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Regular version of the site

Research Seminar “Methods of Analytical Sociology”

2020/2021
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
10
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
When:
2 year, 1-4 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The current discipline is based on the courses “Contemporary Sociological Theory” and “Methodology and Research Methods in Sociology”. It provides students with material necessary to write master theses or term papers. Participants of the research seminar will receive professional guidance while choosing a topic of future research, acquire academic skills (preparing and conducting research, writing academic articles), discuss their projects, train their skills of scientific debate and research presentation, and learn how to choose research design and methods based on the practical examples. This course uses the following classroom exercises and activities: case analysis; discussions; work in small groups; meetings with practicing researchers.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To develop students’ competences and professional skills necessary for conducting independent research.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • organize the work of a research group
  • formulate a research problem
  • reflect on sociological work
  • independently determine a dataset sufficient to state particular scientific and ethical problems
  • use the language and concepts from philosophy, social and human sciences to solve interdisciplinary research problems
  • identify the needs of social groups and include them in the description of the research problem
  • demonstrate knowledge of the rules of sociological research
  • demonstrate knowledge of the ethical norms of sociological research and follow them in their work
  • conduct own sociological research projects
  • apply methods of sociological research independently
  • collect and interpret data on particular research problems
  • carry out work that meets the technological requirements and professional standards
  • present their research project
  • conceptualize collected data in their research project
  • adjust the research program, suggest their own methods of data collection or analysis
  • formulate a problem and find ways to solve it
  • successfully apply methods of sociological research in their research project
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Topic 1. The Principles of Analytical Sociology
    1) Research design in analytical sociology. 2) Principles of validity and replicability. 3) Modelling in social sciences: goals, opportunities, and limitations. 4) Research cycle: generation of the research question, data collection, selection of variables, and relevant methods of analysis, writing an article.
  • Topic 2. Organizing Research in Analytical Sociology
    1) Work organization on the seminar. 2) Specifics of organizing a study. 3) Choice of a research topic. 4) Outlining the work plan for a year. 5) Paper/thesis structure.
  • Topic 3. Approaches to Studying Literature and Strategies of Writing Literature Review
    1) Purposes and types of literature reviews. 2) Basics of discourse analysis. 3) Academic databases. Search strategies. Automated approaches. 4) Operationalization of the main concepts and formulating hypotheses.
  • Topic 4. Systematic and Methodological Principles of Sociological Research
    1) Specifics of the theoretical framework of a study. 2) Conceptual definition and practical strategies of its construction. 3) Relation between different research stages. 4) Data sources in social sciences.
  • Topic 5. Data: Search, Collection, Primary Processing
    1) Existing databases and how to work with it. 2) Data collection, cleansing, and restructuring. Working with incomplete data. Integration of data from various sources. 3) Storage of the research data, shared work with data.
  • Topic 6. Description of Results and Criteria for Its Validity Evaluation
    1) Methodological principles of data analysis in sociology. 2) Data analysis objectives. 3) Main requirements for methods’ description in sociology. 4) Criteria for judging the validity of applied research methods.
  • Topic 7. Visualization of the Research Outcomes
    1) Principles of the visualization of research outcomes. 2) Usage of R and Python tools to present results (visualization, statistical tables, and presentation): Rmarkdown, Sweave, etc. 3) Selection of suitable visuals for the research.
  • Topic 8. Presentation of Research Outcomes
    1) Principles of the presentation of research findings. 2) Selection of the findings that need to be demonstrated in the study. 3) Importance of the obtained results for existing research.
  • Topic 9. Interpretation of the Findings
    1) Interpretation of the findings and their relation to the research hypotheses. 2) Ethical aspects of the description and presentation of the results. “Open science” concept. 3) Rejected hypotheses: strategies for the presentation of negative results.
  • Topic 10. Evaluation of the Significance and Limitations of Research Findings
    1) Generalization and representation of the results. 2) Connection of the findings with the theoretical background of the research field. 3) Analysis of limitations and conclusions reached in a study.
  • Topics 11. From the Primary Interpretation to Sociological Conclusion
    1) Approaches to the interpretation of sociological data. 2) Interpretation procedure. 3) Reaching sociological conclusions from the primary interpretation. 4) Generalization of the outcomes, existing limitations.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Class participation
  • non-blocking Reviewing presentations of other students
    Students of the first year of study should choose a topic of interest, search for materials on it on the Internet and at the library, and then comment on and evaluate the corresponding report, naming its strengths and pointing out which aspects remained uncovered. Everyone should prepare a review. Topics can be chosen but only if the students react promptly: more than four reviews on one topic are not allowed (or even more than three, if there are no more than twelve first-year students).
  • non-blocking Project presentation
    1st module
  • non-blocking Defense of the research project design and literature review
    End of the 2nd module
  • non-blocking Homework assignments
    Homework includes preparation for the class: reading academic articles and doing presentations; completing practical assignments related to data analysis.
  • non-blocking Defense of an empirical part
    3rd-4th module
  • non-blocking Exam (pre-defense of the course paper or master thesis)
    4th module
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.06 * Class participation + 0.4 * Defense of the research project design and literature review + 0.12 * Homework assignments + 0.3 * Project presentation + 0.12 * Reviewing presentations of other students
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.024 * Class participation + 0.08 * Defense of an empirical part + 0.32 * Defense of the research project design and literature review + 0.2 * Exam (pre-defense of the course paper or master thesis) + 0.048 * Homework assignments + 0.16 * Interim assessment (2 module) + 0.12 * Project presentation + 0.048 * Reviewing presentations of other students
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bearman, P., & Hedström, P. (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=381029

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Little, T. D. (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Quantitative Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=603942