
2) Demonstration of the use of qualitative and quantitative methods is assessed through the interview assignment, the creation of a table, and their discussion of methods in the research paper.

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Instructions for Instructors-Social Diversity and Inequality Research.docx
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