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Statistics for the Social Sciences

There are so many things around us that it can be difficult to focus on just one for a research project. Here are a few things to think about to find yours. First, we are in a sociology class, so your topic has to be sociological in nature. Wondering if a new diet helps people lose weight, for instance, wouldn’t work. Instead, think back on some of the topics you covered in other sociology classes (Intro, Marriage and the Family, Theory, etc.). Was there something in there that sparked your interest? You can also build on previous research that you have completed for a former class in the program or closely related field.

Second, this project will be the focus of your discussions for the next eight weeks.  It is highly recommended that you choose something that is of interest to you and can keep your attention for that long.

The point of the discussion is that other students will ask you questions or make suggestions that may help you define your project better. Your instructor will also interact with each of you individually in this module and the next to help you refine your topic. Which means, remember to check your thread regularly!

As you present your topic in this discussion, think about how you would study it.  What is your research question and your theory behind it?  What variables can you use to measure correlations that are connected to your research question?  In your original post, tell the class what your topic is, phrasing it as a research question. Your research question should preferably be more general and open-ended than a hypothesis. Then, identify variables which you have found in the GSS dataset (be sure to identify the variable name AND the question asked in the survey).  Explain why you chose these variables for your project and why you think there is a correlation or a relationship.

In your replies to at least two posts from your classmates, think critically about what they are trying to do with their project, and offer them constructive feedback. This can be asking for clarification about their proposed topic; suggesting a direction for their research; suggesting sources they may want to check; or contributing your personal experience about this topic.

You can find the GSS variables in the codebook found at the back of your textbook.  We will be using the 2012 data set for our project,  If you would like to see the actual GSS website, you may visit it by clicking here.  ( http://gss.norc.org/get-the-data )

 

Instructions for all Forums:

Sociology lives when we engage it – we read about it, we discuss it, we debate it, we frame our research questions with it, we put it to the test of empiricism, and every once in a while we build it ourselves.  Therefore, the success of this course depends on all of us thoroughly engaging it.  One of the most important parts of the course will be the discussions and debates we participate in, in our Forum.  These discussions need to be informed by thorough reading of the assigned texts.

Each week, learners will post one initial post per week.  This post must demonstrate comprehension of the course materials, the ability to apply that knowledge in the real world, active presence.  Learners will engage with the instructor and peers through rich responses to their posts.  To motivate engaged discussion, posts are expected to be on time with regular interaction throughout the week.  All posts should demonstrate college level writing skills. To promote vibrant discussion as we would in a face to face classroom, formatted citations and references are not required.  Quotes should not be used at all, or used sparingly.  If you quote a source quotation marks should be used and an APA formatted citation and reference provided.


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