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Research Methods

SPRING 2006 MW, 2:00 p.m. -3:15 p.m.

CJS / PA / SOC 3304

Dr. Karen L. Hayslett-McCall Office: GR 3.210 Office Hours: M 12:30pm – 1:30pm (or by appt.) Office Telephone: (972) 883-4767 E-mail addresses: Teaching Assistant: Virginia Carver Office: Office Hours: E-mail address: • Virginia will also be checking and responding to all the e-mail addressed to me on WebCT. Course Description/Objectives: • The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the concepts and techniques used to define research questions and to structure an appropriate research design to answer these questions. Topics will include the connection between theory and research design, variable measurement, sampling, the differences between experimental and non-experimental designs, data analysis, and the social context of scientific research. Research methods are used to develop and organize data before the application of statistical techniques; therefore, no prior knowledge of statistics is required for this course. Special Note Regarding this Semester: • The rhythm of taking collegiate level course work can be very demanding. I like to remind everyone that regular effort is important on your part to keep up with the assigned reading, etc. – especially when the class only meets once a week. If you expect to get information out of class, you must come to class having read the required materials for the assigned day. Attendance: • Students are expected to be diligent in the pursuit of their studies and regular in their class attendance. Students have the responsibility of making arrangements satisfactory to the instructor regarding absences on test days and when homework is due. Such arrangement MUST be made prior to the absence if possible. THERE WILL BE NO MAKEUP QUIZZES OR EXAMS. • Attendance during presentations, videos, and guest speakers is mandatory, the cost of missing one without a university excused absence is a zero on the points assigned for that day.

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Under no circumstances will I (or any of my TA’s or the supplemental instructor) provide notes for students missing class. I suggest that you find 2 or 3 people in the class that you can contact about notes in case of emergency. I will post information from in-class discussion on WebCT. This syllabus is TENTATIVE. The scheduled readings, videos, speakers, etc. can change at any time. Changes will be posted on WebCT and announced in class. YOU are responsible for regularly checking when assignments are due. As we meet once a week, 1 missed class is a week’s worth of missed classes.

Requirements: • Texts: The Practice of Social Research (10th Edition): Earl Babbie. • Examinations: There will be three midterm exams in this course, and one cumulative make-up final. • The exams for this course will comprise of some combination of multiple choice, short answer, and short essay. NO make-up exams will be given. Failure to take an exam will result in a zero grade (unless you have been granted permission from the instructor PRIOR to the exam OR HAVE DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF ILLNESS, etc.). THERE WILL BE NO MAKE-UP EXAMS. Exams are scheduled well in advance so that you can plan around these dates. If you miss one of the midterm exams, you must take the final. If you miss more than one exam, you will receive a zero for the additional missed exam. • There are ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule. If you chose not to take the first exam because it is raining, and you wreck your car on the way to the second exam, you will receive a zero for one of you mid-term exams. If you have the bubonic plague for the first exam and have a relapse for the third, you will receive a zero. I must caution that this make-up final is CUMULATIVE, and it WILL NOT BE EASY. I highly recommend making sure that your schedule is such that you can attend classes during the regular exams. Taking this exam can either RAISE or LOWER your grade.

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Once you sit for any exam, you will receive a grade for that exam. There are no exceptions. Once the first person taking the test leaves the room, students that come late are no longer eligible to sit for that exam. Bring picture identification to each exam (including the cumulative makeup final). Failure to bring a picture ID to class will prevent you from taking an exam and you will have to take the make-up cumulative final exam. Exam questions will be taken from lecture and the text. You will find daily attendance and note-taking to be helpful in exam preparation. The fourth mid-term Exam will include an essay that can potentially reflect material that is presented throughout this course (i.e., one

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cumulative question asking you to tie together what you have learned in the course). Keeping track of your notes and outlining the readings is helpful for students when they prepare for an exam. In-Class Writing Assignments: These writings will be conducted on unannounced days, and will reflect the reading materials for that day. There will be NO make-up writing assignments and no exceptions to this rule. WebCT Assignments and Quizzes: These quizzes will be put on WebCT to be taken outside of class. These may or may not be announced in class. I will post them via WebCT and YOU are responsible for checking regularly these will reflect the reading materials that are going to be covered in class shortly after the on-line availability of the quiz. There will be NO make-up WebCT assignments and quizzes. There will be no exceptions to this rule. In addition to quizzes, there will be WebCT assignments. The first assignment will be to check into the course. You will receive 5 points for doing so by the assigned date and time. Extra Credit: I do not make extra credit assignments. In order to be fair, extra credit must be available to the entire class. Also, some form of weighting must be applied so as to not penalize those not attempting the extra credit assignment. Extra credit implies that the course is graded on a 100 point scale and presents the opportunities to earn >100 Points. The potential for misunderstandings and student perceptions of unfair treatment are very high. We will avoid this problem and simply not have extra credit assignments.

Evaluation: Exam 1: 100 points Exam 2: 100 points Exam 3: 100 points Research Project 100 points In-class writing assignments, WebCT assignments, etc. (as assigned) o For example – If I give an in-class assignment worth 10 points, then that 10 points counts toward the final number of points available in that class (i.e., it figures into the denominator). So, if I earn 8/10 points, I add the 8 points to the number of points that I have earned in the class (the numerator), and I add the 10 points to the number of points possible in the class (the denominator). GRADES WILL BE POSTED ON WebCT. I do keep permanent records, but YOU are responsible for keeping track of how you do in this class. Please write down your scores on all assignments, as well as the total number of points that are available for that assignment. Remember -- a review of grades can go both ways. Final grades will be awarded according to the following percentage scale: A+: 100 and above B+: 87-89 C+: 77-79 D: 60-69 A: 94 and above B: 84-86 C: 74-76 F: 59 and below A-: 90-93 B-: 80-83 C-: 70-73 • • Grade Rounding: I DO NOT round grades. Thus, in order to achieve an A you must have achieved a 94 in the class (93.5 is NOT an A, but rather it is an A-). Grades are EARNED: I do not GIVE grades, students earn them. It is important that you take responsibility from the very onset of all of your classes for learning the material and doing your best on each and every assignment or exam.

Review of grades: I will assign your final grade according to what you have earned in the course. If you wish to contest a grade, you must follow. Academic Integrity: • Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic Dishonesty: • This includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarizing (including the failure to properly cite sources), fabrication of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonest of others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. • Violations of academic integrity will be reported to the Dean of Students. • ANOTHER NOTE ON PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism will not be tolerated and any instances will be immediately referred to the Dean of Students. I AM SERIOUS! Unfortunately, I have found that students are often unfamiliar with what constitutes plagiarism. The Student Life Office at UTD includes a definition on its website: “To submit to your instructor a paper or comparable assignment that is not truly the product of your own mind and skill is to commit plagiarism. To put it bluntly, plagiarism is the act of stealing the ideas and/or expression of another and representing them as your own”

Now, there are multiple ways to steal someone else’s ideas. Stephen Wilhoit in his article entitled, “Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism,” lists several forms of plagiarism (College Teaching, v 42 (Fall 1994): 161-164): • Buying or lifting a paper, or any portion of a paper, off the internet. • Turning in a paper written by a fellow student, with or without her knowledge. • Copying information directly from a source without providing documentation (i.e., without a citation explaining where you got the information). Keep in mind that changing the order of the sentence or replacing a few words does not make the sentence yours! • Copying information directly from a source and providing a citation, but not putting the copied material in quotations, even if you cited the author. • Putting the source’s information in your own words, but without providing a citation. Even if they are your words, the ideas were the author’s. As a general rule, any information that you gathered by reading a source (i.e., information you did not know previously) must be cited! Disability Services: • We have an excellent Disability Services office on campus. If you require special accommodations, please make sure you go and see them immediately if you have not already done so. • The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to providing educational opportunities for all persons. If you anticipate needing accommodations for learning differences, please let me know. If you require accommodations, please make sure that you are properly registered with the Disabilities Services Office (972) 883-2070. • If you have a condition that requires accommodation in this course, please speak with me after class or in office hours during the first week of class. I will be

happy to make appropriate accommodations provided timely notice is received and the arrangement is consistent with any recommendations from Disability Services, when applicable.

Tentative Class Schedule:
Changes may be made to this schedule. I will announce changes in class and/or will post information on WebCT. YOU are responsible for all changes (e.g., reading assignments, assignment deadlines, etc.). DATE Jan 9 Jan 11 Jan 16 Jan 18 Jan 23 Jan 25 Feb 1 Feb 6 Feb 8 Feb 13 Feb 13 Feb 15 Feb 20 Feb 22 Feb 27 March 1 March 6-11 March 13 March 15 March 20 March 22 March 27 March 29 April 3 April 5 April 10 April 12 April 17 TOPIC (Read BEFORE Class) Orientation; Chapter 1: Human Inquiry and Science NO CLASS – In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research Chapter 3: The Ethics and Politics of Social Research OBSERVATION PROJECT TOPIC DISCUSSION Chapter 6: Indexes, Scales and Typologies Catch-up Class/ Exam I Review/ GROUP ASSIGNMENT/PART A RECEIVED/DUE EXAM I - Chapters 1 - 6 Chapter 7: The Logic of Sampling PART A RETURNED/PART B RECEIVED/DUE (Operationalization) Chapter 8: Experiments Chapter 9: Survey Research Chapter 10: Qualitative Field Research Chapter 11: Unobtrusive Research Catch-up Class/ Exam II Review SPRING BREAK – NO CLASSES EXAM II – Chapters 7 - 11 Chapter 12: Evaluation Research Chapter 13: Qualitative Data Analysis PART C RETURNED/TYPE UP CORRECTIONS/MAKE COPIES CORRECTIONS/COPIES DUE/ DATA COLLECTION PART D RECEIVED/DUE (Data Analysis) Chapter 14: Quantitative Data Analysis Chapter 15: Elaboration Model Chapter 16: Social Statistics PART D RETURNED/PART E RECEIVED (Presenting Results) In-Class OVERVIEW OF OBSERVATION PROJECTS [Must Bring All Parts] In-Class OVERVIEW OF OBSERVATION PROJECTS [Must Bring All

April 19 April 24 TBA

Parts] Catch-up Class/ Exam III Review EXAM III – Chapters 12 – 16 Final Exam Week is April 25th – May 1st (This will be used only for students needing to take the make-up final exam)