Brian C. Ventura

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Soc. Sci. 199.1 Course Outline

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on June 10, 2010

University of the Philippines Visayas
Division of Social Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
Social Science 199.1
(Research Methods)

Instructor: Prof. Brian C. Ventura
Term: First Semester AY 2010-11
Class Meeting: MTh 2:30-4:00 Room: CAS R.108
Consultation Hours: MTh 11:00-12:00, 1:00-2:30 ,T F 2:30-5:00 or by appointment
Prerequisite: Senior Standing Section: 3 Credits: 3 Units
E-mail Address:
Office: Division of Social Sciences Faculty Room, Bulwagang Tomas Fonacier

Course Description
Introduction to the various methods of research in social sciences through directed research activities.
The goal of this class is to introduce students to various research methods in the social sciences, particularly in political science, so that by the end of the semester students would be ready to present a research proposal that will be implemented on the second semester. Classroom discussions, activities and assignments are ordered in a way that will expose and teach students to the step-by-step process of preparing a research proposal.
While this is a social science research method course, it is to be noted that the emphasis of the assignments and activities will be in political science. More than just a class in research method, it is also hoped that students will have to reorient themselves with the important questions in the practice and discipline of politics in the Philippines so that they will be motivated to incorporate these issues in choosing the kind of topic that they will undertake in their research project.

Assessment Scheme:

Assessment of students’ performance in this class will be based on the following;

Course Requirements Grade percentage
Class Exercises/Assignments 40%
Research Proposal 50%
In-Class Presentation Research of Proposal 10%
Total grade 100%

On the conduct of the class: Every part of the course outline will start with a lecture to be conducted by the instructor. General references for the lecture are listed at the end of this course outline; however, you may also consult other references.

Class Activities and Assignments: Each class activity and assignment is an important building block that will enable you to prepare your research proposal. It is therefore mandatory that you accomplish all the activities and assignments listed in the topic outline. Non compliance to these requirements will compromise the quality of your research proposal. No make up activity will be provided for missed class activity. If a student missed a certain number of activities and assignments the instructor reserves the right to ask the student to formally drop the course.

Rating Scale and Grading Policy: Those who are unable to submit the requirement/s in due time will have a corresponding grade of “5.0” for that specific component. Those who cannot produce a complete proposal (presentation and written output) will get a grade of INC. Conversion of the percentage grade into the final grade will follow this matrix.

Percentage Final Grade
100% 1.0
95-99% 1.25
90-94% 1.5
85-89% 1.75
80-84% 2.0
75-79% 2.25
70-74% 2.5
65-69% 2.75
60-64% 3.0
55-59% 4.0
54% and below 5.0
The research proposal is due on October 12. Those who submit beyond the deadline will be given an “Incomplete.” There will be individual or pair presentations of the research proposal towards the end of the semester. Visual aids for the presentation are required.

General Class Rules:

Attendance and Tardiness: Students with more than six unexcused absences will be automatically given a grade of five (5) unless he or she has formally dropped the course. It is your responsibility to apply for dropping if you have exceeded the limit of unexcused absences, not an Instructor’s prerogative. Arriving fifteen minutes (15 min.) after the start of the class is considered late. Arriving half an hour after the start of the class is considered absent. Three late marks is equivalent to one absent mark.

Rule for Mobile Phones: Mobile phones should be set in silent mode inside the class. If you need to make an important SMS, MMS conversation, or Phone call, you should excuse yourself from the class and conduct your business outside.

Due dates: Submission schedules for this class should be promptly observed. Late submissions of assigned works are not accepted. It will be helpful if you finish and print assigned papers at least 24 hours before the due. Be alert with any possible changes in schedules so you won’t be confused. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor if you feel uncertain. It is better to be sure than sorry. At the middle of the semester, the instructor will evaluate the compliance of each student as far as submission of assignments and other requirements are concerned. This evaluation will be the basis whether a student can still continue his or her participation in the class.

Class Discussion: Names will be called randomly. Once your name is called you have the right and the duty to contribute. Language is not a barrier for articulating ideas so long as mutual understanding is guaranteed. Being absent on the previous meeting/s means that it is your responsibility to review the discussion on the day/s when you were absent. You are an important participant in learning therefore your contribution in class room learning is highly valued.

Student Responsibility: It is expected that you are reading and understanding the literatures assigned to or pertinent with the topic before coming to class. The role of the instructor is only to facilitate in the birthing process of ideas and to assess students’ performance. Grades are not made but only calculated based on the set of given provided by the students’ performance.

Course Schedule: The discussion will follow the outline. In case of any unforeseeable and unavoidable interruptions a make up class will be scheduled in a mutually convenient and feasible time and place.

Academic Honesty: Plagiarism is a serious academic offense punishable by a grade of 5.0 or expulsion. You are expected to observe proper rules in citing sources and to provide appropriate credits to borrowed ideas. Cheating during examination and quizzes will also be subject to similar rule. You are advised to consult Free and Open Access Software to check your works for plagiarism.

Topic Outline

June Topic/Assignment/Activity

10 and 17

I. Introduction
A. Introduction to Social Science Research.
B. Types of Political Research

Class Exercise 1

Divide a sheet of paper into three columns. In one column write the
subfield of political science and the basic questions and issues it is
addressing. In another column, create an inventory of the titles/key
words of all the term papers you have written corresponding each
subfield. In the last column, list broad topics that interest you. Each work
will be presented briefly in class.

Class Exercise 2
Presentation of the Summary Proposal Assignment

Assignment 1
Submit a three-page proposal summary. This will serve as a guide for how you
can move forward for the whole semester. The proposal is to be composed of
1. A working title 2. Introduction 3. Research question 4. Explanation of
research question 5. Chapter breakdown 6. References

Getting Started

A. The Stages of a research process

B. Formulating a research question

24 and 29

C. Generating the hypothesis.
D. Identifying the variables

Assignment 2 Bring any two journal articles or book chapters on a topic that interests you. From two sample articles/book chapters, what is the research question addressed by each example? What is/are the theory/ies that the articles are invoking? What is the hypothesis? What are the independent and dependent variables?

Class Exercise 3 Individual presentations of the assignment 1; lessons on how to spot research questions and variables

July Topic/Assignment/Activity

1 and 5

III. Choosing a Topic
A. balancing interest and research imperatives

B. what do other authors say about this topic?

C. introducing your topic

Assignment 3 From class exercise 1, build a list of bibliography for the 2 feasible topics you want to do research on, with no fewer that 15 entries (books or journal articles only) for each.

Class Exercises 4 “Unpacking”: What specific problem(s) under each topic interests you? What are your variables? What potential constraints will you encounter if you adapt one of these problems as your research problem? Can this constraints be resolved?

Assignment 4
Write a one-page introduction to your proposed topic.

8 and 12

IV. Formulating the research problem
A. the research problem and its importance to the field and to society
B. limiting the research problem

Assignment 5
Provide a workable research problem from each of the 2 broad topics you’ve chosen. Incorporate a timeframe. Work out at least 2 specific problems under each general problem.

Class exercise 5 Presentation of the research problems formulated; theory from which it is based

15 and 19

V. Review of Related Literature
A. how to identify the related literature
B. where to look
C. what to discuss

Assignment 6

Bring two journal articles or book chapters related to your topic of your choice. Summarize the review of related literature and explain to the class how these articles of book chapters organized the literature review.

Assignment 7 Submit 500-word reviews of 2 “relevant” and 2 “related” literature on your FINAL choice of topic Class

Exercise 6
Presentation of literature views; critique

22, 26 and 29

VI. Conceptual Framework
A. choosing a theory
B. conceptual definitions of variables and other key terms
C. operational definition

Assignment 8
Build a “schematic” diagram of the theory you will be using.

Class Exercise 7

Explaining the “schematic” diagram.
August Topic/Assignment/Activity

2 and 5

Assignment 9:
Submit conceptual definitions for all the terms in your general and specific problems.

Class Exercise 8

Presentation and critiquing.

9 and 12 VII. Selecting the Research Design

A. descriptive or explanatory/causal

16, 19 and 23

B. case study, longitudinal study, comparative study, longitudinal comparative

26 and 30
C. types of data—primary versus secondary

D. where, how and when do you propose to obtain your data

September Topic/Assignment/Activity

2 and 6

Assignment 10
Formulate your research design incorporating information A, B, C and D

Class Exercise 9

Presentation and Critique

9 and 13

VIII. Instrument

A. formulating the interview schedule or survey questionnaire

Assignment 11

Bring at least two questionnaire sample from a study similar or related to
your topic. Examine how these questionnaires were constructed. What can
you learn from it in preparing your own questionnaire?

16 and 20

Assignment 12:
Construct your interview schedule/survey questionnaire/field observation sheet. There will be individual consultations for this assignment.

Class Exercise 10

Survey /field work/data gathering pretest

23 and 27
Consultation and presentation of the final proposal
October Topic/Assignment/Activity

4 and 7

Consultation on and presentation of the final proposal

Due for Final Research Proposal October 12

Reading Materials

Adcock, Robert, and David Collier. “Measurement Validity: a Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research.” American Political Science Review 95, no. 3 (2001): 529-546.

APSA Committee on Publications. “Style Manual for Political Science.” American Political Science Association. August 2006. http://www.apsanet.otg (accessed May 29, 2007).

Burnham, Peter, Karin Gilland Lutz, Wyn Grant, and Zig Layton-Henry. Research Methods in Politics. 2nd. New York, 2008.

Ellis, Lee. Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Madison: Brown & Benchmark, 1994.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003.

Hart, Chris. Doing Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage, 1998.

Klass, Gary. “JPDA: Just Plain Data Analysis.” American Political Science Association Conference on Teaching and Learning in Political Science. Washington D.C.: American Political Science Association , 2006. 1-14.

Krathwohl, David. How to Prepare a Research Proposal. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1988.

Manheim, Jarol B., and Richard C. Rich. Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods in Political Science. New York: Longman, 1986.

Perry, Robert L., and John D. Robertson. Comparative Analysis of Nations: Quantitative approach. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2002.

Pyke, Sandra W., and Neil McK.Agnew. The Science Game: an Introduction to Social Science Research. 5th. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1991.

Shively, W. Phillips. The Craft of Political Research. 5th. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Woolley, John T. “Using Media-Based Data in Studies of Politics.” American Journal of Political Science 44, no. 1 (2000): 156-173.


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