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Doing Sociology - An exercise in applying research methods for sociology
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Research Methods
Study Design

How to Cite

Anderson, Erin. 2016. “Doing Sociology - An Exercise in Applying Research Methods for Sociology”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, February. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This set of prompts has been used in an Introduction to Sociology course to conclude the text chapter/lectures on research methods. After spending several class sessions talking about the various methods sociologists use to conduct research, as well as the pros and cons of the various methodologies, students get the opportunity to try their hand and...

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Subject Area(s):
Research Methods
Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Class Activity
Class Level(s):
College 100
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

This resources contains two documents. They have been used together, first the in-class group activity followed by the individual assignment, as well as independently in different semesters. This assignment could easily be adapted for use only as an in-class activity or for online use or collaboration.

In the class periods leading up to the...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Goal 1: Identify the various methods of social science research as well as strengths and weaknesses of each.
  2. Goal 2: Describe the components of a social science study, including the research questions, hypotheses, variables, and methods.
  3. Goal 3: Develop the ability to defend the use of a specific research methodology given the research question, population to study, and desired outcomes.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Assessment 1: Working together, students discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the various methodological approaches as they relate to specific questions.
  2. Assessment 2: Students write a short research plan for a given prompt in which they define a hypothesis, identify variables, and detail the steps of their chosen methodology.
  3. Assessment 3: Students write about why they chose a specific methodology, explaining why it is most appropriate for their research question, how variables are examined, and how it might help them determine if there is support for their hypothesis.

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