Research Methods in Social Science II
Lecturer: Dr. Noam Fischman
Course Type: Required Intro, B.A.Year: Second
Credit hours: 1.5 annual (one semester, 3 hours) – Fall 2016/Spring 2017
Office Hours: After Class and by appointment
Office phone: -----
A. General and Specific Goals of the Course and its Rationale
This course describes the methods used in social science research. You will be guided through theory development, hypothesis testing, study design, data analysis, interpretation and dissemination of results. You will be required to conduct a literature review, to think critically and practically about social science research, to propose and conduct an original study, and to write a research paper.
- To offer the basics on how to conduct social science research
- To provide guidance on how to properly interpret the results from research in all areas of science and social science (In a word: cautiously!).
- To promote class discussion and debate.
B. Course Components
Cozby, P.C. & Bates, S.C. (2014). Methods in Behavioral Research, 12th ed. McGraw Hill.
150.72 COZ m11 (2361080) – 11thed.,2012
Supplemental Readings will be assigned throughout the semester and will serve as the basis for the final exam. They will consist of mostly journal articles. It will be your task to think critically about the study designs and results as described in the articles.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
- Association for Psychological Science (APS):
You will be quizzed on selected text book chapters. There will be between 3-6 quizzes during the semester. These quizzes will be unannounced. The lowest quiz grade (including 0’s for absences) will be dropped. The remaining 2-5 quizzes will be worth a total of 15%.
Article Presentations and Discussions (10%):
Every week we will discuss at least one research article that was selected by me or by the class during the first two weeks of the semester. During most weeks, a student (or a small group of students) will present an article to the class, and a class discussion will follow. The presentations should include the following:
- Very brief review of the theory
- Hypotheses being tested
- Review of the methodology
- Review of the results
- Constructive criticism of the methodology and interpretation of the results
30-45 minutes will be allocated during each class for the presentation and discussion. The presentations should be 15-20 minutes with class discussions to follow. You are required to use PowerPoint (or a similar presentation application) to put together the presentation.
In the event you do not present effectively, your grade can be bolstered dramatically by the quality of your preparation materials (powerpoint, outline and lecture notes). Your talk should include visual aids, such as charts, tables, relevant pictures etc.. You may also want to include a little humor be it a joke, cute picture, or cartoon. References should also be provided for all relevant cited work.
Each student is expected to present (at least) one article per semester. If there are more than 15 students in the class, at least some group presentations will be permitted.
Semester II Final Exam:
The Final exam will include short answer and/or multiple choice questions that relate to the supplemental reading assignments, in class assignments, and to the issues discussed in class.
Expanded Study (20%):
You will revise and expand on your pilot study from last semester and recruit a significantly larger sample. Like last semester, your study can be a survey, field study or lab experiment, and can be done in groups (up to 3 per group). Every two weeks or so, you (or your team) will update the class on the progress of your study with a brief presentation during “lab meetings”:
- Early in the semester: Proposed changes and extensions to the study
- Mid semester: Progress in recruiting participants and preliminary results
- Late semester: Final presentations of your study rationale, methods, findings and implications
You can also request assistance from the class with problems that you are dealing with in your research. This can include issues related to improving the study design, increasing participation, data analysis, and or how to present the findings.
Feel free to ask me questions about the pilot study as you are putting it together.
Research Paper (20%):
You (or your team) will write a research paper in APA style..
The paper should include the following sections:
- Abstract: summarizes all the essential elements of the study in a page or (preferably) less.
- Introduction: A literature review that introduces the rationale behind your study and how it can advance our understanding of the topic. You must provide the theory and hypotheses that your study is assessing. This section typically ends with the hypothesis (or hypotheses).
- Methods: You must operationally define all of the important constructs being measured and define in detail the protocol for your study. The Methods section should include these sub-sections:
- Participants: Define your study population. Then describe the study sample of participants, and how they were recruited.
- Materials (or Measures): Lists all equipment, questionnaires and other materials that you used in your study
- Procedure: A detailed description of the study protocol from start to finish.
- Results: Describe your basic findings. Then review your hypotheses and the results from the statistical tests used to test them.
- Discussion: Discuss the significance of your study, its strengths and weaknesses, and possible extensions. You should also discuss possible applications of the study findings.
You will be expected to research your selected topic thoroughly and to promote a particular theory or viewpoint. You must present supporting and opposing views and attempt to present a persuasive argument for your viewpoint, and for the rationale of your study. While there is some room for your own opinions, you are better served to refer to the literature in supporting your arguments rather than your own intuitions and insights.
The paper should be somewhere between 8-12 pages with at least 10 references from peer reviewed journal articles. Websites, newspaper articles, and other non-peer reviewed sources can be used, but are not counted as one of the 10 minimum peer reviewed references.
Class assignments and class participation (10%):
Class participation, effort and performance on in class lab assignments will determine 10% of your grade.
C. Final Grade Calculation
Quizzes (15%) + Article Presentation (10%) + Semester I Final (25%) + Pilot Study Presentations & Paper (40%) + Lab assignments and class participation (10%)
Tips For Success:
Familiarity with the textbook is necessary for success on the quizzes. Familiarity with both the textbook and supplemental readings is necessary for success on the final exam. Success on the pilot study requires planning and preparation along with thoughtful analysis, and an eye for details.
- On 3/20 you will select an article to present to the class during the semester.
- On 3/27 you will select a deadline for the article presentation and for the research paper draft submission. You can opt to abide by the deadlines for the paper as suggested by the syllabus, or you can change them. Significant penalties will apply if you submit the paper after the selected deadline. On the other hand, the earlier you submit the paper, the more opportunities you will have to receive feedback, and to revise and improve your paper.
D. Course Schedule & Bibliography
#=Session Number/ SR#=Supplementary Reading Assignment Number# / Date / Lecture Topic / SR# / Text Book Chapter / Lab Activity
1 / 3/20 / Conducting Experiments + Replication Initiatives: Success? / 1-2 / 9 / Selection Monday 1: Articles for presentations
2 / 3/27 / Complex Experimental Design / 3-6 / 10 / Selection Monday 2: Deadlines + Researching Charities
3 / 4/3 / Single Case, Quasi-Experimental, and Developmental Research / 7 / 11 / Lab Meeting 1: Changes to design and measures
4 / 4/24 / Description and Correlation / 8 / 12 / Lab Meeting 2: Progress report
-- / 5/1 / Yom Hazikaron --- No class
5 / 5/8 / Statistical Inference
Chi square, t-tests, ANOVA / 9 / 13 / Intro + Methods Peer Review
6 / 5/15 / Generalization / 10 / 14 / Intro + Methods Due;
Lab Meeting 3: Progress report
7 / 5/22 / Ethics / 11 / 3 / Exercise
8 / 5/29 / Policy Research and Program Evaluation / 12 / -- / Lab Meeting 4: Progress Report
9 / 6/5 / Contemporary ethical and methodological issues + Presentations / 13 / -- / Lab Meeting 5: Results
10 / 6/12 / Presentations / 14 / -- / Results + Discussion Peer Review
11 / 6/19 / Review for Final + Presentations / -- / -- / Results + Discussion Due;
Abstract Peer Review
12 / 6/26 / Review for Final + Presentations / -- / -- / Final Draft Due
Revised Paper due 1 week after its returned to you; Final Exam: TBA
Supplemental Reading List
Suggested Article Pool for Selection Monday
(You can replace any or all of these with articles of your own choosing)
Open Science Collaboration (2015). Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science. Science, 349(6251), 943.
Brescoll & LaFrance (2004). The correlates and consequences of newspaper reports of research on sex differences. Psychological Science,15(8), 515-520.
Simcock, G. & Hayne, H. (2002). Breaking the barrier: Children fail to translate their preverbal memories into language. Psychological Science13(3), 225-31
The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence.from New York City (2012). --- Executive Summary only
Politics, Policy & (Social) Science
Kassin et al. (2011(.Confessions that corrupt: Evidence from the DNA Exoneration Case Fies. Psychological Science, 23(1), 41-45.
Oishi, Schimmack & Diener (2012). Progressive taxation and the subjective well being of nations. Psychological Science, 23(1), 86-92.
Beckman, M. (2004). Crime, culpability, and the adolescent brain. Science, 305, 596-599.
Chetty, R. et al.. (2015). The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment.
Contemporary ethical and methodological issues
News Focus: Shaking Up Science. Science, 339, 386-389.
King. (2011). Ensuring the data-rich future of the social sciences. Science, 331, 719-721.
Butz. (2006). Some frontiers in social science. Science, 312, 1898-1890.