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SOC 315 - Karnehm Willis: Assignment

A guide to choosing a topic for SOC 315.

Information Literacy Competencies

The information competent student:

  1. Determines the nature and extent of the information needed
    using sources that are appropriate to the assignment such as scholarly journals and books.
  2. Finds and uses search tools effectively and efficiently.
  3. Locates and obtains the information.
  4. Critically evaluates the information retrieved before using it
    evaluating for reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and perspective or bias.
  5. Organizes, synthesizes, integrates, and ethically/legally applies the information. 

We will touch on elements of all these competencies in this instruction session. 

SOC 315 Assignment

Research requires an iterative process.  That means that there is a lot of starting, stopping, exploring, failing, and restarting - a lot of "RE-searching."  In this workshop we're going to explore some ways to find research topics that:                    

• Interest you personally, professionally.

• Allow you to add your own unique ideas to the books, articles and other ideas.

• Allow you to learn about systems of human nature and society that you may have experienced but never defined the same way.

To encourage you to SEARCH and RE–SEARCH, complete the assignment below. Use some of the methods we discussed during the library seminar to discover at least one possible topic:  think of issues in your major, find basic info in books & journal articles, use concept mapping, refer to your textbook & class discussion/lecture notes.

You will come up with a topic to research, and generate a set of keywords that will be used for your future research assignments.

Parameters of the Survey Research Project

Your Survey Research Project:

  • Must be doable in a 10-week period
  • Must have access to 40+ subjects who can answer your research questions
  • Must be social science-oriented
  • Must contribute "new knowledge" to field BUT you cannot be the first one to attend to this topic

Good Topics

A good research topic, especially in sociology, is a topic that meets the RIP criteria.  A good topic...

  • is relevant to a current or ongoing social issue - which is a very broad category!
  • captures the interest of the researcher and will help them learn something new.
  • is practical to research using surveys, experiments, interviews, and other social research methods.'

Figuring out a topic that is relevant, interesting, and practical is not always easy.  Fortunately there are a lot of tools to help you along the way.