!   Instructor: Stephen Kulis, Ph.D.       

!   Office: UC 720 (ASU Downtown Campus, University Center)

!   Phone: 602-496-0700        E-Mail:

!   Office Hours:  By appointment

!   Web Page:       (Don’t forget the tilde  ~”)



This 3 credit hour graduate seminar explores the logic of social research and the most common approaches to designing sociological research: quantitative analysis of survey data, experiments, observational studies (quasi-experiments), qualitative research, and secondary data analysis issues. We will examine typical phases, key methodological and statistical decisions, and practical considerations in the development of sociological research.  Students will develop the components of a research design to address a sociological research question, write and critique research proposals, following a National Institutes of Health model.



Students are expected to have training in undergraduate level social science research methods and elementary statistics (including regression analysis), facility in SPSS or ability to learn it on their own.



The course will combine the following elements:

!   Weekly reading assignments, to be completed before each class.

!   Weekly exercises or assignments that guide discussions in class. All students are expected to complete each assignment; designated students will be assigned as Seminar Leaders who will write up their findings in a short paper, and then present them in class and help lead the seminar discussion.

!   Short lectures and demonstrations by the instructor.

!   A mid-semester and final written assignment.

!   Peer review: Written critiques of other students’ proposed research questions, literature reviews, and final proposals.

!   A mock proposal review process where students make oral presentations of their research proposals and serve as panel reviewers.



Texts (required reading in whole or substantial parts):

!   Berg, Bruce L. (2007). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, 6th edition. Allyn & Bacon.

!   Burgois, Philippe. (2003). In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press.

!   Galvan, Jose L. Writing Literature Reviews A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. (2004). Pyrczak. (Any edition will do).

!   Maxim, Paul S. (1999). Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Oxford University Press.

Recommended references:

!   Tabachnick, Barbara, & Linda S. Fidell. (2006). Using Multivariate Statistics, 5th ed. Allyn & Bacon. (Excellent overview of accepted practice in statistical analysis, mainly reflecting common approaches in psychology; any edition will do if you find the chapter corresponding to the one assigned).

!    Becker, Howard S. (1998).Tricks of the trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Advice from a master).


Online readings:   In addition to the texts above, some classes will have assigned readings from journal articles or other sources. Many of the additional readings will be available online to registered students through Blackboard ( at least two weeks prior to a particular class. These include:

! Ragin, Charles C., Joane Nagel, & Patricia White (eds.). (2004). Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research. National Science Foundation (available on class Blackboard site under Course Documents: Resources—Data and Reports). Contributed papers by prominent qualitative sociologists, who are listed as individual reading assignments on the syllabus.


Recommended supplemental readings: For those seeking more in-depth coverage of topics, check the online listing for each class for recommended readings; these supplements are not required reading.


SEMINAR PARTICIPATION.  To conduct the class as a seminar, attendance is required.



Students will be expected to complete a non-graded exercise before most class sessions.  Exercises will be posted through the class MyASU Blackboard system at least one week prior to class.  Student experiences in completing the exercises will be discussed in class.  The exercises vary in format and content, but all are designed to familiarize students with practical as well as substantive issues connected to the main class session topics.  To help ensure that we are informed participants in the seminar, these exercises must be completed by all students before the class session, although the assignments will not be collected or graded. An exception is that, for each seminar discussion exercise, 2-3 members of the class will be designated as Seminar Leaders. Seminar Leaders take on extra responsibilities: they will prepare a written summary (three pages maximum) of their explorations, findings, or questions in response to the exercise and then present their thoughts in class and help lead the seminar discussion of the exercise.  The written summary must be submitted to the instructor via email prior to the start of the class when the exercise is discussed.  The written and oral contributions of the Seminar Leaders will be graded for thoroughness, depth and insight.



Four additional written assignments will be graded. All are connected to the development or critique of a research proposal. In the first assignment, all students will develop a research question and prepare a literature review on a potential topic for their course research proposal (due on October 6th), and then incorporate a revised version of this into the final research proposal (due on December 8th). Written assignments must be in Word format, and be submitted by email to the instructor. All written assignments—Seminar Leader exercises for a particular week of class, research topic/literature review, and final proposal—should use a file name that includes the last three digits of your ASU ID (e.g., Exercise02-321.doc [for class #2], Litrev-321.doc, Proposal-321.doc) but no names. Note: remember to use the last three digits of your ASU ID (yours’ all begin with 120) rather than your “posting” ID.



The remaining two written assignments will be peer reviews of other students’ first written assignments and final research proposals.  Each student will evaluate the work of two or more class members (anonymously) according to structured criteria, and make suggestions for improvement.  Instructions will be given in class for submitting these critiques to the instructor and to the student whose work you review.



Students will make a 10-15 minute Powerpoint presentation in class during one of the mock proposal review sessions, outlining key elements of their proposed research design. Seven days before their oral presentation in class, students will submit a draft of their research proposal by email to the instructor and to designated peer reviewers.



The final research proposal and the class mock review panels will follow guidelines for ‘R03’ ‘small grant’ proposals submitted to the federal National Institutes of Health. The format and requirements will be detailed at length in class and assignments, but R03 background and requirements can be previewed at Certain R03 requirements will be waived (e.g., budget details) or modified (e.g., preliminary studies).  For abstracts and descriptions of successful proposals to NIH (R03, R01, R21, and others) and examples of the appropriate format, language and style, go to  (RePORT) to search by topic areas. RePORT (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools) has many fields for narrowing your search, including a topical Term Search field.  Typing “%R03%” in the Project Number field will select only R03 proposals, but scan for other types of proposals as well, including innovative “R21” and the more standard large grants funded as “R01” applications. RePORT also has links to available publications from these grants in the PubMed system. 



The last class sessions will be structured as a mock proposal review process, similar to panels at NIH that review R03 applications for funding.  At each session, students will either make an oral presentation of their research proposal in Powerpoint or serve on a review panel.  Presenting students will submit a draft of their proposal to the instructor and to peer reviewers before their mock review presentation. Each peer reviewer on the panel will be responsible for preparing a written critique of a particular proposal and for leading the panel discussion of that proposal, information that will be shared with the presenter shortly after the presentation.  All panel reviewers will comment verbally on that day’s presentations, offering suggestions for improvement, assessing their adherence to formal review criteria, and providing a score according to the NIH scoring system.



All graded assignments will be evaluated by letter: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, D, E. The grade of A+ indicates performance at the level expected of top researchers in the field, and is rarely granted.  Other A grades reflect highly accomplished work in need of refinement, revision, or elaboration.  B grades will be assigned for satisfactory graduate level work that requires substantial improvement to meet scholarly expectations in the field.  C indicates worthy efforts but not at the level expected among graduate students in sociology. D will be assigned when work is highly incomplete or not competent, and E will be assigned for required work that is not submitted. The weighting of assignments for final grades will be:


     Assignment                                                                   % of final grade

     Research question and literature review                                 20

     Peer critique of research question and literature review        10

     Seminar leader discussion of designated class exercises       10

     Class presentation of research proposal                                 10

     Peer critiques of research proposals                                       15

     Final R03 format research proposal                                        35

     Total                                                                                         100%


Grading philosophy: The course is designed to help students begin to calibrate their assessments of their own scholarly work and that of others to professional standards by which NIH applications are assessed.  These standards are represented by the following scoring system, from 1 to 9:


Impact Score     Descriptor    Additional Guidance on Strengths/Weaknesses

High    1     Exceptional  Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses

     2     Outstanding  Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses

     3     Excellent             Very strong with only some minor weaknesses

Medium     4     Very Good    Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses

     5     Good             Strong but with at least one moderate weakness

     6     Satisfactory  Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses

Low     7     Fair        Some strengths but with at least one major weakness

     8     Marginal              A few strengths and a few major weaknesses

     9     Poor              Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses


Additional Information for Scoring Guidance

Minor Weakness: An easily addressable weakness that does not substantially lessen impact

Moderate Weakness: A weakness that lessens impact

Major Weakness: A weakness that severely limits impact

[More information on the NIH scoring system is available on the course Blackboard site].



Course materials will be available on-line to enrolled students through the Blackboard system (contact the instructor if you encounter problems with this site).  Online you will find the syllabus, all written assignments, many assigned articles other than from the texts, class exercises, downloadable datasets, and other guides and supplements.  These materials are organized sequentially by class session in Blackboard.  Students will be expected to have checked the Blackboard site for information about reading assignments and exercises prior to each class session. 



Please use only your ASU email account for any communication with the instructor. Because of the university’s spam filters, messages from non-ASU email accounts may not be received. For unexpected class changes or important updates, students will be notified through their ASU email addresses.



If you have a documented disability and need special accommodations or will miss class due to a religious holiday, please notify the instructor before the end of the second week of the semester. 



Cellphones, text messaging, and paging devices may not be used in class and must be turned off to avoid disturbing class sessions.



Students are expected to act in accordance with university policies on plagiarism and related matters at the following link:  For information on ways to avoid plagiarism see this link: .




Class 1: August 25 

Topic: Introduction to social research; Orientation to on-line bibliographic resources; Literature search strategies.

Assigned reading (catch up by the next class):

Maxim text: Chapter 1

Berg text: Chapter 1 (Introduction)

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Becker, H. S. (1998). Tricks. In Tricks of the trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it (pp. 1-9). University of Chicago Press.


Class 2:   September 1

Topic: Crafting research questions & literature review

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Stating a research problem; literature search strategy 

Assigned reading:

Galvan text: scan all chapters, read chapters 3-9 more thoroughly.

Hargens, L. (2000). Using the literature: Reference networks, reference contexts, and the social structure of scholarship. American Sociological Review, 65, 846-865.

Jacobs, J. (2009). Where credit is due: Assessing the visibility of articles published in Gender & Society with Google Scholar. Gender & Society, 23, 817-832.

Wicked Anomie: “The Academic Manuscript” (  (Blog describing the implicit expectations for the structure of scholarly articles.)

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Booth, W.C., Williams, J.M. & Colomb, G. (2008). The Craft of Research. Univ. of Chicago Press.


Class 3:   September 8

Topic: Conceptualization, theory construction, and causation

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Research questions: theoretical propositions & hypotheses; identifying relevant data sources 

Assigned reading:

Maxim text: Chapters 2, 3

Berg text: Chapter 2 (Designing qualitative research)

Becker, H. S. (1998). Concepts. In Tricks of the trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it (Chapter 4). University of Chicago Press.

Link, B., & Phelan, J. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363-385.

Green, S. (2003). "What do you mean 'what's wrong with her?'": Stigma and the lives of families of children with disabilities. Social Science and Medicine, 57, 1361-1374.

Tezcan, M. (2006). What can critical realism offer us as a conceptual tool for our analysis of society?” Concepts and Methods (IPSA section newsletter), 2, 3-6.

Gorski, P.S. (2004). The poverty of deductivism: A constructive realist model of sociological explanation. Sociological Methodology, 34, 1-33.

Fine, G.A. (2004). The why of theory. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 81-82). National Science Foundation.

Snow, D. (2004). Thoughts on alternative pathways to theoretical development: Theory generation, extension and refinement. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 133-136). National Science Foundation.

McLaughlin, E. (1991). Oppositional poverty: the quantitative/qualitative divide and other dichotomies. The Sociological Review, 39, 292-308.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Becker, H.S. (1996). The epistemology of qualitative research. In R. Jessor, A. Colby & R. Schweder (eds.) Ethnography and human development: Context and meaning in social inquiry. University of Chicago Press.

Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Especially Chapter 3 (on “normal science”). See also Chapter 6 (anomalies), and Chapter 11 (the invisibility of scientific revolutions).

Brewer, J., & Hunter, A. (2006). A postscript on postmodernism in Foundations of Multimethod Research (pp. 151-167). Sage.

Abbott, Andrew. (2008). Methods of Discovery. Especially Chapter 2 (Basic debates and methodological practices, pp. 41-79).University of Chicago Press.


Class 4:   September 15

Topic: Measurement, reliability, and validity

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Measurement, data cleaning and scale construction

Assigned reading:

Maxim text: Chapters 9, 10, 11; 12 & 14

Tabachnick & Fidell text: Chapter 4 (“Cleaning up your act”)

Freedman, V.A., Aykan, H., & Kleban, M. (2003). Asking neutral versus leading questions: Implications for functional limitation measurement. Journal of Aging and Health, 15, 661-687.

Schaeffer, N.C., & Presser, S. (2003). The science of asking questions. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 65-88.

Presser, S., Couper, M.P., Lessler, J.T., Martin., E., Martin, E., Rothgeb, J.M., & Singer, E. (2004). Methods for testing and evaluating survey questions. Public Opinion Quarterly, 68, 09-131.

Brush, L. (1990). Violent acts and injurious outcomes in married couples: Methodological issues in the National Study of Families and Households. Gender & Society, 4, 156-167.

Mosher, W.D., Chandra, A., & Jones, J. (2005). Sexual behavior and selected health measures: Men and women 15-44 years of age, United States 2002. CDC-National Center on Health Statistics report, Sept. 15.

Griffin, L., & Bollen, K. (2009). What do these memories do? Civil rights remembrance and racial attitudes. American Sociological Review, 74, 594-614.

Ragin, C. (2000). Fuzzy set social science. Univ. of Chicago Press. Introduction and chapter 1.

Storm, Ingrid. (2009). Halfway to heaven: Four types of fuzzy fidelity in Europe. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48, 702-718.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Sudman, S., & Bradburn, N. (1982). Asking questions: A practical guide to questionnaire design. Josey-Bass.

Judd, C.M., & McClelland, G.H. (1998). Measurement. In D.T. Gilbert, S.T. Fiske, and G. Lindzey (eds.) The Handbook of Social Psychology. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Schultz, K, & Whitney, D. (2005). Measurement theory in action (pp. 69-85, 313-328) (reliability & factor analysis)

Czajka, R., & Blair, J. (1996). Designing surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures. Chapters 1-6. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

Tabachnik & Fidell text: Chapter 13 (If needed, this is a refresher or introduction to factor analysis).


Class 5:   September 22

Topic: Sampling Issues

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Critique of sampling vignettes

Assigned reading:

Maxim text: Chapters 5, 6, 7

Becker, H.S. (1998). Sampling. In Tricks of the trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it (pp. 67-108). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Marker, D. (2008). Methodological review of “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: A cross-sectional cluster sample survey” Public Opinion Quarterly 72, 345-363. (Reviews principles of representativeness in a sample survey through a critique of Burnham, G., Lafta, R., Doocy, S., & Roberts, L. (2006). Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: A cross-sectional cluster sample survey. Lancet, 368, 1421–1428.

Salganik, M.J., & Heckathorn, D.D. (2004). Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling. Sociological Methodology, 34, 193-239.

Parrado, E.A., McQuiston, C., & Flippen, C.A. (2005). Participatory survey research: Integrating community collaboration and quantitative methods for the study of gender and HIV risks among Hispanic migrants. Sociological Methods and Research, 34, 204-239.

Abraham, K.G., Helm, S., & Presser, S. (2009). How social processes distort measurement: The impact of survey nonresponse on estimates of volunteer work in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 114, 1129-1165

Burton, L. (2004). Welfare, children, and families: A three city study. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 59-70). National Science Foundation.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Stuart, A. (1984). The ideas of sampling. New York: Macmillan. (Comprehensive but technical review).

Miles, M.B., & Huberman, A.M. (1994). Sampling: Bounding the collection of data. In Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.) (pp. 27-34). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Czajka, R., & Blair, J. (1996). Designing surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures. (Chapter 17 to end). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.


Class 6:   September 29

Topic: Experimental methods

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Critique of and alternatives to experimental designs

Assigned reading:

Maxim text: Chapter 8;

Hecht, M.L., Marsiglia, F.F., Elek, E., Wagstaff, D.A., Kulis, S., Dustman, P.A., & Miller-Day, M. (2003). Culturally grounded substance use prevention: An evaluation of the keepin' it REAL curriculum. Prevention Science, 4, 233-248. (Example of an RCT).

West, S.G., Duan, N., Pequegnat, W., Gaist, P., Des Jarlais, D.C., Holtgrave, D., Szapocnik, J., Fishbein, M., Rapkin, B., Clatts, M., & Mullen, P.D. (2008). Alternatives to the randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 1359-1366.

Brown, C.H., Wang, W., Kellam, S.G., Muthen, B.O., Petras, H., Toyinbo, P., Poduska, J., Ialongo, N., Wyman, P.A., Chamberlain, P., Sloboda, Z., MacKinnon, D.P., & Windham, A. (2008). Methods for testing theory and evaluating impact in randomized field trials: Intent-to-treat analyses for integrating the perspectives of person, place, and time. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 95S S74–S104. (Discusses randomized field trials and how they differ from controlled experiments).

Sniderman, P.M., & Grob, D.B. (1996). Innovations in experimental design in attitude surveys. Annual Review of Sociology, 22, 377-399. (Use of experimental methods in surveys about social attitudes.)

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2006). Multiple segment factorial vignette designs. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 68, 455-468. (Survey, experimental and qualitative approaches used in combination)

Schram, S.S. Soss, J., Fording, R., & Houser, L. (2009). Deciding to discipline: Race, choice, and punishment at the frontlines of welfare reform. American Sociological Review, 74, 398–422. (Experimental methods using vignettes, triangulated with observational data).

Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155-159. (Basics of power analysis).

LeCroy, C.W., & Krysik, J. (2007) Understanding and interpreting effect size measures. Social Work Research, 31, 243-248.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., & Brewer, M.B. (1998). Experimentation in social psychology. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, and G. Lindzey (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. (Good review of key issues in experimental methods in the social sciences).

Campbell, D.T., & Stanley, J.C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Classic reference on experimental and quasi-experimental designs).


Class 7:   October 6

First written assignment due before start of class: Research question and literature review

Topic: Quasi-experimental designs and observational studies

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Applications of Propensity Score Matching.

No Seminar Discussion leaders will be assigned for this class.

Assigned reading:

Smith, H.L. (1997). Matching with multiple controls to estimate treatment effects in observational studies. Sociological Methodology, 27, 325-353. (Introduction to propensity-score matching in sociology).

Hennigan, K.M., del Rosario, M.L., Heath, L., Cook, T.D., Wharton, J.D., & Calder, B.J. (1982). Impact of the introduction of television on crime. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 461-477. (A regression discontinuity design).

Kirk, D. (2009). A Natural experiment on residential change and recidivism: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. American Sociological Review 74, 484-505.

Applications of propensity score matching [PSM]: Pick one of the following to read intensively, browse the description of PSM and results in the others:

Brand, J.E., & Xie, Y. (2010). Who benefits most from college? Evidence for negative selection in heterogeneous economic returns to higher education. American Sociological Review, 75, 273–302

Harding, D.J. (2003). Counterfactual models of neighborhood effects: The effect of neighborhood poverty on dropping out and teenage pregnancy. American Journal of Sociology 109, 676-719.

Morgan, S.L. (2001). Counterfactuals, causal effect heterogeneity, and the Catholic school effect on learning. Sociology of Education, 74, 341-374.

Frisco, M.L., Muller, C., & Frank, K. (2007). Parents’ union dissolution and adolescents’ school performance: Comparing methodological approaches. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 721–741.

Crosnoe, R. (2009). Low-income students and the socioeconomic composition of public high schools. American Sociological Review, 74, 709-730.

Gangl, M. (2006). Scar effects of unemployment: An assessment of institutional complementarities. American Sociological Review, 71, 986–1013.

Frank, R., Redstone, I, & Lu, B. (2010). Latino immigrants and the US racial order: How and where do they fit in? American Sociological Review, 75, 378- 401 (A specialized application of PSM: ordinal dose groups)


Class 8:   October 13

Topic: Selected topics in advanced estimation: mediation, moderation, missingness

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Elaboration (crosstab) and mediation test exercise

Assigned reading:

Maxim text: Chapters 13 & 15;

Wu, A.D., Zumbo, B.D. (2008). Understanding and using mediators and moderators. Social Indicators Research, 87, 367-392.

Kraemer, H.C., Stice, E., Kazdin, A., Offord, D., & Kupfer, D. (2001). How do risk factors work together? Mediators, moderators, and independent, overlapping, and proxy risk factors. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 848-856.

Preacher, K.J., & Hayes, A.F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 717-731. (Describes software modules for download, available via, for estimating indirect effects).

MacKinnon, D.P., Lockwood, C.M., Hoffman, J.M., West, S.G., and Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7, 83-104.

Thrane, C. (2006). Explaining educational-related inequalities in health: Mediation and moderator models. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 467-478.

Pilgrim, C.C, Schulenberg, J.E., O’Malley, P.M., Bachman, J.G., & Johnston, L.D. (2006). Mediators and moderators of parental involvement on substance use: A national study of adolescents. Prevention Science, 7, 75-89.

Cohen, J. (1994). The earth is round (p < .05). American Psychologist, 49, 997-1003.

Leahey, E. (2005). Alphas and asterisks: the development of statistical testing standards in sociology. Social Forces, 84, 1-24.

Gerber, A., & Malhotra, N. (2008). Publication bias in empirical sociological research -Do arbitrary significance levels distort published results? Sociological Methods and Research, 37, 3-30.

Wagstaff, D.A., Elek, E., Kulis, S.S, & Marsiglia, F.F. (2009). Using a nonparametric bootstrap to obtain a confidence interval for Pearson's r with cluster randomized data: A case study. Journal of Primary Prevention, 30, 497-512. (Example of application of bootstrap techniques).

Recommended review of statistical techniques:

Tabachnik & Fidell text: Chapters 5, 12 (If needed, use these as refreshers or introductions to ordinary least squares regression and logistic regression).


Class 9:   October 20

Topic: Introduction to qualitative research; Interviewing & focus groups

Discussion exercise due at start of class: To be announced

Assigned reading:

Berg text: Chapters 4 (Dramaturgical look at interviewing) & 5 (Focus group interviewing)

Matthews, S. (2005). Crafting qualitative research articles. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 799-808.

Lee, R. (2004). Recording technologies and the interview in sociology, 1920–2000. Sociology, 38, 869-889.

Ragin, C., Nagel, J. & White, P. (2004). General guidance for developing qualitative research projects, and recommendations for designing, evaluating, and strengthening qualitative research in the social sciences. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 9-20). National Science Foundation.


Class 10: October 27

Topic: Content & case analysis

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Unobtrusive observation project

Assigned reading:

Berg text: Chapters 8 (Unobtrusive measures), 9 (Historiography and oral traditions), 10 (Case studies), & 11 (Content analysis)

Krippendorff, K. (2004). Reliability in content analysis. Human Communication Research, 30, 411-433.

Tsutsui, K. (2009). The trajectory of perpetrators' trauma: Mnemonic politics around the Asia-Pacific War in Japan. Social Forces, 87, 1389-1422.

Prior, L. (2004). Following in Foucault’s footsteps: Text and context in qualitative research. In Hesse-Biber, S., & Leavy, P. (eds.), Approaches to Qualitative Research (pp. 317-333).

Maynard, D.W. (2003). Conversation analysis: What is the context of an utterance? In Bad news, good news: Conversational order in everyday talk and clinical settings (pp. 64-87).University of Chicago Press.

Four approaches to case method analysis:

Burawoy, M. (2009). The extended case method. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Prologue and Introduction.

Becker, H. S. (1998). Concepts. In Tricks of the trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it (pp. 109-145). University of Chicago Press.

Campbell, M.L, & Gregor, F.M. (2004). Finding a place to begin; and Theory in everyday life. In Mapping social relations: A primer in doing institutional ethnography (pp. 11-44). (Application of Dorothy Smith’s approach)

Thatcher, D. (2006). The normative case study. American Journal of Sociology. 111, 1631-76.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Johnstone, B (2008). Discourse analysis (2nd ed.). Blackwell. (Especially chapter 1; good examples follow).

Neuendorf, K.A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (Especially chapters 3, 4, & 7)

Marrow, H. (2009). Immigrant bureaucratic incorporation: The dual roles of professional missions and government policies. American Sociological Review, 74, 756-776.


Class 11: November 3

Topic: Ethnography

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Critique of Burgois

Assigned reading:

Berg text: Chapter 6 (Ethnographic field strategies);

Burgois text: All. 

Maxwell, J.A. (1996). Validity: How might you be wrong? in Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (pp. 86-98). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Anderson, E. (2004). Urban ethnography. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 33-38). National Science Foundation.

Katz, J. (2004). Commonsense criteria. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 83-90). National Science Foundation.

Supplemental reading (Optional. Other ethnographies notable for their methods or analysis):

Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (2001). Doméstica Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

Hochschild, A. (2003).The managed heart, 20th anniversary ed. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

McLeod, J. (2008). Ain't No Makin' It, 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. (Use the most updated edition which revisits the research subjects).

Menjivar, C. (2000). Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

How to do it: Background reading (optional):

Emerson, R.M. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. University of Chicago Press.

Charmaz, K. (2008). Constructing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lofland, J., & Lofland, L. (2005). Analyzing social settings, 4rd ed. Wadsworth.


Class 12: November 10    

Topic: Research ethics; participatory action research

Discussion exercise due at start of class: Complete the online NIH human subjects training

Assigned reading:

Berg text: Chapters 3 (Ethical issues), 7 (Action research);

ASA Code of Ethics (on line at

Kleinig, J. (2004). Ethical issues in substance use interventions. Substance Use and Misuse, 39, 369-398.

Hoeyer, K., Dahlager, L., & Lynöe, N. (2005). Conflicting notions of research ethics: The mutually challenging traditions of social scientists and medical researchers, Social Science & Medicine, 61, 1741-1749.

Riach, K. (2009). Exploring participant-centered reflexivity in the research interview. Sociology 43, 356–370

Shea, C. (2000). Don't talk to the humans: The crackdown on social science research Lingua Franca 10(6), 26-34..

Monaghan, P. (1999). Can scholars protect confidential sources? Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7.

Cohen, P. (2007). IRBs extend reach. New York Times, Feb 28.

Irvine, J. (2006). Sex, lies and research. Mobilization, 11, 491-494

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Halse, C., & Honey, A. (2005). Unraveling ethics: Illuminating the moral dilemmas of research ethics. Signs 30(4): 2141-2162.

Elliott, C. (2008). Guinea-pigging: Healthy human subjects for drug-safety trials are in demand. But is it a living? The New Yorker, January 7, 83(42): 36ff. (some insights into what is and isn’t an ethical concern)

Kirsch, G. (2005). Friendship, friendliness and feminist fieldwork. Signs, 30, 2163-2172.


Class 13: November 17

Topic: The art of combination: Meta-analysis and mixed methods

Discussion exercise due at start of class:

Assigned reading:

Schultz, K, & Whitney, D. (2005). Measurement theory in action (pp 135-151). (On meta-analysis)

Proulx, C.M., Helms, H., & Buehler, C. (2007). Marital quality and personal well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family 69, 576-593.:

Axinn, W., & Pearce, L. (2006). Mixed method data collection strategies (pp. 183-197) Chapter 8.

Castro, F. G., Kellison, J. G., Boyd, S., J., & Kopak, A. (2010). A methodology for conducting integrative mixed methods research and data analyses. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 4, 342-360.

Nee, V. (2004). A place for hybrid methodologies. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp.101-104). National Science Foundation.

Ragin, C. (2004). Combining qualitative and quantitative research. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 109-116). National Science Foundation.

Satterfield, T. (2004). A few thoughts on combining qualitative and quantitative methods. In Ragin, C., Nagel, J., & White, P. (eds.) Workshop on Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (pp. 117-120). National Science Foundation.

Talaska, C., Fiske, S., & Chaiken, S. (2008). Legitimating racial discrimination: Emotions, not beliefs, best predict discrimination in a meta-analysis. Social Justice Research, 21, 263-296.

Background supplementary reading (optional):

Castro, F.G., & Coe, K. (2007). Traditions and alcohol use: A mixed-methods analysis. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13, 269-284.

Martin, J. (1982). A garbage can model of the research process. In. McGrath, J., Martin, J., & Kulka, R.A. (eds.). Judgment calls in research (pp. 17-39, Chapter 1). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. (Especially Chapters 1 & 3).

McGrath, J.E. (1982). Dilemmatics. In. McGrath, J., Martin, J., & Kulka, R.A. (eds.). Judgment calls in research (pp. 69-102, Chapter 3). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. (Especially Chapters 1 & 3).

Lieberson, S. (1985). Making it count: The improvement of social research and theory. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Especially Chapters 2 (Selectivity) & 3 (Comparisons...)


Class 14: November 24    

Topic: Mock proposal reviews


Class 15: December 1

Topic: Mock proposal reviews


The final written assignment, submission of R03 format research proposals,

is due by 7:30 PM December 8, 2010.