Course Description

This course is designed to guide students in the process of designing a research project that will become their senior capstone project. Through this process students will learn to develop a sociological research question from a topic of interest, to find and review the existing sociological literature about a chosen topic, and to develop a methodological approach that enables the student to answer the chosen research question. Furthermore, students will be required to review the ethical standards for research set by the American Sociological Association and Pacific University and ensure that their research project adhere to those standards. The projects developed by students in this class should be related to one of the core themes of Pacific University's Sociology Department's curriculum: Intersectionality, Identity, Social Control, and Social Power.


This course meets on Tuesdays from 1:00-2:05 PM in Carnegie 205.

Instructor Information

Daniel B. Eisen, PhD

Office Location: Carnegie 201

Email: deisen@pacificu.edu

Office Hours: Schedule an Appointment


How to Use Scheduling Site:


1. Click on the link above or visit daniel-eisen.youcanbook.me


2. Locate the date and time that you would like to book an appointment. All available meeting times are highlighted and additional availabilities will be added on a weekly basis.


3. Click on the desired time for a meeting and provide your name and email address. In the "reason for meeting" field provide a short description for the meeting.


4. Click "confirm booking," which will generate a confirmation email to both you and me. This confirmation email will contain a link that will allow you to reschedule or cancel a meeting if needed.


**If none of the available times work for you or the scheduling site is now working, feel free to send me an email or drop by my office.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students who have been full participants in the course should be able to:


1. Construct a sociological research question that is appropriate for an undergraduate sociology research project.


2. Locate existing sociological literature related to a topic through a variety of techniques (natural language searches, keyword/subject term searches) and platforms (google scholar, library databases, web of science).


3. Assess the scholarly merit of existing literature, effectively read and understand the content of scholarly work, and synthesize scholarly working into a singly narrative describing a field of research.


4. Develop a research project that adheres to ethical standards set by the American Sociological Association and Pacific University.


5. Develop and demonstrate a more thorough understanding of at least one core theme of the sociology curriculum at Pacific University: Intersectionality, Identity, Social Power, Social Control.

Required Texts/Materials

Students are not required to purchase any texts for this course. All required readings are provided below in the course schedule. Since students will be designing independent projects in this class, each student's reading list will vary. Students are expected to develop an annotated reading list of at least 25 sources throughout this course.


Students should use an bibliographic citation software package to organize, annotate, and store various sources that will be used through the student's senior capstone project. All students have access to a free RefWorks account through the Pacific University Libraries. Students can create an account at the following link: http://www.refworks.com/refworks2/?groupcode=RWPacificU


Students are also required to use a google doc for their work throughout the semester. A link to a google doc will be shared with each student during the first week of the semester. The linked google doc is where students should complete their daily writing and assignments unless otherwise noted.


IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Assignments

Attendance and Participation: Students are expected to regularly attend class and actively contribute to class discussions, activities, and workshops. In doing so, students will develop stronger research projects and help other students develop their research projects.


Presentations: Students are required to give two formal presentations in this class. The first presentation occurs in March and will require students to explain their research question and how it is situated in the field of sociology. The second presentation will occur during finals week and students will require students to outline their research methodology and justify it within the context of the field of sociology.


Weekly Writing Prompts: Daily writing increases individuals written productivity, creativity, and ability to manage a large research project. Therefore, students will engage in daily writing throughout this course. This writing will be guided by weekly prompts that are due on Fridays.


Literature Review: Students will be required to complete a literature review that integrates the findings from existing sociological literature. The weekly writing prompts will help students craft this document.

Grading

This course is a Pass/Fail class. Therefore, students will earn a "Pass" grade if the complete all of the following:


1. Attend the vast majority of class sessions.

2. Actively participate in class discussions, activities, and workshops.


3. Complete the vast majority of weekly writing prompts on time.


4. Develop a sociological research question that is situated within the sociological literature.


5. Deliver two formal presentations that meet or exceed the minimum expectations as described in the following rubric.


6. Complete a literature review of existing sociological literature related to the chosen research question.


7. Complete the Sociology Senior Capstone Proposal Form.

Course Schedule

January 31: An Overview of the Sociology Capstone Project

Writing Prompt

What are the two things that interest you the most about sociology? Why are you interested in these things?


Readings

Insights of the Life: http://web.pdx.edu/~tothm/essays/essays/insights_of_the_life.htm

Public Sociology in the Age of Obama: http://burawoy.berkeley.edu/PS/Obama.pdf

February 7: Choosing a Topic (Guest Speakers)

Writing Prompt

What area am I most interested in? What do I already know about this area? What things am I unclear about? How can I apply the things that most interest me about sociology to these areas?


Readings

ASA Code of Ethics (Introduction, Preamble, General Principles, and Ethical Stands 1, 2, and 3): http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/code_of_ethics.pdf

Doing Qualitative Research, “Selecting a Topic”

February 14: Natural Language Searches & Reading Articles

Writing Prompt

How is my understanding of the topic area developing? What topics, phrase, or terms are consistently being discussed in the sources I am finding?


Readings

Finding Online Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33lvmShrcOU

Finding Information: https://pacificu.box.com/s/oxa65hq69wxhkt32g0arlixf2pvc4amu

How to (seriously) read a scientific paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/03/how-seriously-read-scientific-paper

Reading Journal Articles: https://www.brockport.edu/academics/sociology/journal.html

February 21: Keywords, Subject Headings, & Web of Science (Guest Speaker)

Writing Prompt

How is my understanding of the topic area developing? What are two issues that I could focus on within this topic? Why do these topics interest me? How do these issues relate to the two things that interest me the most about sociology?


Readings

Finding Information: https://pacificu.box.com/s/oxa65hq69wxhkt32g0arlixf2pvc4amu

What is a Subject Heading?: https://beryliveylibrary.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/subject-headings/

How do I use Subject Headings?: https://beryliveylibrary.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/how-do-i-use-subject-headings/

February 28: Writing a Literature Review & Building Scholarly Networks

Writing Prompt

How is my understanding of the topic area developing? How did my meeting with faculty and colleagues influence my understanding of the topic area?


Readings

The First Few Pages/The Literature Review:
https://pacificu.box.com/s/rtbz6osdyko13tutmx8qi08p67ed8y4o

Constructing a Research Paper: https://pacificu.box.com/s/nztpjkm9onxhivnqhmy1b461vbyb2grx

Literature Reviews: https://pacificu.box.com/s/1jkpcmtk1iur8b9xeyv4aydtzm81ynxi


Suggestions for Faculty Connections

Dr. Aaron Greer, Anthropology: Carribean, Colonialisms, Marxism, Post-Structuralism, Hindu Diaspora, Black Atlantic

Dr. Jessica Hardin, Anthropology: Gender, Christianity/Religion, Body, Health and Medicine, Pacific Islanders

Dr. Adam Rafalovich, Sociology: Medical Sociology, Deviance, Self and Identity, Goffman, Heavy Metal, Sociology of Accounts.

Dr. Taryn VanderPyl, Criminal Justice, Law & Society: Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, Mixed Methods

Dr. Jaye Cee Whitehead, Sociology: Gender & Sexuality, Family, Neoliberalism, Culture, Theory


March 7: Choosing an Audience & Developing a Research Question

Writing Prompt

What is my research question? How is it sociological? Who am I writing my thesis for? [If I could hand my thesis to one person/group of people and have it change the way they think about the world, who would that group be? Why?] How does my audience change the way I phrase my research question?


Readings

Research Questions and Hypotheses: https://pacificu.box.com/s/xsqkkmptle2acmy6y48bjnwwu4yav7nx

March 14 and 21: Research Question Formal Presentation

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for these weeks should be focused on drafting a literature review.


Readings

Readings will be unique to each student's individual project.


Presentation Description


Grading Rubric

March 28: Ethics and Developing a Methodology

Writing Prompt

What type of information do I need to answer my research question? Is it possible to get this type of information? How can I develop an ethical approach to obtaining and using this information?


Readings

ASA Code of Ethics (Research Planning, Implementation, and Dissemination, Adherence to Code of Ethics): http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/code_of_ethics.pdf

April 4: Methodology as Marginalization

Writing Prompt

Does my proposed methodology collect data in a way that is sensitive to cultural contexts? Does my proposed methodology truly capture the lived experiences of those being studied? Does my proposed methodology inadvertently reinforce systems of marginalization? What can I do to counteract these processes of marginalization?


Readings

Demarginalizing Voices

White Logic, White Methods

April 11: Ethics and Research

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should focus on completing IRB proposal/notification of research activities documents.


Readings

ASA Code of Ethics (Public Communications, Confidentiality, Informed Consent): http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/code_of_ethics.pdf

April 18: Individual Student Meetings

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should be focused on completing the Senior Capstone Proposal Form, revising literature review section or IRB proposal form.


Readings

Readings will be unique to each student's individual project.

April 25: No Class Meeting

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should be focused on completing the Senior Capstone Proposal Form, revising literature review section or IRB proposal form.


Class will not meet today. Instead, student are required to attend at least three (3) sociology presentations on senior project days (April 26).

May 2: Peer Review of Capstone Proposals

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should be focused on completing the Senior Capstone Proposal Form, revising literature review section or IRB proposal form.


Readings

Readings will be unique to each student's individual project.

May 9: Giving a Good Presentation

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should be focused on completing the Senior Capstone Proposal Form and developing the final presentation for the course.


Readings

Readings will be unique to each student's individual project.

Final Exams Week: Final Presentations

Writing Prompt

Daily writing for this week should be focused on completing the Senior Capstone Proposal Form if it is not already completed.


Readings

Readings will be unique to each student's individual project.

Additional Course Policies

Additional course policies (e.g., attendance policy, late assignment policy) that are standard across all of Dr. Eisen's course can be found at the following site: daniel-eisen.populr.me/coursepolicies. Please review the information, as it provides information about important course policies as well as links to various resources to support students.

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