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SOCI 4510 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SOCI 4510 - Introduction to Social Research

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Social research is the foundation for the scientific understanding of social phenomena. This course introduces students to the theory and methods of social research. Although the course content focuses on sociology, the research methodology covered in this course is applicable to other social science disciplines (and science in general). Students can expect to learn the entire process for conducting scientific research and evaluating research conducted by other researchers. Course activities involve library research (this can be accomplished on-line), practical assignments that lead to the development of research skills and a research proposal, and participation in discussion groups to practice research communication skills.

Course Outcomes:

The primary objective of this course is to give students the skills needed to design research projects to answer questions about social phenomena and to evaluate the research that others have conducted. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to design research projects to: 1) examine a variety of social science topics concerning group/individual attitudes and behavior, and 2) evaluate the effectiveness of groups, programs, and organizations.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Course prerequisites include Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, or other social science. Some background in social statistics is suggested. An introductory social science course (preferably Sociology) is an important prerequisite because it introduces social research subject matter, and the theoretical perspectives and research techniques used in social research. An understanding of social statistics will help students better understand and critique existing social science research.

Course Topics:

Topics covered in this course include the meaning of social science, selecting an appropriate research topic, reviewing and critiquing research, formulating hypotheses, developing a study design and sampling plan, data collection techniques, data analysis, and technical writing.

Specific Course Requirements:

Students should be proficient in the use of a word processor for completing course assignments and paper in Microsoft Word format, and an Internet browser for accessing the course and surfing the Internet, such as Netscape or Microsoft Explorer.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Students are required to complete three timed online examinations that may consist of any combination of multiple choice, true or false, short answer, and essay questions. Each examination will last between 30- 60 minutes and can be attempted once. Students will also need to complete 6 short quizzes that cover the material in 6 of the assigned chapters. Each quiz will last for 7 minutes and may be attempted up to 3 times (the highest score will count toward the final course grade) with a 5 hour mandatory study period between attempts. Quizzes and examination are designed to assess how well you have LEARNED the covered material. Therefore, all quizzes and examinations are CLOSED BOOK & NOTES. 

Grading Procedures:

Assignments, exams. paper, and class participation and quizzes will be used to assess the expected learning outcomes. Students will be evaluated against a class norm (average). High achievement in this course is performance that is significantly better than the class average.

10 assignments @ 10 points each 100

3 exams. @ 100 points each 300

1 paper @ 100 points 100

Class Participation 

10 Weekly Discussions quota @

10 points per week. 100

6 Chapter quizzes @ 10 point each 60

TOTAL 660 points 

Grading Scale:





below 396---F

Assignments and Projects:

ASSIGNMENTS: 1) Research Tools, Scientific Process; 2) Study Purpose and Selecting a Research Topic; 3) Grounding Research in Theory; 4) Reviewing Literature. 5)Research Questions and Hypotheses; 6) Conceptualizing and Operationalizing Variables; 7) Sampling Plan; 8) Experimental Research Design; 9) Questionnaire Construction; 10) Data Analysis Plan: Selecting Appropriate Statistics. The ten (10) required assignments illustrate different steps in the scientific research process. They are designed to help students understand, and develop skills in, each of these steps. In addition, the ten assignments together will form the skeleton of the research proposal-the paper project. Therefore, students should treat each assignment as leading to this final paper. Hints for revising assignments for inclusion as sections of the research proposal include: 1) Use comments from instructor's evaluation of assignments to improve on that step of the research process; 2) add additional support from the research literature for arguments, ideas and decisions expressed in assignments; and 3) rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite to improve the presentation of ideas. PROJECT: A 7-10 page paper that is a Research Proposal to study the topic developed throughout the semester via the 10 weekly assignments.

Class Participation:

Students must use the bulletin board to participation in "class discussions". Class discussions are important for developing familiarity with research concepts and the language of social science research. To facilitate learning of social research concepts and language, students are required to post messages based on assigned readings and information learned from reviewing published research articles. To receive full credit for class participation, students must contribute a minimum of 3 questions, insights, or answers to classmates' questions each week. Posts to the bulletin board must reference/discuss specific theories, findings or methods of social science research, and must reference the relevant chapter and/or source(s) to count toward class participation points.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017