SOCIOLOGY 60      Practice of Social Research Prof. Akos Rona-Tas
Summer 2014             Office Hours: T, Th 1 :00-1:50
Lectures: T,Th 2:00- 4:50   HSS 2305B        or by appointment, SSB 488
Discussion Section:  T   5:00-6:50 HSS 2305B  phone: 858-534-4699 

 TA: Ian Mullins

Office Hours:




This class is an introduction to sociological research. My main goal is to teach you the basics of doing and understanding sociological research. The course will emphasize the differences between modes of everyday and sociological argumentation. I will lead students through the entire research process presenting various approaches to sociological inquiry, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each. Topics covered in this course include research design, experimentation, causation, observation and measurement, variables and hypotheses, units of analysis, sampling, comparative historical, qualitative and quantitative methods. There will be a brief introduction to elementary statistical data analysis.

Students will learn about various sources of research information including the World Wide Web, which they will use to complete home assignments. They will also use SPSS for Windows to do some simple description and cross tabulation of data from the General Social Survey.

The textbook for the course is Russell K. Schutt, Investigating the Social World. 6th edition, and it is available at UCSD Bookstore and on reserve at the Library.  


Your grade for this class is


The 3 assignments @ 15% each  45%
Midterm 25%
Final 30%



The midterm and the final are both closed book. You can, however, bring a single sheet with your hand written notes (cannot be printed or photocopied) to refresh your memory. The sheet cannot be larger than letter size (81/2X 11 inches) and you may write only on one side. You must write your name on the other side. If you use such a sheet you will have to hand it in with your exam. I will not return it.

The midterm and the final will have some questions lifted directly from the interactive exercises so I strongly encourage you to look at them.

The assignments, just as the exams, must reflect your own effort. You may discuss the assignment with others, but you must complete it by yourself (i.e., you must do all the computer work yourself and must form and write your answers by yourself). Because we have such a short time, no late assignments will be credited and no make up exams will be scheduled except in cases of extraordinary and documented emergency. All assignments have to be typed and stapled, with pages numbered.



The course has a Web site


where you will find this syllabus and all three assignments. You just have to click on

Assignment 1

Assignment 2

Assignment 3




Aug 5


Science, Society and Social Research

The Process and Problems of Social Research


Reading: Schutt. Ch. 1,3


Lecture notes #1


Aug 7


Theories and Philosophies for Social Research

Conceptualization and Measurement I.

Reading: Schutt. Ch. 2, 4


Lecture notes #2


Aug 12

Conceptualization and Measurement II.

Reading: Schutt. Ch. 4

First assignment due


Lecture notes #3


Aug 14


Reading: Schutt. Ch. 5.

Slides for sampling


Link to a site demonstrating sampling distributions


  Lecture notes #4


Aug 19

Causation and Research Design

Experiments and Quasi-Experiments

Reading: Schutt. Ch. 6, 7.


Lecture notes #5a


Lecture notes #5b


Aug 21


Second assignment is due


Aug 26

Survey Research  and Qualitative Methods

Reading: Schutt. Ch. 8,9


Lecture notes #6a


Lecture notes #6b


Lecture notes #6c


Aug 28


Historical and Comparative Methods

Data Analysis I

Reading: Schutt. Ch.  12, 14


Lecture notes #7


For slides on  Central Tendency Measures, Measures of Variation and Measures of Relationship/Association click here


For slides on the Lie Factor click here


Sept 2

Data Analysis II

Reading: Schutt. Ch. 14


Lecture notes #8

Sept  4

Data Analysis III
Reporting Research


Reading: Schutt. Ch. 15

  Lecture notes #9

Lecture notes #10

Sept  6   Saturday 

Third assignment is due at the final



  3:00 - 5:59 

Place: HSS 2305B