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This course addresses the implementation and appreciation of methodological choices in Sociology. The focus is reflection on and critique of the practice of sociological research, rather than on the substantive or theoretical claims of Sociology. However, in order to explore methodology, it will be necessary to consider empirical and theoretical claims. You will be invited to investigate your own interests, and encouraged to focus on one through a series of connected assignments, which comprise a semester-long research project that will be almost entirely of your design, individually and collectively.

This course explores basic issues in sociological research through four core areas: orientation, measurement, observation, and description. It begins with orienting issues about research and broad questions about science itself, including what it is and how it varies. Seven topics related to measurement follow, from conceptualization through analysis. Finally, we will explore (and you will conduct) five methods of observation (surveys, content analysis, experiments, focus groups, and field work), applying basic descriptive techniques (both qualitative and quantiative) throughout the course.

As a result, you will gain valuable practical (and marketable) skills in all aspects of research design, and will have the opportunity to integrate various aspects of your major: theory, analysis, and substantive areas of interest to you.